Saturday, March 21, 2009

Clothes Make the Job

I almost bought a pair of shoes today that would have cost an entire unemployment check. In the job I've just left, this wouldn't have been unusual; women half my age were running around in heels that cost twice that much, and $3500 suits. What was unusual was that these shoes were a European comfort brand and the style would have been both too casual and too avant-garde for that office.

It wasn't the price of the shoes that deterred me, or the style, but the fact that somehow I'm between two sizes right now and the pair in the smaller size was a little too tight in the toe box and the pair in the larger size was like a couple of canal boats. Otherwise I would have bought those too-casual, too-avant-garde $400 shoes.

I've been doing stuff like that a lot lately. My practicality, which is as nervous and stammery as Leo Bloom, tells me to buy a suit and pumps. "You have to find another job in a large multi-national corporation," it advises. "You can't wear jeans and sneakers forever!" Then I go buy a new pair of jeans and a boyfriend jacket.

They say "dress for the job you want," and my Inner Tim Gunn must know where I want to work next more than I do. And since start-ups may be doing better six months from now than any multi-national corporation in the news, perhaps I can trust him and listen.

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