Monday, September 13, 2004

Appropriate Attire

Let's talk about what constitutes appropriate attire. I've been thinking about this a lot lately because of a confluence of events.

I had an interview last week for a law-type gig, and I put on a suit for the first time in four years or so. The suit was black. My sensible, low-heeled pumps were black. My shirt was black. In a moment of crazy fashionista rebellion, I carried a red tote bag. Fashion-wise, this is a conservative town. If I don't get the job, I'm blaming the tote.

We had an event recently at the store. The event was for a best-selling author of genre novels who is famous for his iconoclastic and humorous style. He is "out there." And so is his audience, which contains a high percentage of...there's no way to put this nicely...dorks. I find that with audiences of this type, it is very difficult to tell the deliberately bad fashion choices from the merely accidental. I'm pretty sure the woman dressed as a witch, complete with pointy hat and candy-striped hose (a la the Wicked Witch of the East) was making a deliberate statement. But what of the girl in the mini-skirt and sagging, aqua thigh-highs? Tough call there. The guy in the shirt that proudly proclaimed that he was "Pissing Off the World One Person at a Time" was certainly an exemplar of truth in packaging when he came to my register and nitpicked me through the transaction. Oh! And let's not forget the guy who came to the Info Desk to tell us, indignantly, that The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy should not be on the new books table because it was very old and the author was even dead! OK. He wasn't a fashion victim as far as I can recall, just a complete fucking idiot. I'm not even going to go into the tragic grooming choices of the male attendees, except to say that balding, middle-aged guys should avoid pony-tales, PLEASE.

One of the things I love about working at Big Bookstore is that there is considerable freedom of choice when it comes to appropriate work attire. That stereotype of the bookstore clerk with pink hair, and multiple-piercings and tattoos? There's a reason for that. My cow-workers and I dress, for the most part, as we please. We can't wear things that make political statements and we can't wear open-toed shoes. Other than that, you're golden. I've had male cow-workers who have liberated themselves from the dominant-male paradigm by wearing skirts to work. One of my favorite cow-workers has actually worn her pajamas on occasion. And then, there's the cow-worker who regularly wears what I would call cocktail attire. Of course, this precludes her from doing any real grunt work. Hate. Her.

Me? I mostly wear black. It's slimming, utilitarian, and everything matches. It's a bookstore, not a soiree.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh, a stunning display of restaint on your part w.r.t. cocktail-attired cow worker. I understand various parties urged you to tread lightly, but I was expecting more, nonetheless. Are those panty lines or where your Barbie legs attach to your Barbie torso?

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is my take on the situation. Cocktail Bitch doesn't work hard, she only appears to work hard. If you pretend to be rushed off your feet, people will believe it. I think the results will show this. I think that if you put this year's numbers up against last year's numbers - using any measure you choose - sales, attendance, whatever - the difference is going to be drastic. I've heard the "she handles other stores now" argument. But we should not have suffered as a result. The ideal performance would have been for our outstanding performance from past years to continue while adding the other stores into the mix. Instead, we've just diluted the product among four stores, which is just a shitty branding strategy.

2:08 PM  
Blogger ereshkigal said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm never disappointed in you, dear. You did the right thing, given the visibility you now enjoy. All the rest of us are fully engaged in self-destructive behavior and you go do the mature thing. Go figure.

6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you're thinking of moving your blog, LiveJournal has ups and downs. You can do "friends only" entries if you choose to, but the friends who can view those have to be using LJ and be on your friends list. Upsides are that you can limit your viewers, and that people who want to view your blog have to name themselves and request to be added. Downsides are that your audience is limited by the friends thing, and that anyone wanting to view the blog but unwilling to name themselves is also likely to imagine that you are saying horrible things about them personally, which is a whole can of worms in its own right.

8:36 PM  
Blogger Ministry of Cats said...

I'd be more than happy to set you up with a Movable Type blog on my server, e. You deserve and should have a place to rant in public. You don't identify who you are or where you work, so your management should keep its nose out of your biz.

8:53 PM  

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