Overalls: Not the Uniform Anymore

Casey of Dressed to Code pairs light denim overalls with black and silver accessories: a wool hat, statement silver disc earrings, and a black and silver Apple watch.
Amp up a casual outfit with three accessories.

Getting Dressed

When was the last time you got dressed without taking someone else into account? If you’re anything like me, you think about the weather, what’s clean, the occasion, and… societal expectations. I’d like to say that I dress for myself and only myself, but that’s just not true. In a visual world, we use our clothing and style choices to convey who not only who we are but who we want to be.

Fitting In

In case you’re new to Dressed to Code, I’m a software developer. As such, I work at a technology company with other people who also code for a living (Shocking stuff, right?). However, you’re probably already aware that women are significantly underrepresented in STEM fields, and that the tech industry has a reputation for hoodies, jeans, and sneakers.

Long story short, I’ve been wearing the uniform: jeans every day and sneakers many days. My Madewell Whisper Cotton Tees and Patagonia Better Sweater make frequent appearances. Is it physically comfortable? Absolutely. Is it emotionally comfortable? Here’s the reflective part of this post: I’m wearing these things to blend in. I’m wearing these items because it’s easier to go along with the unofficial uniform. It feels safer to mimic what other are wearing. It has also been raining almost nonstop for the last month.

Pair a classic pair of overalls with black accessories to keep things from straying too far into your childhood.
Seattle has been extra gloomy this year, so even a brief moment of sunshine is worth smiling about.

Standing Out

After hours, I spend plenty of time scrolling Instagram and scrolling the new arrivals at Madewell. Enter these overalls. Blogger Natalie Borton styled them six chic ways. Julia Engel of Gal Meets Glam praised them as “Finally… overalls that I don’t hate.” I saw them in store and figured I try them on, get them out of my head, and never think of them again. It didn’t help. Surprisingly, I actually liked them on. They were comfortable but cute. Somehow, these overalls fell outside my norm but right into my wheelhouse.

I’ve bought pieces for special occasions or circumstances before, but I’m pretty sure this pair of overalls is the first article of clothing I’ve bought “for the weekend.” (Maybe that’s another step on the path to adulthood.)

I might be wearing the tech uniform to fit in, but I bought these overalls for me, as a little act of rebellion against the uniform. I styled them with the hat that always makes me feel more put together, and fun earrings that would be minimalist statement earrings if such a thing existed. Oh, and sneakers.

This overall, t-shirt, and sneakers combination is perfect for running errands or to brunch.
This overall, t-shirt, and sneakers combination is perfect for running errands or to brunch.
Whether you're cleaning the house or just dancing around it, these overalls feature pockets and buttery soft denim.
Whether you’re cleaning the house or just dancing around it, these overalls feature pockets and buttery soft denim.


Overalls – Madewell Skinny Overalls: Dropped Hem Edition (S)

Tee – Madewell Radio Tee (XS)

Sneakers – Nike Free Rn (7)

Hat – Morley Hat from Moorea Seal (Adjustable)

Earrings – Old, from Target

Watch – Apple Watch, 32 mm with Black Classic Buckle Leather Band


1. I wear a size 26 in Madewell denim, and I sized up to a small for a more comfortable fit in the overalls. 2. I had them hemmed with a traditional denim hem (for free as a Madewell insider) because I wasn’t a fan of that particular dropped hem. 3. It’s been cool and rainy here in Seattle, so I swapped the hat for a black scarf and threw on my North Face Thermoball to run errands.


Be conscious of not only who you are but who you are becoming.


The Anyone, Anytime Gift Guide: Part II

The Anyone, Anytime Gift Guide from dressedtocode.com

Welcome to Part II of the Anyone, Anytime Gift Guide. If you missed Part I, gifts for people you barely know, you can find it here. Moving on, Part II is a gift guide for people you know reasonably well. As in the first part, this gift guide is less about specific products and more about how to brainstorm better presents for the people on your list.

Watch and listen.

Yes, that really is the best advice I can give. Pay attention to your intended gift recipient, and they may very well show or tell you exactly what would make them happy.

Of course, keep in mind our society’s penchant for hyperbole in distinguishing whether they only “LOVE!!” it in the abstract or would actually love it in their living room. For example, there are plenty of items for which I have expressed enthusiasm but have no use or storage space. (A mixer is not one of those items. I would really appreciate a mixer, especially in matte black. Hint, hint.)

Consider how they spend their time.

For example, if they’re always watching their grandchildren, a beautiful book is always a great gift. Books also fall into the semi-consumable category, loved forever or donated to the local library and appreciated by countless others. If you are giving a “child’s” book to a grown adult, be sure to include a note explaining that you thought they could enjoy the book together.

As picture books for young children go, I loved some of the following books as a kid:

Overcoming Fear, Grandmother/Granddaughter: Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco

Cover of Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco
In Thunder Cake, a grandmother’s wisdom and secret recipe help a young girl overcome her fear.

Halloween: Rattlebone Rock by Sylvia Andrews

Hanukkah: Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric A. Kimmel

Hanukkah and Christmas: Christmas Tapestry by Patricia Polacco

I’ve also heard amazing things about Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty, excellent for inspiring young girls.

I tend to prefer hardcover picture books, as they are often easier to hold up to show off the pictures.

Consider which everyday items facilitate the activities they enjoy.

For the active people in your life, there may be gear specifically suited to their sport or activity which can really add up. This is one of those ideas best coordinated with a parent or other highly-informed person, but can be an excellent choice for those with nothing down on their wishlist. (Similarly, if you’re a financially stable adult expected to give presents to nieces and nephews you last saw on their birthday a year ago, focusing on what you know can help you start a conversation with someone who can give you more specific ideas.)

Runners often need to replace shoes every few hundred miles, which could be every few months for a high-mileage runner. Frequently, someone who has found the proper shoe for their body (pronation, supination, and cushion are all key factors) will go back to the same shoe in the same size time and time again, which makes it an easier purchase than most sized items.

Black and white Nike Free RN (run) shoe, available at Nordstrom.
These Nike Free RN kicks are my current running and workout shoe, but also look sleek and neutral for a casual outfit or travelling. My pair in the closet are a size 7, so keep in mind that the sizing runs small.

Similarly, think about extra-cushioned yoga mats, brilliantly reflective vests and jackets for running and cycling, or a Discover Pass or Parks Pass to get outside.

Consider what they use.

This is similar to the previous bit of advice but includes they mundane things we use every day and often take for granted. Is there some small token which would would improve their everyday experience in some small way? Maybe it’s a travel coffee mug that actually keeps their coffee hot, a fuzzy blanket to keep them warm watching Netflix, or a stapler that actually staples their papers.

Consider what you use and enjoy.

Chances are, if this is someone you like enough to give them a gift, you have something in common. Therefore, consider giving them something you yourself use and enjoy. I’d happily give everyone on my list a Hydroflask water bottle because I use and love mine so much. Seriously, when the reviews say that you can leave it in a baking car all day and still come back to ice in your water bottle, believe them. I’ve done it.

Hydro Flask Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle, Wide Mouth w/Flex Cap
These fantastically-insulated bottles come in a variety of colors and styles.

Most importantly, remember that at the end of the day, it really is the thought that counts. A gift is simply a gesture that you care about someone and want to present them with a token of that affection.

What’s an example of something you love so much you’d give it to everyone on your list? Tell me in the comments! Also, stay tuned for the third and final installment of the gift guide.

“Worry less about the things and more about the people.”