Volume 73, Number 45 | March 10 -16, 2004

Notebook


My own personal fashion week; making style work

By Jenny Klion

Aaaah! Talk about losing my edge. I think I’m turning into one of those women who wears loose pants and comfortable shoes, clips reading glasses to a lengthy beaded chain, and hides little balls of Kleenex up her buttoned-down sleeve. A woman who sees her reflection under the unfortunate curse of fluorescent lighting, and spends lunch hours combing the nearby Strawberry or Bolton’s, looking for something — anything — that might cheaply, but effectively, upgrade her “career” wardrobe.

The thing is … what I’m trying to say is … I’ve gotten a (gulp) new job — a straight nine-to-five job — and I’m currently in the process of trying to adjust to my new routine. Moreover, and not to be completely shallow and surface, it seems one of my biggest concerns at the moment is the fact that I have nothing appropriate to wear. Seriously. As a longtime freelancer, wardrobe was never an issue for me, besides the usual want-to-look-good-with-style scenario. I enjoyed shopping, when I could afford it, and certainly didn’t spend my time looking for something to don at a Midtown publishing company. But now, I see there’s only so many times I can rotate my one black jacket around a pair of purple pants or a fading gray skirt.

With no “Queer Eye for the Straight Gal” to help me out, I’ve given this fashion crisis a lot of thought (using scores of attractive working women, all blow-dried and efficient looking, for in-vogue role-model possibilities), and I’m thoroughly convinced that my funky jeans and bright pink sweatshirt, inscribed ironically with a “Snow Bunny” logo, aren’t going to cut it at this Rockefeller Center workplace. Though I did manage to squeeze in a pair of quasi-quilted huge platform shoes on my first two casual Fridays (and even my ultimate boss there approved), they couldn’t be more uncomfortable; and frankly, I’ve discovered that what I really want is some serious comfort and protection for my newly vulnerable feet (among other things).

Alors, this past weekend, I gave myself an important assignment: locate hip (comfortable) shoes and black pants — and don’t stop till I find them. But alas, it made no difference whether the stylish slacks I tried on were $20 or $200, nor how many endless pairs of ill-fitting shoes I modeled (my feet are not shaped like a point!), I simply could not make myself look like a working girl, or more importantly, a happy working girl. Consider the youthful, leggy Melanie Griffith in such a role, or the super-busty Dolly Parton and/or ultra-repressed Jane Fonda and/or go-get-’em Lily Tomlin in “Nine to Five,” or even the constant assurances by numerous fashion rags that I, too, can create an entire wardrobe with five easy pieces. Now imagine me, a two-time circus alumna, wherein when I pair a dress one day with a jacket, and another day with a sweater, I think it’s pretty darned clear I’m still wearing the same ol’ dress.

Clothes are a very satisfying way of expressing one’s self to the outside world, and I guess I’m just trying to say something — anything — to the new, corporate world in which I’ve embedded myself. And despite once being styled by Pat Field herself while in the early throes of my former E. L. (Edgy Lover) relationship, I’m obviously no Carrie Bradshaw, at least not in the fashion sense. Regardless, might I still take the liberty of throwing out the following lip-chewing laptop question, which is: Are work clothes really the measure of a woman, and if so, what if you don’t look good in them?

As for my weekend shopping jaunt, mission not really accomplished. I resurfaced from the ordeal with a so-so pair of dark red booties, which Judy does not like, as well as a rather unique long black skirt, which Judy also does not approve of. Darn. I really thought the skirt would be an inspired substitute for the flattering black pants I couldn’t find, but apparently not. Nonetheless, I wore the (now perceptibly) crazy witchy thing to an Oscar party that Sunday night and felt very au courant, though I still have nothing new to wear to work. Let’s see — I could try the black jacket with the purple pants, or the black jacket with that same ol’ dress, or the gray skirt with my pink Snow Bunny hoodie, or ….


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