I’ve always been a little bit, shall we say,
irrational, devoted when it comes to my Sunnies. Like certain women from Texas who have a thing for bouffants, I’ve always believed that bigger is better. Or, in the words of Magdalena de la Cruz, the protagonist of my novel So L.A. “As long as you have a good purse and big enough sunglasses you can get away with anything in Los Angeles.”
Case in point? See “Post Exhibit A” (archived by my mother) wherein I rock a gingham chambray jumper and fashion a pair of red sunglasses in perfect “Sunnies-Quite-Possibly-Bigger-than-my-Face” style. I was maybe two.
Come to think of it, it could be said that the best part about Los Angeles is the fact that you can wear Sunnies anywhere, anytime, always. It matters not that you’re indoors. Nor does it matter that it’s after dark. I’m going out on a glamor limb here, dangling dangerously from a date palm tree, but I’m going to admit that in addition to sporting Sunnies to match my dress, I may even have sunglasses for different qualities of light. I mean, doesn’t everyone?
My best pair of Sunnies, by far, were a vintage pair of off-white Dior glasses (see “Post Exhibit B”). They were HUGE in the best possible way. And they died a tragic death in the hands of my daughter, who, when she was two, went on a spiteful sunglass busting bender. She just snapped every pair she could find: crack, pop, burst, like a wishbone the week after Thanksgiving. I was devastated. In fact, I still am.
In the hours after, when I was in shock and unveiled disbelief, I rushed out of the house with my puffy eyes exposed and drove them to three (yes I said three) certified optometrists, an ophthalmologist, a jeweler and a patio-glass repair man (that was when I was really desperate) but all six told me the same thing: Ma’am I’m sorry but…
Even still I couldn’t part with them. I keep the left “arm” as well as the right “three-quarters” of these glasses (of these tinted, broken dreams) on my desk as a reminder of who I used to be. They are joined by four other, less meaningful pairs, that were also busted by the baby. It’s a variable vintage sunglasses graveyard.
My current (favorite) Sunnies are newer and slightly smaller (not by choice) and much less fabulous, but in quintessential Didion fashion, they are about three-and-one-half inches round and a muted grey (perhaps because I am still in mourning?)
#3PCstyle details: http://myprettypinkponies.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/3pcstyle.pdf
Join our Twittter/Pinterest conversation with Fashion Designer, Lando Ortega tonight at 6:30 (PT).
Lando provides us with his expert opinion on the following:
- Does fashion or style matter? Why/Why not?
- What kind of impact does styling and fashion have on women?
- How do we dress for who we really are (vs. who we wish to be) – body type, fit, style, fabric, drape…?
Please feel free to interject with follow up questions and thoughts after our guest has responded to the current question. Thank you!!!
Resources: Edith Head's How to Dress for Success Sasha Charnin Morrison's Secrets of Stylists: An Insider's Guide To Styling The Stars
Some consider the art of dressing, fashion and styling as a superfluous use of one’s time and energy. They’re right. Fashion can be overthought and when combined with the forces of retail marketing, fashion can result in addiction to consumption.
The Hollywood cliché of the teenage girl’s obsession with her image, shopping with her friends and becoming an over-accessorized one dimensional version of her true potential stems from a very real power fashion magazines, shows and other media have on our values. It can be a limiting existence to live life pursuing an impossible opportunity to become another Kardashian sister.
However, if taken seriously without being obsessively vain, the art of dressing becomes a tool for the sophisticated individual. Fashion – or, in the case of our topic, dressing – is akin to a product’s packaging in that it serves several important roles.
We liken the importance of dressing to the importance of a container; both are extensions of the product itself and both help create a product’s appeal, ensure its preservation, and operates as a means of communication between the brand and its target market.
If you open most books about packaging, you’ll learn that an effective package provides a product with the following:
As a professional possessing valuable skills and talent to offer the world you, too, are a product that needs to be packaged appropriately to appeal to the audience you aim to reach.
Think about it. If a product’s packaging didn’t accurately reflect its contents, how would the buyer react upon discovering that the delicious marshmallows he brought home from the store were instead a package of raw tofu???
Being inappropriately ‘packaged’ will result in disappointments.
Proper Packaging: clothing that serves its purpose
So, how exactly do we package ourselves? Glad you asked.
Dressing up or down (or not at all) can be fun. However, when functioning in society, there are responsibilities we must honor before fulfilling our desire to amuse ourselves and do whatever we’d like without regard for rules.
Like a product’s container, our clothing must serve its primary functions before it acts as an extension of our individuality and brand’s message. Typography is useless on a box that doesn’t properly secure the eggs on its way to your kitchen from the grocery store.
In other words your clothes have responsibilites. Your clothing need to fulfill their responsibilities before they can scream, “Louis Vuitton!”.
As a courtesy, we’ve developed a guideline in the form of a checklist to make sure your outfit is at the very least serving its primary purpose.
1. Containment – Does it sufficiently contain and cover its contents?
2. Protection – Is your outfit appropriate for the environment, weather, social context you’ll be wearing it to? (i.e. flip flops outdoors during a snowstorm, etc…)
3. Convenience – Does your clothing allow you to move comfortably and with ease? Does it fit you properly? Will you have difficulty performing at your optimum level in these clothes?
4. Information – What message does your clothing communicate to society as a whole?
5. Marketing – Are you wearing any symbols or styles that will connect with the specific group you wish to appeal to? Will your market be attracted to you given how you are presented?
(To be continued…)
When I worked full time in corporate America, I was always polished and groomed at the office. I worked in an environment where presentation and details made a huge impact on the perception of one’s sense of professionalism.
That said, it was always so refreshing to become “un-pretty” during weekends.
What does it mean to be “un-pretty”? First, let’s take a look at what “pretty” means:
I define ‘pretty’ as being polite, pleasant and polished. ”Pretty” is the very essence of being a lady — coiffed hair, a manicure, a poise presentation, warm, approachable and socially graceful. (Think of a house party’s hostess – friendly and sociable). Someone “pretty” offers you coffee and cookies when you visit their homes. The “pretty” girl tells you how great you look (to simplify the concept); she is concerned about whether or not you’re comfortable and considers what your preferences are.
When I use the term “un-pretty”, I’m not implying that I made an effort to look unattractive (although, a lot of times, this was the case). What I mean is, my style of presentation was less ladylike and lacked the polish and niceties one would expect from a pageant-trained woman.
How does one achieve a “pretty” look?
Feminine make up highlighting the shape of one’s eyes + full lips + groomed brows and hairstyle + polished ready-to-face-the-camera style + tailored and put-togehter – any piece of hair out of place
I love the “un-pretty” side of my closet as much as the polished and tailored pieces I own. It’s necessary, at times, to wear wrinkled shirts, athletic shoes, cotton tees and unruly hair. I say this because I think it’s an advantage to be comfortable even without having to project the socially-constructed version of “girl”. You can be attractive in various ways — wearing pearls and a tiara or sneakers and a baseball cap.
To me, an un-pretty style can convey the gritty sexiness of Marlon Brando’s Stanley Kowalski.
Un-pretty means dressing with style without having to make a lot of effort — in So Cal this laid-back style is one that many non- L.A. natives try very hard to emulate. It’s the confidence in one’s self without having to look like a doll who took two hours to apply make up.
It’s an image that actors and models (who spend their working days in full make-up) naturally have on their days off. A look that conveys the understanding that if they wanted to, they could very well shave their scruff and be as pretty as they come. The “unpretty” girl doesn’t necessarily say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ in a bubbly voice. She may give you a smirk or a nod of acknowledgement if she’s pleased with you.
Simplified, the “unpretty” girl asks you for a smoke without taking into consideration whether or not you approve of her smoking. She is not as self-conscious as her socially-graceful “pretty” girl counterpart.
How does one achieve this un-pretty too-cool-to-care style?
“undone hair” + cotton tee + element of relaxed or athletic gear – bubbly persona – string of pearls – “matchy-matchy” accessories + grit + attitude…
For the smart, professional, chic woman who can’t live life without style, below are examples of office-appropriate footwear to inspire confidence as you march into the boardroom to present your brilliant ideas to colleagues. (No one will know the secret to your spectacular presentation!) Go get ‘em!
Here are some other things to keep in mind when shopping for shoes:
What defines a “creative industry”?
Generally, “creative” companies in various sectors create ‘widgets’ that are unique and based on intellectual inspiration. Creative fields include: advertising, architecture, publishing, software, art, design, fashion, film, music, games, TV, video games, etc….
|Have you seen anything like this on the market?|
The creative individual’s personal “brand” is the value they add to their organization, thus, they wear their brand proudly on their sleeve.
|Uzo of Nars Cosmetics dictating her own brand of professional-wear. She is a recognized for the originality she contributes to her field. She is paid to think outside the box. Her individuality and creative discoveries inspire others in her field.|
Traditional corporate environments emphasize the organization’s vision, and each employee’s objective is to execute orders given from the top of the chain. There is less importance placed on a person’s uniqueness. If you’re not in position to command orders, you’re not being paid to come up with ideas. Ideas and best practices are provided to you.
In other words, each group or functional division operates as one unit (read: everyone dresses alike) carrying out tasks outlined by the head of their departments. A blueprint for how things are done most effectively is in place and provides guidelines for the most efficient way tasks should be carried out.
The focus is on the organization as a whole and the objective is to carry-out processes vital for the organization’s life. Innovative ideas are provided by the organization’s leaders whose experience and expertise provide the group with the best direction to take. Leadership in these organizations are paid to figure things out and make decisions; others are paid to carry them out.
|“Separately, we are organized, results-driven and efficient. Together, we are a well-functioning machine that will ensure your day-to-day operations are run effectively.”|
|“Our business unit has a process in place that can produce those widgets in half the time. We, as a unit, are important to the organization’s bottom line.”|
|Each individual piece must fit well and operate under the same cadence to make the machine run smoothly.|
|“Hi, everyone. I look just like my teammates in my collared, button-up shirt, and neutral-colored palette. Also, this practical handbag carries useful tools making me a productive member of the organization.”|
|“Give me an assignment, and you can consider it done. I have a Navy Seals background and my goal is to help carry our team forward.”|
While I make broad generalizations to illustrate my points, each office has its own culture and a smart job candidate will observe his/her surroundings to gain an understanding of culture. Until then, prevent being a distraction by erring on the traditional side and observe people to understand what is generally acceptable in your new office environment.
Any healthy and productive organization will incorporate elements of each “type” in varying degrees depending on short-term and long-term goals.
(**note: representations of “styles” in the above images are in sterile and generic form to illustrate points more clearly. We understand this is not necessarily an accurate representation of groups as wholes. Again, images are for demonstrative purposes only. Thanks.)
I. BEING PUT-TOGETHER AT HOME
I miss writing about office-wear.
I miss wearing office-wear.
If this is your first visit to 3P, I’ll prepare you for what some have called my “vain” side. I’m into wardrobe, shopping and trying to look my best (call me a “girl”). That said, even when I’m at home, I’m somehow more productive when I’ve taken the time to “put myself together. Continuing to “dress for the day” helps keep my priorities in a professional context. Being dressed for business tasks makes sure the television, web, and phone calls don’t distract me from what I need to do that day.
Since my current priorities mostly involve conversations between recruiters and HR people online and by phone, I have to feel comfortable and at ease, without feeling so relaxed I lose my professional sensibility. In other words, bunny slippers are not part of my working-from-home wardrobe. Do you feel like a superstar right when you roll out of bed?
II. STAYING INDOORS
We can certainly appreciate the craftsmanship of a well-made designer dress. However, sometimes, it makes very little difference in presentation whether or not what you’re wearing costs over 3x as much as much as a similar ensemble.
The few times high-cost in designer clothing can be worth the price you’re paying:
of year when you pull light sweaters out of storage anticipating a drop in
warm out in SoCal. What does a girl do to prepare for the frigid a/c
indoors while keeping cool and fresh outdoors?
is always a smart move. It’s a great “band-aid” for unexpected
cold weather or if you drop lunch on your blouse.
that’ll keep your body cool and comfortable works well underneath a light
sweater. Below are a couple of good examples of light bouses for your professional wardrobe to take you through the change in temperature without missing a beat.
enough to wear with your warm-weather palettes. The cognac, light brown and butterscotch leather will keep you looking polished as you introduce deeper fall colors with your suits.
Tall boots need not be synonymous with “night life”…Observe the refreshing take on the tall boot below.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry 8/10/2011
i write about this to point out how easily one can create various “looks” starting with “basic pieces”. coming straight from a corporate setting, i walked into the store wearing: a silk cami + sweater, black slacks, pearls, and a pair of black pumps. by updating my top (read: throwing something over my cami), i created various styles…with just one piece.
|1. basic white button up + closed toe pumps 2. the sheath dress 3. khakis + dark closed-to pumps 4. blouse + pencil skirt 5. separates 6. basic white shirt + solid black A-Line skirt|
- fit, proportion, fabric, color(s)
- appropriate undergarments?
Part II. Safety Needs per Maslow
I’m not at all trying to dissuade you from justifying wearing your ten-year-old concert shirt/free-when-you-sign-up-for-a-credit-card-shirt/inappropriate-cartoon-you-got-as-a-gift-shirt/raggedy juicy couture sweats/etc… with the old excuse of being “economical”/making use of all your resources effectively…My point simply is that irrespective of your preferences and style — whether you’re miss hot-to-trot super-duper-model or too-deep-to-follow-fashion’s “rules” — have a ‘basic shirt’ as a default when having to be seen in public.
- Are they clean?
- Do they fit me well?
- Are they comfortable?
- Are they washable/easy to maintain?
- Will they coordinate with > 75% of my tops?
Part I. Basic Needs (per Maslow)
In current vernacular, “basic needs” means things we have no option to say ‘no’ to (i.e. paying utility bills, rent/mortgage, visiting the bank, feeding our children, buying cat litter & doggie treats, post office, grocery store, et cetera…). So to tie this tenuously with fashion, “Part I.” discusses what to wear when ‘out and about running errands’.
Part I. Running Errands
Objective: get things done comfortably, without getting bothered by unnecessary attention, altercations, or other time-wasters…
Tools: basic inoffensive clothing, flat shoes, container for documents, phone, car keys, etc…
(I don’t know about you, but I don’t particularly find running errands the highlight of my week. While looking good is essential, looking like you’re desperate for a date or like you just rolled out of bed yesterday and are new to society’s basic expectations of decent public decorum will probably take you off track to getting things done as quickly as possible and getting home to get ready for an actual date.)
We’re working on organizing the information on our blog so our readers can find content more easily. For instance, we put a lot of thought into our “Closet Essentials” articles, but somehow they’re tough to find…Until we find a better system of organization, please use the following links at the bottom of each article to navigate from Part I. to Part II., etc…
‘shed’ some ‘stuff’!
Donate clean professional wear and accessories to the Dress For Success (DFS) Organization. The specific chapter in which we are actively involved is the DFS/Worldwide – West Headquarters.
If you work in the Los Angeles area and would like our assistance picking up items you wish to donate, please contact us with your name, business address, telephone number and email address to schedule an appointment.