Feel free to ask anyone, who has even casually known me, from when I was a toddler all the way up through my college years. They’ll confirm: I hate uniforms.

To be more specific: I can’t stand being told what to wear. Ever.pink_puck_fash

When I got my very first job working at a gym, where I was required to wear the company polo and a pair of yoga/track/workout-able pants, I yearned to wear a pencil skirt and heels.

When I got my first desk job, where I was relegated to dress pants and was forbidden to sport any kind of a sleeveless top, I dreamed of days my boss was away so I could rock a billow-y blouse and leggings.

This contrary attitude definitely has roots in my tween years, when I learned that the dance studio I grew up at required me to take at least one ballet class a week in order to be on the jazz competition team.

The thought made me cringe. Not just because I was a hip-hopper with terrible turnout. But because I had to suit up in one of the most recognizable uniforms in the history of mankind: a black leotard and pink tights, with my hair pulled tightly into a bun. An ensemble that all five-feet-four-inches of me could not pull off if I tried.

So when I finally made it to the sports-writing promise land in my mid-twenties, I was delighted to find that—unlike some professional sports’ leagues where reporters in denim cut-offs seems to be a problem—the NHL didn’t have a rigorous dress code that I had to follow.

In my mind I was doing cartwheels. I can literally wear whatever I want! As long as I don’t look like a hot mess, I can dress however my little heart desires!

… And what did I do with that newfound fashion freedom?

I created my own work uniform.

That’s right. This newly-credentialed sports’ geek found a way to implement a few style musts that I now use as a go-to guide for dressing to cover the San Jose Sharks home games.

And—as if all those times at the ballet barre had never existed—my biggest work wardrobe staple became: a chic and affordable pair of tights.

Picking out my girly outfits the night before a game is as much a part of my routine as discussing the forecheck over coffee between first and second period. I feel better equipped to critique the contest on the rink far below the press box when sporting a smokey eye inspired by the print on my mod sweater dress. A pair of over-the-knee boots paired with my polka dot stockings almost guarantees that I’m rocking thick-knit legwarmers underneath, so I can keep warm no matter how icy it gets sitting behind my laptop at the Tank.

The cuter I feel in my workday duds, the more confident I am walking into that smelly dressing room post-game to shove my recorder in tired, sweaty, toothless hockey players’ faces.

And, although a colossal part of my career includes “playing with the boys,” there’s nothing that will make me blush and curtsey quicker than someone telling me that I “look great” at work.

So I invite all of you out there in Pink Puck Land to join me as I paperdoll myself through the rest of this hockey campaign and beyond. If you have outfit questions, or ensemble ideas that I haven’t thought of, then by all means send them my way. We can bond over a killer ballet flat as much as we can over a great backhanded shot or a game-changing save between the pipes, right?

Just, please, don’t suggest that I pull out an old ballet leotard. Certain things should just stay far away from press level fashion.

Chelena Goldman grew up in a sports-obsessed family on a street where the boys played street hockey, so the life of a sportswriter is nothing but the perfect fit. The Bay Area native and fashion nut got her start covering the San Francisco Bulls of the ECHL, and has just entered her third season of covering the San Jose Sharks--newly for Bay Area sports hub BayAreaSportsGuy.com She believes in dominance on the blue line, good red wine, and the theory that you can never be too overdressed for any occasion.

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