Things have changed in workplace fashion since I entered the work force in 1980. Last week in a company-wide email our CEO noted that since we are a sponsor at big local trade show, and we will be hosting many visitors, she asked that everyone wear business casual to work this week.You’d think she was asking the women to wear corsets, and men to wear spats. You would not believe the complaining! Over business casual. Oh Please.
But this does segue nicely into the latest edition of Fashion Tribes, the Office Edition:
Sports Nut This is a young guy, on the overweight side, who broadcasts support for his team in any way he can. His wardrobe is almost exclusively Official Team Merchandise. On the few occasions when he is dressed up he wears a $400 Official Team Leather Jacket with a shirt and tie, which makes him look a stadium groundskeeper. Something tells me these are the guys I see on TV who paint their chubby bodies in team colors, and stand half-naked & braying in the stands. If my daughters ever bring home guys like this I will be horrified.
Baby Mama This as a woman under 35 who is expecting her first baby. For any number of reasons she eschews maternity clothes, so as her pregnancy progresses we are treated to way more boob and belly than we really need to see. In her first two trimesters she sticks with a tight t-shirt smoothed over her popped out belly button and maybe wears stiletto heels with her pregnancy jeans until she can’t take it anymore, and by her last trimester she is so sick of wearing the same three sundresses she adds a shrunken cardigan that she can’t even begin to button.
Endless Summer This is a woman who will wear flip flops in the office into November if she can. Often combined with Baby Mama. Ladies the only people who can get away with extending the summer via wardrobe are shorts-wearing UPS guys who do it because it’s locker room contest to see who can hold out the longest. The No White Shoes After Labor Day law needs to be amended to include flip flops.
Guilty Quilty This fashion choice just screams middle aged female: a woman in a quilted microfiber jacket in black, beige or red (but oddly never a good red.) She also has a quilted brown-blue-cream Vera Bradley paisley bag AND a faux Pierre Deux quilted bag. Stop the insanity!
Party In My Cube Female version: clothing that is too tight, too low and too short. Favors stiletto t-straps with crazy patterned stockings. Reeks of clashing scented hair and body products. Male version: clothing that is too tight, too wrinkled, and too faded. Has not worn leather shoes since his prom. His cologne is all that beer from the night before, slowing oxidizing through his pores. Often combined with Sports Nut during playoffs.
The New Mullet You know this guy: young, smirky, walks down the street holding a lit cigarette that he never really smokes (then why bother?) Always has the newest anything from Apple. Carries a messenger bag slung over the back of his right hip. Wears his hair pressed into a ridge along the top of his head. Dude, in 15 years you will so regret every photo ever taken of you with that hair.
Hipster Doofus This look is becoming very common in certain industries: shaved head (due to being prematurely bald, that part is ok ), shirt is always worn out, and the lack of hair is made up for with robust facial hair (goatee or soul patch.) I have to be honest here I can’t tell these guys apart! From 10 feet away you look more alike than Blue Man Group.
The Woman Warrior Now here I have to turn my wrath on myself. The next time you may be in Boston take a quick look round and count how often within the space of ten minutes you see this uniform on working women: black or brown pants, boots, shirt/turtleneck/t-shirt, denim jacket. Go ahead, count ‘em you’ll be amazed. And one of them might be me!