Architect Yen Ha lives in Manhattan with her husband and two kids. “When I first started my career, I’d wear serious black clothes,” she says. “Now, maybe because I’ve been practicing for 18 years, I don’t have the energy to waste thinking about what someone might perceive based on how I dress. I just wear what I want.” Here, the wonderful Yen shares her five go-to outfits…
Jacket: Uniqlo. Sweater: Steven Alan, similar. Pants: Apiece Apart. Scarf: Block Shop. Lipstick: MAC Polished Up.
“I wear this jacket constantly. Uniqlo makes great puffers every year, and I was happy to find this one. There was a New York Times article, where I talked about what it feels to be a woman in a male-dominated industry. I walk into job meetings, and no one takes me seriously. Or if I’m with a man, they’ll talk only to him. It’s very hard for women to confront that all the time. But I believe that if you know what you’re doing, that will prevail. You just keep going. The good thing is, there has been a lot of attention on women’s issues this year.”
Dress: Dôen. Shirt: vintage Vain and Vapid, similar. Sneakers: Nike Cortez. Lipstick: MAC Dark Side.
“When I show up, my friends often laugh and say, wow, only you would put that together! I like to wear stripes and checks; or I’ll pair argyle socks with a floral dress. You want to find the right balance — the prints should be in the same family, like cousins.”
Shirt: COS, similar. Sweater: similar. Skirt: Muji. Shoes: No. 6. Lipstick: Mac Dark Side.
“I’ve been teaching in Missouri this semester. I’m on a plane twice a week, so I want to be comfy, but I also have to look like a professor! I love this Muji skirt. I actually didn’t know it had a bell shape until I got home. Then I was like, surprise, it’s a cloud! Half of my college class is female students, and they killed it this semester. I encourage them to state their ideas with authority. I didn’t have many role models growing up — there weren’t a lot of female Asian architects, so I think the more visible I am, the better.”
Star earrings: Jennifer Meyer.
“One afternoon, I went into Sephora and said, ‘I need a dark lipstick for evening, a daytime color that looks like my lips, and something in between.’ Now I use those three lipsticks on rotation and really love them. It makes things easy.”
Shirt: COS, similar. Pants: Theory, similar. Purse: Baggu. Shoes: Swedish Hasbeens. Socks: Uniqlo. Scarf: Helen Dealtry.
“I belong to a Facebook group of women nearing 50. We talk about menopause a lot, and they’re all like No. More. Thong. Underwear. I’ve been wearing Gap hipster briefs for 20 years. They’re cotton and don’t ride up. I’m also using my daughter’s necklace as a bracelet. My son doesn’t care about clothes, but my nine-year-old daughter loves wearing suits when friends come for dinner. She borrows her brothers’ old ones, and she asks me to buy her ties. She’s way cooler than I’ll ever be.”
“This Baggu bag doesn’t have a zipper, so I can cram it with stuff, including my iPad and planner.”
Shirt: COS, similar. Dress: handmade by Yen. Bag: Ceri Hoover, similar. Lipstick: MAC Polished Up.
“I love pairing socks with clogs! I started a couple years ago on those days that were too cold for sandals. The socks add a little personality — it reminds me of Japanese girls who wear socks. My clogs are so comfortable; I can walk for miles. It took a month to get used to walking on a block of wood, but when you do, it’s really fun. I have flat feet, and these don’t hurt my arches. Overall in life, I just want to be comfortable.”
Thank you so much, Yen! Here’s her home tour, too, if you’d like to see.
P.S. More women share their weeks of outfits, including workwear ideas and tips for finding great plus-size pieces.
(Photos by Christine Han for Cup of Jo.)