Sep 2, 2010

You Are What You Wear

Honey!  I'm home!

And jet lagged.  But never mind, it means I've been able to feel relatively guilt-free about doing nothing but watch season 2 of Mad Men over the past couple of days.  I still don't know what I think of Mad Men, actually.  It's esthetically pleasing, certainly, but very slow.  And yet completely addictive.  Like the thousands of cigarettes smoked per episode.

There was a minor storyline in this season that amused me, though.  If you don't know the show, it features Elisabeth Moss (a.k.a. Zoey Bartlet) playing Peggy Olson, an advertising "natural" who gets promoted from secretary to copywriter by the lead character, Don Draper, in a rare moment of progressive thinking (which doesn't mean he's going to let his wife wear a bikini - the slut).

But Peggy has a few problems.  She's a woman.  She's young.  She's not terribly attractive.  She used to be fat.  She lives in Brooklyn.  She's a Catholic.  But worst of all - she could be a candidate on "What Not To Wear".

Apparently, the reason she isn't getting the respect she deserves comes down solely to the fact that she doesn't Dress The Part.  White cotton shirt, long skirt and a ponytail?  Shock horror!  How is anyone going to take her seriously looking like that? Fortunately for her, she's able to pull out a whole new wardrobe's worth of brown suits, her gay friend cuts her hair to a bob and voilà!  She's a business woman!

This got me thinking.  I love clothes, I believe in appropriate attire (I'm required to by birth), but I'm also a little bit kooky.  Especially when it comes to work clothes.  For example, yesterday I walked past Paul & Joe and spotted a yellow Bambi T-shirt in the window and thought "Hey!  That would look great with a black trouser suit!"  (and no, it's not a fashion term for something else, I do actually mean a yellow T-shirt with a picture of Bambi on it - the Disney character, not Michael Jackson).  But seriously, couldn't you just see it?

So the other day, when I had to fly to Switzerland for an interview, it seemed entirely normal for me to lay out the said black suit with a blue, skin-tight, V-neck T-shirt.  Until the Montmartoise asked what I was wearing and almost choked on her cupcake when I told her.

Yes, I know, you're supposed to make an impression at an interview.  And that includes what you wear.  Dark suit.  White blouse.  Low heels.  Not too much make-up.  Discreet jewelry.  Blah blah blah.  But really, isn't the only impression you're giving people with that outfit the impression that you're really boring?  No?  Am I being childish about this?  Do people really not want to employ senior management executives that wear yellow Disney shirts to the office?  Don't you think work would be much more fun if they did?

But I will yield and conform.  The final round is next week and I'll be wearing black and grey.



Elecompte said...

You can also spruce up the wardrobe with a modern cut black or grey suit. So you stay neutral in tone (pun intended) yet have a bit of an edge that says something. Who says black and grey should be boring...

N said...

Didn't they have the bambi t-shirt in grey? Sounds like a fair compromise to me :-)