Submitter #1: I am submitting a fun little book from the late 1970’s that advises women on how to dress for success in the workplace and the bedroom. By fun I actually mean horrifying. The author tries to acknowledge the sexist world women were grappling with at the time, but is definitely blinded by his own impulses in that direction. There’s some racist sections, too, so black women get a double whammy.
The attached photos include some of my very favorite sections, including the intro titled “Bedroom or Boardroom-Your Choice”, a wonderful illustration of a “Don’t” workplace outfit, a section explaining how black women lawyers should dress for optimum impact on white men and black men, and an intro to the section on attracting a nouveau riche man.
Submitter #2: This book is so over-the-top ridiculous I don’t even know where to start. I can’t believe it was on the NY Times best seller list and I can’t believe we only just weeded it this past year. Inside John T. Molloy assures us that all the information in the book was very scientifically compiled from interviewing employees at “Fortune 500 companies” which he does not deign to list. I would feel so much better if he just admitted that he made it all up in his head or from throwing a darts at women’s clothing catalogs.
This book poses all sorts of ridiculous “rules” based on some pretty offensive stereotypes. (What to wear if you’re a lawyer in front of a jury of “urban ghetto blacks”! What to wear to attract men with old money! What colors are upper middle class!) Not to mention that there is an entire chapter on what to wear to attract men in certain professions. I think a book on office dress codes or compiling a work wardrobe could probably be helpful for college grads. It just shouldn’t be this one, in ANY decade. Also, I still can’t get over his advice to wear a “feminine fedora” and “necklace of gold golf balls.”
Holly: That’s right, folks, two separate people submitted this book to us within two days of each other! We actually posted this book back in the early days of ALB, but for the life of me I can’t find the post. (We lost some golden oldies last time we moved web hosts.) Since two people bothered to submit it again, I think we’ll post it again! If the guy on the back cover (below) is John T. Molloy, he just looks like a creeper. Sorry, sir, but you chose poorly in your author photo.
Mary: Molloy was the go-to guy for all things in professional attire for both men and women. I had about a thousand of those tied professional blouses. I think I burned them all in about 1990.
More Business Attire: