Dress Right for Work

dress with style cover

Dress with Style
Wallace
1983

This book was hitting the market just as I was hitting the post college job market. Since I have/had no fashion sense ever, I would have been a target market for this book. As these types of books go, this isn’t too bad. The general theme is relatively conservative, job appropriate style. A very good choice for a collection back in the early 1980s. The clothing is a pretty good choice and some of the examples wouldn’t be that out of place in an office these days. I remember that scarves and ties were quite the thing in professional dress. I believe more than one expert touted a scarf as the equivalent of a man’s tie.

The other idea that makes this book out of time are terms we use in describing professional dress in this century. Business casual was not a term I heard until probably the 1990s, and that dressing down in the office is a relatively recent concept. I wonder what will be considered a norm in office dress post COVID,  Perhaps pj’s and flip flops?

Weed it!

Mary

back cover

example of styles

style with coats

style variety

different styles

facial excercises

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15 comments

      1. It also says it’s for a dinner party or “hostessing responsibility.” I think it’s a dress. (That looks exactly like a nightgown.)

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    1. It’s the ruffles around the collar. If it had a plain collar, it’d be an average boring sort of dress. But that fooferaw screams “middle-aged spinster frump”.

      +2
  1. Yes, many of these looks would work in an office today. I got my first proper office job in 1986 so I’d have been the target for this as well.

    Basic tailored pantsuits or knee-length dresses will still pass muster if anyone ever goes to an office again. Law offices still had a dress code like this as of last year.

    But it sure needs weeding nowadays. I didn’t hold with the giant scarf business back then and certainly wouldn’t now.

    Of course, I live in Silicon Valley, where office wear is already hoodies, jeans, and flip-flops, plus polo shirts and khakis if you’re really dressing up. There was a near-revolt in my husband’s office in the early 90’s when the new management from back East banned t-shirts. One of the guys actually quit. They wouldn’t dare try that in this century.

    +2
    1. Law offices and courtrooms have long had rather distant standards of dress. The (federal) Solicitor General last I knew still wears a tailcoat to the Supreme Court. At least we dispensed with wigs on benches a while ago.

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  2. You know what flashed through my head as I was looking at the pics?

    Reruns from “Three’s Company,” “One Day At a Time,” and most particularly, Maggie Seaver of “Growing Pains”!!

    +2
  3. Oh, I remember the whole scarf thing. Women were supposed to tie the dang things in any number of ways. No matter how I tried, the scarf always made me look like a refugee from a natural disaster.

    +3
    1. I was very petite, so any scarf made me look like either your excellent phrase, or like a small child playing dress-up with Mommy’s old clothes and not getting it right.

      At one point — after this — I did essay a skinny (fake) leather tie, when that was a thing. It was small enough that it worked on me.

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      1. Giant scarves – just one more thing to get tangled in my hair, go down the back of my shirt, get food on, or get caught in the elevator…

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