Sweatpants at Work are Sloppy, Not Casual!
In 2009, I started The Style Geek Book Club, a book club that meets both virtually and in real life to discuss the books we read and how they affect our every day life. Below is a summary of my thoughts on chapters 1-2 of Tim Gunn’s Guide to Quality, Style and Taste. Little did I know, years later my former co-worker Elizabeth Holmes would also take up a personal crusade against the trend.
Well, I don’t know about you guys, but I’m officially obsessed with this book…and is it just me or is anyone else thinking “Would Tim Gunn approve?” when you get dressed in the morning?
There’s no possible way that I can do the first four chapters of this book justice in one post, so I will address chapters one and two right now and chapters three and four this weekend. Yes, that’s right procrastinators, you’ve got a bit more time to catch up!
Now about chapter one…
I could wax eloquent on the first line in the first lesson: “Understanding and acknowledging who you are is the most important key to the content of your wardrobe.” Tim Gunn (or TG as I like to call him) hits the nail on the head with this statement. Cardigan sweaters, turtlenecks and button down collared shirts are hardly the appropriate uniform for someone with an adventurous, carefree attitude. For me–a perfectionistic list maker–they are a bit more appropriate. (And yes, if you’re wondering, turtlenecks can be stylish!)
But if you’re not ready to do some serious self-evaluation, you can probably figure out what type of clothes best suit you by spending a little QT with your closet. What types of shirts, pants and other separates do you find in there? Pick out your favorite items and see if and how they pair with one another. According to TG, “It’s essential that you identify looks–not merely items of clothing, but combinations that will be worn together: the silhouettes, proportions, colors and textures of which flatter and enhance you. Then, stick with them! Do not stray! And don’t forget about fit!” (We’ll get back to that last statement in a minutes.)
If, after analyzing your wardrobe, you’re still at a loss for what to wear, I’d suggest this: TG says he always looks at his itinerary for the day to see what appointments he has and with whom– and then he dresses for the “highest level of expectation for that day.”
And I know what you’re thinking. You work in front of a computer all day at an office where it’s casual Friday, everyday. Please refer to pages 25-28 and hear me and TG when we say that sweatpants at work are sloppy, not casual!This is not rocket science, people. It’s common sense. Have some self-respect and take pride in what you do and how you present yourself in the workplace.
Alright. I’m done ranting now. On to chapter two, The Fit Conundrum…
Once again, I like what TG says in the lesson: “It’s about finding a great fit, not a number on a tag.” And you know he’s right. Who among us hasn’t made the mistake of purchasing something in a size two rather than a size four, simply because we’re more comfortable with how the tag reads than how the item fits our body? I’ll admit. I’ve done it. And then I’ve worn the item once or twice, if at all, before deciding that “it just doesn’t fit right” and giving it away to Goodwill.
Ladies, I know it can be a real blow to the ego to have to ask the salesgirl to bring you the next size up, but believe me (and TG) when we say that the right size clothing can hide a multitude of bodily sins. And if you’re still not convinced, please remember this: A muffin top is never in style.
In pages 44-48 of the book, TG gives recommendations for the type of clothing that’s appropriate for different body types. Long waist and short legs? Thing monochromatic from the waist down and wear heels when you can. Big boobs? Avoid blouson or voluminous tops. No boobs? A wide collar, lapel and breast pockets are your friend.
Whew! This post is getting long and I’ve barely skimmed the surface of both chapters! Have I convinced those of you who aren’t in the Book Club to go grab a copy? Believe me. You won’t be disappointed with what’s inside.
For those of you who are already reading along, I’m gonna need to hear your thoughts on chapters one and two. What did you agree with? What did you disagree with? Did anything TG said change the way you approach your wardrobe?
Let’s get this conversation started!