You’ve all heard the phrase, right? “The clothes make the man.”
While I strongly react to the sexist, consumerist, and classist implications of this idiom, I’m finding myself reflecting upon it this morning because yesterday, I went shopping.
“What?!?! Hold the phone !” you say. “She’s unemployed! Where are our government dollars going to- heels and pearls?” Well, no. My government dollars haven’t kicked in yet despite being unemployed for 3 weeks now (wait for a post on that later) and, thankfully, I have a savings account.
I went shopping yesterday because I have an “interview” tomorrow. It’s somewhere between an informational and an exploratory conversation about a specific opportunity. It’s very exciting. And, it happens to be for a company where suits are the norm, which is a slight problem…
I’ve had the privilege of working at small non-profits for the past nine years, which means I’ve also benefited from a relaxed dress code. Suits, dresses, and heels have all made their appearances- for donor meetings, gala events, and lectures- but the day-to-day norm has included a liberal amount jeans and t-shirts. At my last position, my boss often wore a hoodie to work on cooler days and we joked about flannel pajamas.
My wardrobe does include a range of suits and dresses; unfortunately, they’re all in the wrong sizes. In the last year, I’ve struggled with weight gain and am finding my trousers a tad too tight. I’m in a double-digit size I’m not excited about (though I’ve a different blog altogether to talk about that), yet the first rule of interviewing (as it is in giving a lecture) is to wear something you’re comfortable in. So, I went shopping.
And, it was fantastic. I have to give props here to Anne Taylor Loft. First, they have a suit sale going on right now (thank you karma). Second, their sizes run from 0-18 and they usually keep a good run of stock in the “middle range” (10-14) so that the average shopper can find their size. Third, they’ve got classic pieces that are easy to make more funky or conservative depending on your needs.
So, I left with a suit, a pair of trousers, a woolen wrap, and 4 shirts. With a 30% discount from a lovely sales girl, I came in significantly under my budget, so I went to Victoria’s Secret.
Again, do the clothes make the man? Or, rather, the woman in my case? No. But, a well-fitting bra is essential to comfort. And, let’s face it, matching undies are a phenomenal treat. I found 2 bras that I loved and managed to score one for free thanks to a discount.
So, now I’m set for tomorrow. Do the clothes make the man? No. But they do make her comfortable and help reduce distraction. Now that I’ve a range of outfits I can create as I go forth with informational interviewing over the next few weeks, I’m confident that I’ll feel comfortable and able to focus on the task at hand- selling my skills and *not* worrying about my waistband.