Career Style!

looks that work

Looks That Work

Time for a working wardrobe circa mid 1980s. This book has a few themes for that gal on the go. First, we have role models: Nancy Reagan, Elizabeth Dole, and a few more. It’s all about the grooming!

Second, you need to develop a “capsule concept”. I tried the quiz and failed miserably. Evidently you need to have some kind of “style”. I currently am sporting a “COVID-19 sweatpants” motif. I think it’s working for me.

Finally, what kind of woman are you? On the back cover, there is a really dumb quiz that will help you visualize your inner self wearing the right clothes. Unfortunately, there is very little on the uniform of librarianship (aka a cardigan). Perhaps it was left off since all of these jobs have a reliable HVAC system.

Stylishly yours,


back cover

professional dress

artistic stlye

capsule concept

good grooming


  1. Wow. I cannot imagine anyone being taken seriously while wearing those purple sweaters over and under that flowered thing, with a black apparently shiny skirt. The wearer would be laughed at or pitied.

    And I say this, wearing track pants my son outgrew, with my favorite Christmas fleece that I didn’t get to wear enough a few months ago, because it is still cold here. And my slippers, because I am not going outside and why shouldn’t I be comfy. I still look better than that outfit.

    But then, I would have tossed aside any book that used Nancy Reagan as a role model.

    Was this book weeded from an actual collection, or just happened upon elsewhere? We have time limits for medical books — I’d say fashion books should have limits even tighter.

  2. I wish I had saved all the shoulder pads I cut out of my 80’s work clothes. I could use them for face masks.

    1. Do you remember trying on clothes when the blouse, sweater and blazer all had shoulder pads? Quasimodo shoulders!

  3. Grew up in San Francisco in the ’80s. I remember Dianne Feinstein’s bows!

  4. Ew. What the actual @#$@#% was with those @#$#@ bows on work blouses?

    1. If memory serves from… I think dropping by a documentary while channel surfing or something like that… it had something to do with ties and finding a feminime alternative since women couldn’t/shouldn’t wear suit and tie (I forget if there was any reason beyond “that’s MEN’s clothing”), but something was needed to demonstrate being a Serious Businesswoman.

  5. I assume to save ink is why the women’s faces are paper-white. The colored lips just make them unnerving and I can’t focus on their clothing.

  6. For most of the answers to those questions I wanted to write “none of those things.”

    My typical work uniform is jeans and a T-shirt. I actually hate jeans, but I work in a factory, so they’re better than yoga pants, which I absolutely live in outside of work.

  7. I well remember the dress of the ‘managerial woman’ from that era. The pussycat bows or artfully draped scarfs were the female equivalent of the male necktie.

    I remember a clueless boss who decided she had to look ‘managerial’. She bought two suits with shoulder pads worthy of ‘Ilso, She-Wolf of the SS’.
    One suit was red and the other was purple with scalloped hems on the jacket and skirt. She also thought it would be ‘creative’ to mix and match the suits with silk blouses (with bows) that employed both colors. All she needed was a fright wig to look like Bozo the Clown.
    On the plus side, my Mother-in-law gave me a red car coat very much like the long red coat on the cover. I absolutely loved that thing. It was cozy and had pockets deep enough to carry a paperback book. The shoulder pads were just big enough to secure a shoulder bag.

    Styles of the 1980s weren’t all bad but this book can go.

  8. In 1986, I was holding down an actual job, and my answers would have been “None of the Above”.

    Because I worked at a university in Silicon Valley, and wore jeans and sci-fi t-shirts just like my male co-workers. Nobody dressed up unless the money guys were coming.

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