Mera Debenham has been bartending in Durango for the past 10 years, and a mom for less than a year. She embraces her work life as “me time,” and uses it as the chance to express herself through her clothes, since she dresses more casually at home. Working at the speakeasy-style bar The Bookcase & Barber allows Debenham to dress in era-themed costumes, something she said she likes to do simply because it’s fun. Her look shows that sometimes dressing up for work isn’t so bad.
“I like to wear a bowtie, sometimes suspenders, and a nice shirt to give my [outfit] an old-fashioned feel [at work]. Although sometimes I do like to dress up 1920s-style and wear a flapper outfit to add some flair.
[Dressing up] isn’t required, but everyone who works there has that passion, and we like to look the part. There is a dress code, but it’s our choice to flair it up.
I’m outgoing and I like to present myself in a professional way, but also an approachable, unique way. I enjoy dressing up. I like to say costumes are my real clothes. I love dressing to an era.
I love putting flowers in my hair. It’s my trademark. Most people, when asking for me they say, ‘Oh Mera? Was she wearing a flower in her hair? In the summertime, I’ll wear a real one. I started wearing flowers when I was in Costa Rica and Panama. It made me feel really islandy, but also close to nature. I think flowers are a sign of happiness. [I’ve been] wearing them for 8 or 9 years.
[My favorite flower] is this small, little white one. I don’t know what kind it is. It fits with a lot of things. I like to wear a sparkly headband that is flapper era for work. The white one blends in perfectly. It’s one I feel like I can wear with a lot of different things, and accessorize with a lot of different accessories.
I always have some sort of sparkle on my face or in my hair because I was born to sparkle.
Dressing up for work is always fun… It creates that environment and the ambiance. I think guests enjoy that.”
Interview edited and condensed for clarity.