*source of Slasher Celebrity Shopper – David Corn of Mother Jones’ Washington Bureau just coined this term on MSNBC for all Sarah Palin has shown the public since her nomination. Slashing away at Obama with personal attacks, celebrity stints at the UN and SNL, and of course today the $150,000 elitism SHOPPING spree news . . .
I was an up-and-coming (very) young and (somewhat) hot female public policy professional in the 1980s. Seems like a lifetime ago, and I guess it nearly was.
After a haphazard jeans or shorts-and-fencing-socks type grad student wardrobe, including waist-length hippie hair held over from the 60s, I got a great opportunity and made myself over to make the most of it, and read — no, actually I STUDIED if not completely memorized — John Malloy’s pop research bible for my demographic, “Dress for Success.” Then I shopped very seriously by it, with what little money I had. And paid the dry-cleaning bills for the first time in my life, which was almost enough to strain my budget all by itself, never mind the original purchase price of the clothes. 🙂
But even in those days of greed and excess including fake nails at $100 a month (yes, I had them for a couple of years) it wasn’t about the bucks you spent but the bang you got for them careerwise. How well they communicated the power of story you were spending them to present.
Certainly it wasn’t about what you personally craved or felt good in or thought was attractive, and it definitely wasn’t about what men would find attractive either. The opposite in fact! The object was to integrate a competent, smart and effective, non-sexual kind of natural low-key quality and value into your overall appearance. So, not pants but an appropriately feminine version of the neutral office suit. The details were key, such as the soft bow on your blouse to emulate the male tie but without copying it and looking saucy or downright challenging to the boss. I remember especially the importance of the sensible, blue or black low-heeled shoes and the attache-like purse and oh, traveling with the all-purpose black or beige trenchcoat. It didn’t have to be a brand name London Fog — it could come from Ross Dress for Less or the thrift shop — but its exact style reflecting the man-coat was important, down to the precise length and how many buttons it had, and that it not be any girl-color.
The whole point was to wear clothes that wouldn’t be an issue! — remove them from any notice so that subconsciously it would seem like they meant no more to you than any of the other guys.
Much like a school dress code.
Anyway, that was then. I’ve laughed since about Hillary’s pantsuits and generally admired how freely colorful most women are now, in the Senate and House for example, less straitjacketed by mavens like Malloy. As long as your clothes fit your power of story, rather than spoil it.