In the world of freelancers, side-gig gurus, and girl bosses who set their own hours, business attire is definitely not the norm. And even if you work in a buttoned-up office environment, chances are you trade your pumps for a cool pair of kicks the minute you punch the clock.
Call it the sport-meets-style revolution, with a whole legion of followers choosing the comfort and functionality of dialed-up activewear over traditional attire–and tackling ambitious goals.
Take Victoria Adrian, AKA Old English Rose, as proof. She single-handedly took an antique cross-stitching machine and built an embroidery empire, with women lining up everywhere to get her custom script on their threads. And she’s done it all while wearing feels-just-right denim and a pair of sneakers.
“Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to find your dream job, because mine just kind of crept up on me.”
“I don’t ever want to feel restricted or that I can’t do something in an outfit,” Adrian explains. “I want to do able to do whatever I want.”
That kind of attitude is what led her to find her calling almost by accident. “It wasn’t really until I was in New York City and I started working at a denim store, where we specialized in custom jeans, repairs, and alterations,” she says. “That’s really where I started to learn everything. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to find your dream job, because mine just kind of crept up on me.”
If you want to land one of Adrian’s pieces yourself, you’re in luck. On May 13, 20, and 27, head to Nike Soho to customize your purchase with some signature Old English Rose script.
Scroll down for more strategies to let your personality shine, plus shop the pieces you need to recreate Adrian’s look.
1. Wear what feels (and looks) good
“I never thought that I was good at this,” she says. “But then I started spending eight hours a day on a sewing machine, and then it turned into seven years later and I’m working on a sewing machine every day.”
On top of leaning over a sewing table, a typical workday for Adrian includes lugging heavy equipment all around the city. Needless to say, comfy footwear and a closet full of layering pieces are paramount.
“I have a million jackets,” says Adrian. “I want to be comfortable all the time. I love having a jacket so I [have the option to] take it off.”
2. Let accessories do the talking
“I think my accessories are my number one thing,” says Adrian, who tends to rock gorgeously manicured nails and chunky rings daily.
The chain-stitch embroidery artist tends to punch up outfits with statement shoes, too. “A pair of sneakers can really create the outfit,” Adrian says of her Nike Air Force Ones. “It’s one of those things that goes with everything and you can tailor your style.”
3. Embrace the ebb and flow of your personal style
At the end of the day, style is fluid—and Adrian recommends to embrace the evolution. “I’m more sporty than I have ever been in my entire life,” she says. “I definitely feel more confident in this.” And sometimes, a bit of extra confidence is just what you need to manifest your dream gig.
Score Victoria’s custom embroidery work at Nike Soho on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on May 13, May 20, and May 27.
Photos: Tim Gibson for Well+Good
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