Apr 092014

One more stop on this week of randomness from around the blogosphere: The Professor Is In. I may have already told the story of the professor who got offended when she was mistaken for an undergrad by another professor. After receiving a comment to the effect of, “if you stay in school, someday maybe you can get your own set of keys”, she came back to class fuming, “what is a professor supposed to look like?” She was young, beautiful, and fashionable. And had not read What Not to Wear, Assistant Professor Edition.

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Prior to stumbling onto The Professor, I had not realized just how conservative The Academy remains. So, suffice it to say, if you aspire to a career in academia, I recommend reading the blog. For the rest of us, a tip I wish I had thought of myself:

Buy blouses that actually fit. If it is a tiny gap deriving from button placement only vis a vis the girls (not incorrect size) in a blouse that otherwise fits perfectly, try sewing up the placket inside, turning the blouse into a de-facto pullover.


Apr 082014

Blogging around the Internet recently, I ran across the idea of a 16 point rule of accessorizing. Hadn’t I blogged about that before? (Before I actually became accessory positive, that is?) I couldn’t find that I had, although I remember discussing it with my sister and her friend Dana; I also had an idea where it originated.

In the classic,Casual Power:: How to Power Up Your Nonverbal Communication & Dress Down for Success, Empowerment Consultant Sherry Maysonave recommends a Professional Image Point System.

A classy, professional image does not score over 10 to 12 points for any outfit. Here’s how my point system works: … Give each item of clothing one point. In addition, count your shoes as one point and earrings as one. Then count your watch, or any belt, ring, bracelet, necklace, or scarf that you’re wearing as one point each. All accessories (including hair ornaments) get one point each.

Sherry Maysonave (1999)

Times have changed. A couple of years ago, Karen, an Image Consultant in The Great Northwest, put out an updated version of the classic “16 points accessory rule”. I love that your hair counts as an accessory if you have received a compliment on it in the last two weeks! OTOH, I still feel like, even with glasses and always wearing a belt, 16 is way too many points for me.

So here is my analysis of the matter: level of embellishment is a distinct element of personal style idiom. Do you feel over- or under- embellished? If so, you may wish to count your “points”. If not, you may also wish to count your points; the range you are in may be just right for you.

Apr 012014

My Facebook friend and one time reader of this blog, Bonnie, was recently looking for input on what to wear to interview for a teaching position. Most said Business Casual. Technically that is correct, but the examples given were mainly along the lines of “skirt or pants and blouse”; that strikes me as kinda boring.

For whatever reason, I mentioned the question to my daughter, who was helping me out by taking this photo; more about that later. She made the brilliant statement:

for early elementary, teachers dress in Business Playful.

In her memory, elementary school teachers typically included an element of fun in their look:

  • brightly-colored necklace,
  • seasonal embellishments,
  • patterned stockings (the ones I am wearing are polka dot).

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Btw, this is another attempt on my part to wear last summer’s MoB dress with sweater and tights, this one more successful. Why? Two reasons:

  1. The fabrics are more harmonious in weight and
  2. The color combination is more harmonious with me.
Mar 312014

Now that the snow is gone and the sun is shining, folks are out and about in my neighborhood. We get herds of joggers, flocks of bicycles, and plenty of strollers; both the wheeled kind and the casual walker. The other day I observed what appeared to be a retired couple. Then I wondered,

What about them made me believe they were retired?

In an instant, I concluded that their white “tennies”, blue jeans, and matching fleeces spoke volumes, not only about their station in life but about their values. And, while I have to confess I am not fond of that look from the standpoint of style, I admire the ideals behind the statement they were making.

They said:

  • I don’t have to work anymore; therefore, my life is devoted to leisure.
  • I am still healthy and what I wear must function for activity.
  • I am able to enjoy this stage of life with my companion.

It then occurred to me that, although the SAHM seems to have a similar lifestyle to the retiree, she has a reason to upgrade her look from leisure to casual that the retired person does not have: respect.

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This is, I think, the beginning of a whole new blogging rabbit-trail. Values are, after all, integral to individuality and, therefore, to style idiom. All industries have inherent values. In this month’s Harper’s BAZAAR, Laura Brown discusses her challenges in balancing fashion authority with a professional look, coming out in favor of the pantsuit.

How do other professions express values in dress code?

May 302013


So, for the past several years, the hero’s annual office party has been held in April.  This year I happened to be involved in an upcycling project (still unfinished) which I had hoped to wear.  In the middle of the afternoon that day, I woke up to the fact that it wasn’t happening and I needed to find something to wear.  Thankfully, I remembered a brown silk Ann Taylor dress I had picked up for $2 months before and had never even tried on.  But it fit!

Today I went back to the same thrift store, Salvation Army on Division, for their weekly 25 cent sale.  On the way out the door, I noticed a cart full of shoes and found a like-new pair of these: image13.jpg


The Kitt shoe in brown by Life Stride is classified as pumps. This Life Stride shoe is made from suede, rubber sole with a heel height of about 2.5 inch. The Kitt also features studs & grommets, pointed toe, cap toe.  Msrp $60.


Note: single sole pumps, cap toe, pointy toe, silver studs. All very current elements, but classic enough for longevity.
Don’t you agree these will be perfect with the dress? And I am not just buying them, for a quarter ;), for the one dress; I did not own brown pumps. I do now! Yay! In the picture, I am wearing tights and boots, just cuz I didn’t have a closed-toe option. In the picture with me, the co-worker I most wanted to award some kind of best-dressed citation.

Oct 182011

Re-posting this.  And admitting, although I still feel the same about the public wearing of velour track suits, that my tone was more dictatorial than I generally intend.  For that, I apologize.


Some people have no clue.  Unfortunately, most of them don’t read fashion blogs, or other sources of clues.  Like the woman in the very nice vintage clothing store I was just in, who was wearing a brown velour tracksuit (with black tee-shirt) and a ponytail!  This was no teeny-bopper, either, she had to be in her early 40s.

Since this is a conversation, where would you wear a velour track suit?  And what’s your opinion of the professional appearance of a ponytail?

Sep 012011

Have I mentioned that the hero is 6’3″ and hairy?

According to his firm’s office cheerleading squad, tomorrow is “Wear Your College Colors Day”.  Although college logo shirt is the basis of the local “after-dinner-grocery-shopping” uniform template, it is not part of his regular idiom.  Nor mine.  So when he fw’d the notice that wearing college colors to work on Friday September 2 was being encouraged, my mind raced quickly through the options:  dd and I both attend schools sporting some version of vampire-wear for their school colors and the school the hero and I graduated from has the blues.  No options worth $pending on.

But there was one other option:  the local community college system, from which dd earned her AA.  Although I can’t tell you what their official color scheme is, their mascot is BIGFOOT!  This I discovered last spring, when I was a student at one of the schools.  I even bought a shirt.  Mine is a beautiful muted brown with the word “Bigfoot” written in ivory script; this “Sasquatch State” shirt is what the hero will be wearing to work tomorrow. 

The best part?  It was $9.99 less 20% AND I convinced them to give me the hanger.  he hee.

Feb 282011

Due to the cyclical nature of fashion, the ladylike suit, although out-of-favor for a time, is in its comeback season.  There are lots of good reasons to buy one now:

  • Fabric technology continues to improve.  Avoid a plastic-looking suit.  Research has shown that many people associate obviously synthetic fabrics with negative character qualities.
  • Easter is April 24th this year.  A feminine suit is a lovely alternative to an easter egg pastel dress.
  • Suits which are sold as separates allow you to buy the size(s) you need even if you don’t wear the same size jacket and skirt.  You can also buy two trousers, or a skirt and trousers, to avoid unequal wear to the matching pieces.
  • Unlike many contemporary styles of dresses and sweaters, people generally understand suits.  That does not include the “mini-skirt suit”.


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Do suits work in your idiom?  Why or why not?

Feb 172011

Do boots work in business?  In 1996, according to John T Molloy, the answer was no.  From the book The New Women’s Dress for Success:

Boots do not work in business.  Every couple of years the fashion industry brings them back and tells women they can wear boots to work.  It is not so; even the most conservative boots do not work very well.

quoted from googlebooks.

I am going to suggest two reasons why that is (mostly) no longer true:

  1. Mr Molloy’s very well-researched book came out early in the “business casual” work environment revolution.
  2. Sarah Palin.

One of the reasons certain looks are not accepted is that they are not expected.  Someone needs to get people used to seeing it; for example, seeing boots worn with a business look.  Presently our eyes are quite accustomed to boots with pretty much everything.  I still think knee-high boots, worn with a knee-length skirt, look most conventionally professional.

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Feb 042011

The quintessential business casual uniform template for men:

khakis + leather shoes +  polo shirt

If only it were so easy for women!  Consider the following insightful comment made (several years ago) by Mella DP:

My job: engineering consulting. That often means having to demonstrate credibility in the executive conference room and on the plant floor on the same day. Dressing in a way that works for both situations is tricky. It’s easier for the guys – most men can wear chinos and a polo shirt and and sturdy shoes and look decent and functional (if a little dull). Most women in a similar outfit would look like an Applebees hostess.   (Emphasis added.)


The other primary reason, IMO, polos don’t work for women’s business casual is this:  historically the polo is athletic wear, making it fall into the leisure category.   Although I’m not entirely certain why it is otherwise for men.

My advice?  When you hear the word “polo” substitute “sweater”.