Monday, July 27, 2009

Dressing for Success

I read this article on Yahoo talking about things you shouldn't wear to work. I have to admit a sigh of relief that apparently the writer was at least born this century. If I see one more article telling me to toss the slack, put on a skirt, and panty-hose and enclosed-toe shoes, I might scream.

There are some basic realities of business and some companies have gotten it right - mine is one of them. Those of us that are not client-facing get to dress casual. That means all the way down to jeans, polo shirt, sandals/tennis shoes. And I couldn't be happier. For one, your clothes cost goes WAY done. And there's no dry-cleaning to speak of unless you've gotten some tops that need it. And since I sit in a chair all day with headphones on creating e-learning course and generally not speaking to people unless I want to, I think my being comfortable is a huge advantage to my efficiency and output level. Yeah, team!

Every year when RWA conference comes around (that's ROMANCE WRITER'S OF AMERICA), people start whipping out advice about "dressing professional" in case an editor might "see" them in an elevator and ask them what they write, etc. Now, with 2000-2500 writers in one place, this is possible, but let's be honest. If you have an idea for the next Harry Potter - and can actually write - I don't care if an editor catches you wearing your bathrobe. She's still going to be interested. So I am definitely not one of those that advocates the business wardrobe of my mother's era (and mind you, I'm not exactly young) for those speaking to editors. Especially when you consider that many of the people who attend conference don't work at all so they would have to go purchase those items - for what, one wear? Pointless. Be clean, neat, and not a psycho and everything will be fine.

Every so many years the conference is in Dallas, and for whatever reason it seems to correspond with the Mary Kay convention. For whatever reason we sometimes find ourselves in the same hotel. Yikes. Now, one would think that the MK women would take advantage of that many potential clients in one place, but they mostly look upon us with disdain, since they're still required to dress like a scene from LEAVE IT TO BEAVER. You got it - hose, enclosed-toe shoes, skirts (PAST the knee), etc. And to make it even more sickening, they have a different color every day and they're all required to walk around looking like a bunch of twinkies.

So one day an author (who shall remain nameless - but a well-published category lady) was speaking at a workshop and had the misfortune to bring a pantsuit that was the same color the MK women were wearing that day. So she's walking down the hallway in the hotel, and one of the MK old men (they bring their husband's with them to "police" the way others dress) runs up to her and says "You're not wearing a skirt, hose, or enclosed toe shoes and I'm reporting you to your district manager."

She leaned over and said "I'm not wearing underwear, either."

Classic! I wish I could have seen it firsthand. He must have had a coronary, especially since he'd been spending his entire life in the 1940's.

Wonder what he'd think of thongs?

Deadly DeLeon

17 comments:

Wendy Roberts said...

LOL Jana! I so remember being afraid the MK ladies would tackle me in the elevator and force me into a makeover!

Gemma Halliday said...

Lol! Me too! Those MK ladies were scary.

catslady said...

That's hysterical - wish I could come up with come backs that quickly. Dressing up is over rated. I work better when I'm comfortable.

terrio said...

I'm lucky enough to work in an office without a dress code so I wear jeans and tennis shoes everyday. The tennis shoes mostly due to really bad knees and the jeans because who wants to wear a skirt with Nikes? LOL!

I did cave and buy some new dress pants and casual but dressier than tennies shoes for Nationals. Then I spent the next week with my knees screaming in pain. Maybe next year I'll just wear the tennies and carry a doctor's note. :)

Tori Lennox said...

ROFL!!!! I would have loved to see the old guy's reaction too. *g*

I'm all about comfort. Especially since I now have to wear these stupid orthopedic shoes. Granted they just look like athletic shoes, but they are far from being business wear. LOL!

Estella said...

I am so glad I am retired and can wear whatever I want.

Suzan Harden said...

ROFLMAO! That writer's my kind of lady!

Jana DeLeon said...

Wendy - I kept thinking that too, and it never happened. Kinda weird, really.

Jana DeLeon said...

I agree, Gemma!

Jana DeLeon said...

catslady - It was hilarious and I'm so glad she was able to come up with something so good so quickly.

Jana DeLeon said...

terrio - Do what I do; wear such interesting clothes that no one really focuses on exactly what it is. I had one of our VP (who DOES dress up every day) fawning over a pair of tennis shoes of mine b/c they're so interesting and unique. Even better - they were Nikes that I got at a discount store for $8. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

Tori - yeah, the ortho shoes are kinda big and clunky, right? I'm not sure any more as I haven't seen a pair in years (that I've noticed, anyway). But probably very comfortable.

Jana DeLeon said...

Estella - Ah, the joys of retirement. I can't wait!

Jana DeLeon said...

Suzan - Mine too!

LuAnn said...

Hah! That's why I really, really like being a freelance writer. I can work in my sweats and tank top or I can just stay in my pajamas all day!

vicariousrising said...

Bwa ha ha! That's awesome.

MK ladies are still running around out there? My grandfather used to tease me that I was putting Max Factor out of business because I never made myself up. I'd best stay away from those lacquered doyennes and their pink cars. I like the unspackled look.

Terry S said...

Kind of scary to think RWA wasn't invaded by at least one MK robot. Can we say "Stepford"?

Have to say, though, my favorite line today was "generally not speaking to people unless I want to". HATE office politics more than anything and envy you being able to put on the headphones!!