I may not be on Vogue’s top ten list of best dressed, but then again, that’s not my style. I’m a relatively conservative dresser: slacks, blazers – silk, wool and cotton – blouses – silk and cotton, and every so often either a mid-calf dress or a cocktail dress when appropriate. When I go to the theatre, a gala, a fundraiser, or a big party, I do tend to “gussy up” a bit, nothing too extravagant, but enough so people will know I took the time to be well dressed.
Multiple books have been written about “Dress for Success,” and I haven’t read any of them. I know to show up at an interview in a suit or a tailored outfit, not blue jeans, not t-shirts, not mini-skirts – not that I own one – and not a plunging neckline – I don’t have anything like that either! The workplace attire is changing, I know, but I also know that what you wear is indeed a reflection on who you are no matter the occasion.
I went to the theatre last week and was aghast at some of the outfits: ragged jeans, skirts so too short that when the person sat down and crossed her legs they would almost disappear, ripped tennis shoes, and older women – over 40 – wearing outfits their teenage daughters want. What’s this say? Denver’s a casual city for the most part; no need to wear a coat and tie to dinner, though it’s nice, and no need to wear a long dress or tux at the opening of a play, the opera, the ballet. But a little extra time, primping and fashion consciousness help make a positive statement.
Do you go to work in pajamas? I see students walking to school in pajama bottoms and slippers! I see people downtown in slippers. Is a nice pair of “loafers” or street shoes not in their wardrobe?
You may think that people don’t really pay attention, and that may be the case, but some people – co-workers, fellow students, fellow theatre goers, clients, employers – or prospective employers – all make an instant judgment: your dress is you. It’s what you think of yourself when you go out in public, and it makes a difference.
Retailers from Chico’s to Nordstrom’s, from Target to Ross, and from Good Will to Macy’s have everything we need to make a positive impression on our friends, family, strangers, managers, clients, prospects, clerks at the grocery store or gas station attendant. No matter whom they are, your clothes speak volumes.
Dress for success to me means success in self-respect and respect for the venue, not just the interview. We are on the fashion runway everytime we leave the house. Here’s to fashion.