We have forgotten how to dress. I like yoga pants. . .for the gym. Or lounging at home. Or the occasional visit to the massage therapist or doctor, when you need to get your clothes off quickly. But not for work. We’ve slid down into this oh-so-casual look of low maintenance, which really just gives the appearance of “I don’t give a sh*t”. Lack of time is just about priorities. If you don’t care about your appearance, what else does that translate into? Lack of funds. . .sorry, I don’t buy into that either. I used to sew my own clothes when I couldn’t afford new prices. Nowadays, consignment stores are popping up everywhere offering designer wear for low-budget prices. I don’t get the “ewww, pre-worn” prissiness. How many times do you think that brand-new shirt was tried on before you bought it? At least the consignment store wares are clean.
I have never been a fan of business suits, at least the bland, woolen versions. Me, I like a little bit of edge to my business look. I scored this vintage Claude Montana blazer off of Poshmark, an online consignment boutique. Italian made, impeccable tailoring, it features those power shoulder pads so famous in the 80s and early 90s. Mr. Montana was famous for that power suit look, but unfortunately went bankrupt in the late 90s. I consider it an extra investment that I now have two Claude M blazers. Paired with the Hermes scarf in place of a tie (another Poshmark bargain), and Manolo Blahnik wingtips, this defines my version of the power suit. Affordable, due to the secondhand purchase, this look is classy with a definite edge. A better business casual than the blazer and ripped jeans favored by the younger crowd, not that I don’t like that look.
Why I need this look when I’m three weeks out from retirement, speaks more to my opinion about dressing than anything else. I am happiest and feel more like my self when I am dressed well. I’ve been like that since a small child, and then it was ingrained into me when I attended Patricia Stevens Fashion and Business College in the late 70s.
Patricia Stevens originally began as a way to educate and polish young women for entry into the workforce. Part of the curriculum included personal development and appearance. Classes included etiquette, modeling and professional presentation. We were required to dress in heels, nylons and dresses every day. These days, that might generate the opinion as sexist, but I did not and still do not feel that way. We were taught to look professional and act with professional manners. Pretty damn good skills to have. I have read research study findings that state attractive people get better jobs and pay. I don’t think that means you need to be beautiful, just well presented. If you have ever sat on an interview panel, those that come in looking like the job they want usually get the job they want.
One of the trainings that was ingrained into our being was the “Patricia Stevens stance”, a modeling pose with the weight on the angled right foot, forward facing left foot, hips turned to appear narrow and wide shoulders. A feminine, yet powerful presentation of self. I can drop into that pose instantly. When I do, I feel confident and beautiful, even while wearing yoga pants.