Monday, June 26, 2017

Professional Chic

I have my occasional moments – courtesy mostly of Eileen Fisher, I guess -  but I do not generally consider myself especially chic when it comes to my clothing. My wardrobe is a combination of strictly utilitarian, classic never-in-style-never-out-of-style, and (on occasion, thanks to some of my sweaters) artsy-funky. Yet I do know how to dress for work, and when I was a full-timer, I definitely dressed professionally. Since I worked in the technology sector, “professional” had a pretty broad and elastic definition, but I almost always came down on the side of professional.

When I worked at Wang, I pretty much wore a suit every day. That was because, as a product manager, I always had to be on the ready to float down to the customer center and give a presentation or demo to visiting customers/prospects. On Fridays, when the odds were lower that I’d be called on, I sometimes wore nice slacks or a skirt and jacket. And I did have one funky outfit I wore a few times on summer Fridays. It was a somewhat hippy-ish long skirt, cotton, in bright blue, navy, chartreuse and white stripes, and a matching sweater with those colors in color blocks. I know, I know, this sounds ghastly, but this was the eighties. The outfit was cool. I loved it. (I just checked out a couple of sites selling vintage Ellen Tracy clothing. Alas, I couldn’t find these pieces, so you’ll have to take my word for it.) Anyway, one time when I did wear it, I got on an elevator occupied by a fellow product manager, a colleague I knew only vaguely but who was on the far right end of the continuum of conservative Wang dressers. I don’t think I every saw here without a paisley silk bow tie. Her eyes almost popped out of her head when she saw me in this costume.

Anyway, when I worked in suit places, I wore a suit. When I worked in separates places, I wore separates. When I worked in more casual places – and, over time my workplaces became more and more casual – I dressed more casually, but generally reserved jeans for an occasional Friday, and always with a nice sweater.

If I’d been a techie, I’m sure I would have ended up an everyday jeans person. But I was always in product management and/or marketing. We just plain dressed better more formally.

These days, as a part time virtual worker, I’m only on site a couple of times a year. I wear a pantsuit, or nice pants and a nice jacket/sweater. Of the clients I do see in person, most are casual all the time – the people I work with are often in jeans – and one is somewhere between formal and business casual, except on Fridays.

When I’m working from home, I may be on a conference call wearing a robe and PJ’s, or workout clothes, or complete grubs. But I 20170624_173950sure know how to do professional – if not chic – when called upon.

All this said, I didn’t know what to make of the clothing that I saw the other day in Marshall’s, hung on a rack marked “Professional Chic.”

Exactly what profession has workers that wear jersey boxer shorts printed with cereal logos and characters? Surely, not the oldest profession. What could possibly be sexy – other than the length – about shorts with Snap, Crackle and Pop on them?

I showed the picture to a friend who has a 5 year old and a 3 year old, and she thought maybe a kindergarten or pre-school teacher, during the summer. Maybe.

And the Honey Smacks frog?

I know I’m know maven of chic, but is that really a chic look?

Maybe Smaxey the Seal, who was the Honey Smacks mascot in my childhood, but Dig’em the Frog? I think not.

Meanwhile, I do believe these are intended as men’s sleep shorts, not something that women would wear to the workplace, even in this era of anything goes.

Looks like the folks stocking the racks at the Marshall’s on Boylston Street have a sense of humor. Or wouldn’t know “Professional Chic” if it did a Dig’em the Frog leap and jumped up and bit ‘em in the arse.

No comments: