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

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.)

    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”.

  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.

    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.

  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”!!

  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.

    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.

      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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