occupational dress

Kings Of Leon

"So last weekend that happened, and I walked up to the bus and I said to the bus driver, like, 'Hey, the subway is off, but it said that I could take the bus to the subway, do you know where I can get off?' And the bus driver said to me, and I quote, he goes, 'I don't know anything about the subway.' I was like, You don't know anything about the subway? You're wearing the same outfit as the man running the subway! 

Nathan Followill from Kings of Leon wearing a Burberry t-shirt, 2009. What could he say about other tattooed men in snoods? Photo from  My Many Bags , where you can see many celebrities and models in this shirt.

Nathan Followill from Kings of Leon wearing a Burberry t-shirt, 2009. What could he say about other tattooed men in snoods? Photo from My Many Bags, where you can see many celebrities and models in this shirt.

If someone said to me, 'You see that guy walking down the street with the khaki shorts and the Kings of Leon t-shirt? You know anything about that guy?' I'd be like, 'Yeah, I'll tell you a few things about that guy. I know that he could use somebody.'"

 

Birbiglia, Mike. Excerpted in Episode #515 of This American Life, "Good Guys." Listen to it here--it's obviously much better when he tells it.

 

Occupational Dress vs. Tribal Dress. All the people wearing the same things know the same things! I wonder what he was wearing on that tour, maybe some khaki shorts?

Imitation-lisle.

"The book-review editors were like kings (or queens), she always fancied, holding levees, surrounded by their courtiers, while petitioners waited eagerly in the anteroom and footmen (that is, office boys) trotted back and forth. And, like kings, they had the power of life and death in their hands.

1930s woman.jpeg

She had got to know the other reviewers or 'clients,' as the Romans would have called them, quite well by sight--middle-aged bohemian women with glasses or too much rouge and dangly earrings and worn briefcases or satchels; pimply young men in suits that looked as if they were made of paper. And their shoes! Half-soled and with broken laces tied in frayed knots; it broke Libby's heart to study their shoes and the red, raw ankles emerging from cheap imitation-lisle socks." (246-247)

McCarthy, Mary. The Company She Keeps. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2002 [1942].

Can you imagine--imitation lisle! The nerve. Think of the products that were available in the 1930s and their social implications that may not mean anything today.

How would these down-at-the-heels reviewers be dressed today? Interesting in light of the previous post on ACM citing the New Yorker's conversation about officewear.

**PS: speaking of reviewing books, check out my newest review on Worn Through here!

I Make Clothes for People To Wear

Sasha Weiss: So there's a lot more freedom today when it comes to clothing than it was in the 80s, surely, but I wonder now that things are less coded and less formal, at least for people working in a creative setting, it's kind of harder to dress for work, and I wonder how women who are entering the work force learn the norms, because it is harder to draw the line now.

Cartoon by William Hamilton, 1980s (?), found  here .

Cartoon by William Hamilton, 1980s (?), found here.

Susan Morrison: That's interesting. Emma Allen, a young Talk of the Town writer here [and I] were talking about this yesterday, that when she graduated from Yale in 2010, every student was given this thing called "Life After Yale," a little publication produced by the Career Services people called a Survival Guide for the Class of 2010. And for women there's a long section about what to wear, and here I'll read a little bit of it:

If wearing a skirt, you need to wear nylons. Sheer is best. Don't forget to keep an extra pair of nylons in your desk in case of runs.

Now, I can't even remember the last time time I owned or put on a pair of sheer nylons. When I first saw this book I thought, "This is preposterous," but then I was thinking about my own teenage daughters, who I think just because they're younger and they don't feel as confident about knowing the ways of the world tend to have more conservative ideas than I do often about what's an appropriate thing to wear.

 

From The New Yorker's Out Loud podcast, September 13, 2013. Sasha Weiss discussed "Work Clothes" with Rebecca Mead and Susan Morrison.

 

Are the "rules" of (work) fashion generational? How do you dress for work? Susan Morrison thinks the only no-no is "being inappropriately revealing." But that's relative too, isn't it? Up to a certain point, I guess. Oh, and no flip-flops. Agreed.

This piece has some worthwhile contemporary observation of work dress and dress codes in literary and creative offices.