Working Wardrobes: Are You Wearing That?
By Martha McCarty on September 03, 2013
What to ditch, what to try and what to buy this season.
While walking past clothing stores with a group of friends, we saw something startling in a shop window. We stopped and stared and it was not a pretty picture. We saw our own reflections.
We looked so somber, all dressed in black and gray.
We ooohed and aaaahed over skirts and shirts and pants and jackets the mannequins displayed in lush colors. Fuchsia. Teal blue. Canary yellow. Orange and violet. Matched up and toned down with tops and camisoles in romantic-looking lace. But there we were--working women dressed in ashen shades of black and gray. We looked like a group of mourners or at the least, we looked industrial. Utilitarian. Functional. Dull.
In giant letters, a banner printed on the window said: Brighter Days Ahead! Well, we hope so.
Here are thoughts about What to Ditch, What To Try and What To Buy:
What To Ditch: Outdated Attitudes
Co-worker Nancy said we can mention her in this post, if we don’t tell where she works or who she is. You may recognize yourself in her description: She’s smart, reliable and efficient. And nearly everyday for 52 weeks a year, she comes up with something to wear to work. What a chore!
“I just put on pants and a sweater and go,” she said. Wear a dress, we said. No, she said.
She didn’t want her legs to be bare and she didn’t think she could find a flattering dress in her size. But she shopped around and finally said, “Yes” to a dress. She bought two dresses--an all-over floral and a sassy wrap.
It’s as if there is a New Nancy. It started with a new attitude. So skip the usual excuses: I’m too old ... I’m too heavy ... I work behind a desk and nobody sees me. The job market is highly competitive, and so is the retail market. Designers and department stores cater to all ages and shapes, including plus sizes.
Keep your dark basics (black and gray) within easy reach. But give them a rest. Clock in this season wearing stripes, floral prints, splashes of color. And a new attitude.
What To Try: Another Era
Check out the looks in movies and TV, as in the remake of the 1920s Great Gatsby and the 1960s Mad Men on AMC. And the “emancipated woman” image of screen star Katharine Hepburn’s wide-legged, man-style pants from the 1940s. Many of us remember back to the 1980s when, if women wore pants in the workplace, It would have violated standard dress codes.
Today, pants in the office are prevalent. Skinny-legged styles still have a lot of life left this season, and wide-legs with high waistbands or palazzo pants are hot, hot, hot.
What To Buy: Eye-Popping Prints And Baubles
You don’t need it all. But go ahead. Welcome a lively print or a pop of color to relieve the weekday monotony. The basics--neutral shades and classic styles--form a solid foundation for a working wardrobe. But make a statement with something bold, bright and geometric. As an example, accessories.
Think of the accessory counter as the fashion land of the plenty: scarves, bracelets, necklaces and earrings, handbags and belts with gorgeous buckles. Pile them on and where do your eyes go? Not to the hips.
Freshen up a listless wardrobe. Pick a few standout-out pieces this season. And go to work with a fresh new attitude.
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