Quick update — check out my essay at Jugglezine!

by Erin on August 21, 2008


jugglezine article

It's here.

Illustration by Kat MacLeod, who seems completely awesome … I'm going to have to find more of her work!

{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

mooncalf August 21, 2008 at 10:24 am

Great essay. I especially like: “If it doesn’t make you feel like you’d want to have your picture taken in it, don’t buy it.” I’m going to remember that.

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the_lazymilliner August 21, 2008 at 10:36 am

I left a comment over there, but just wanted to say…how wonderful. My hats would be my brand, if I only wore them more often.

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Chantelle August 21, 2008 at 10:41 am

I love it! I also love the comment “If it doesn’t make you feel like you’d want to have your picture taken in it, don’t buy it.” I’ve never thought of buying things in that way but it’s something I’ll remember from now on.If I were to pull out pictures from magazines and put them all together, there would be a lot of plaid there – it’s my favourite colour! Unfortunately, while I love just about any plaid, any plaid does not necessarily love me. Being short and chubby means that I have to choose my plaids very carefully. On the bright side, finding the perfect plaid outfit/fabric is a fun treasure hunt :)

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Lisa Simeone August 21, 2008 at 10:43 am

Brava, Erin!And you’re right about the illustration, too — it’s fab.

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Doris August 21, 2008 at 10:48 am

What a great article! I’m going to look for more of Miss MacLeod’s work now.

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Little Hunting Creek August 21, 2008 at 10:54 am

How timely – I have to fly to the main office for a meeting on Tuesday and you’ve inspired me to choose a whole different wardrobe.A wonderful article!

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lorrwill August 21, 2008 at 11:16 am

Oh thank you for your timing! I just woke up to the fact that my wardrobe sucks because not only is it somewhat dated (I say somewhat because I have not bought anything in a long time and it all looks the same anyway)and it is the worst kind of business casual – BORING! GENERIC! CONFORMIST!So rather than find a therapist, I am going to update myself – nay – distinguish myself! Mwah-ha-ha-ha!(I made an interesting related discovery: Sheeple abhor individuality and/or change. I got severely put down for expressing an interest in purchasing a few fashion magazines to get ideas to update my look. I am still a little taken aback by that so thanks and more thanks for the wonderful orange polka-dotted, turquoise trimmed encouragement!!!)

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Ev August 21, 2008 at 11:32 am

Eric,Excellent essay. I had a gastric bypass a few months ago and have had to toss my existing wardrobe and slowly build a new one as I lose weight. It has been a great opportunity to exercise one of the rules you listed: don’t buy anything you don’t absolutely love. I’m determined to “get it right”. Thanks for all of your writing. It’s always an inspiration.

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ev August 21, 2008 at 11:33 am

hmmm, I meant “Erin”!

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wundermary August 21, 2008 at 12:31 pm

“Later this week, I’m heading into the office. I plan to wear a bright green fan-printed dress with turquoise trim.”Does this mean that you chose turquoise for the trim? I remember the blog pondering the possibilities, but don’t recall seeing the outcome.

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Erin August 21, 2008 at 12:40 pm

Ha! When this was written (a while back) I had put five inches of turquoise trim on the fan dress … but I didn’t like it, ripped it off, and chose a butter-yellow instead. I’ll try to post a pic next week.Still haven’t finished the dress, though, because I can’t figure out where to put the damn pockets!

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oracle August 21, 2008 at 1:02 pm

I love your essay. The writing, the content, the way you put it together! All of it.I once worked in a fairly conservative office where one guy always came impeccably dressed in a conformist suit that fit very well with a different brightly coloured tie and matching socks each and every day! It was wonderful.Maybe you better let us help you figure out the pockets, Erin!

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Cookie August 21, 2008 at 1:04 pm

WAIT A MINUTE! The woman in the illustration has circles of makeup on her cheeks, is wearing a myriad of [clown] colors, and when I open the article, it’s a publication called Jugglezine??? Is it safe for recovering former child clowns to read further?!?

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Lisa @ the Vintage Fashion Library August 21, 2008 at 1:12 pm

That seriously has to be the bes thing I’ve read recently.

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Meg August 21, 2008 at 1:23 pm

Fabulous article! I enjoyed reading it and emailed it along to several friends.

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Anonymous August 21, 2008 at 2:04 pm

Love your writing style! Such a gentle humor, but such a good prod to the reader, as well.I absolutely live your idea of differentiation. My field is mostly men. So I wear a skirt everyday. I am lucky also: I have pewter colored shoulder length hair and I’m quite tall. No one forgets my name either.Thanks for the good read!-Shaun

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Anna August 21, 2008 at 2:17 pm

Thank you Erin for this article!I’m soon finishing my education and am allready dreading the day I have to change to suits and blouses, skip my colourful jewellery and skirts with bold prints, stop dying my hair red and take out my nose ring. All this just to look decent for a job. But perhaps it’s not all necessary?!

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Sara August 21, 2008 at 3:52 pm

Fantastic article! Although orange and polka-dots together are not my thing, I always try to incorporate something unique into an outfit. :)

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Help I need a user name! August 21, 2008 at 4:45 pm

I love this article. I love your blog, too, and have recently purchased a sewing machine because of it. I will probably do more crafting with it than clothes-sewing. I have experience sewing clothing, but not since the 4th grade when I was in 4-H (and made a quite stunning Little House on the Prairie-Style long dress). Keep up the fun stuff!P. S. I also love the Secret Lives of Dresses and think you should publish them in a book.

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frken lila August 21, 2008 at 4:53 pm

thank you so much for that essay – it was fun and easy to read, and there is so so much truth in it!!

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Sarah C August 21, 2008 at 5:27 pm

I loved reading your article. It reminds me a lot of my husband, a real estate agent, and how all the people in his office dress the same. To mix things up I started buying him crazy colored shoes. I shop at Nordstrom’s Rack where I can find very nice brands at great prices. He has red, many shades of blue, teal, orange, crayon green, etc… People remember him as the one with the colored shoes, and always wait to see which color he will wear next.

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Joni August 21, 2008 at 5:35 pm

I work as a chemist, and in my field the rate at which clothes are destroyed seems to be directly proportional to how well one likes them. So I have to save my favorite clothes (I am a diehard for printed cotton skirts) for the weekend. But my personal style touch is a pair of cat-eye glasses… they ALWAYS seem to make people smile. I had to smile when reading the article – I think we all knew EXACTLY which dress with giant yellow birds Erin was talking about!

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lucitebox August 21, 2008 at 6:01 pm

I knew the yellow bird dress, too, which is fabulous! Thanks, Erin. This was a great read. I have so much trouble with my personal style these days. I don’t seem to see ANYONE much. I’m working at home and my other job as a dog walker precludes me from wearing anything nice or special. I feel like a schlub. I get fairly dressed up even if I’m entertaining at home, but still…it would be fab to have reason to dress especially if you’re bucking the corporate vibe and doing your thing. Thanks for sharing this! I’m inspired.

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Cat August 21, 2008 at 6:03 pm

Erin,Loved the article, so beautifully expressed.I have been trying to do something like this in my work. I work the overnight shift as a Scientist in a Pathology Laboratory and am required to wear the most awful shapeless, hospital gown, tie up the back coverall so what you wear underneath is generally unimportant. But I really love getting dressed up a bit, so I try to wear smart jumper dresses (50′s style) or skirts, with crisp or colourful shirts, tights, cute shoes and makeup. It is in stark contrast to the generic jeans and t-shirt adopted by the majority of the staff. I am trying to make some more vintage inspired stuff (with pockets to hold the phone and keys) and expanding my look, but will try to keep the more tailored look.I do seem to be at a slight disadvantage, all the new staff know me but I don’t know them.

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Sarah August 22, 2008 at 6:05 am

The photo rule is perfect! I’m coming off a few years post-college as a broke office drone; I only bought things out of necessity and my wardrobe got really boring. Now I’m a broke freelancer, so even though I still can’t afford much, I don’t have to please anyone but myself. I’m going to keep your rule in mind as I slowly try to get the life back in my look.

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EmilyJ August 22, 2008 at 6:34 am

Brilliant essay Erin – and I agree wholeheartedly. I almost have the opposite problem at work; we have a completely casual environment, so it can be very easy to make no effort at all in the morning and turn up in varying jeans and jumper combos. I, however, try and wear as many interesting dress/skirt options as possible. I did find that at the outset people made a lot of ‘you look very dressed up’ type commments’, but they have stopped now, and the comments never outweighed how much better I felt about myself when wearing something I loved!

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Toby Wollin August 22, 2008 at 7:54 am

Erin – as someone who lived through “little floppy bow and big shouldered suit” hell, I realized that the whole John Morris ‘dress for success’ thing was a trap. It really purported that if women dressed like that, they really would succeed. Guess what – looking back – all it did was turn women into female versions of men and ultimately, in terms of levels of success, I really don’t think it made all that much difference(and to a certain extent made women even more invisible than we were already). So, my attitude is: If it’s not going to make a difference anyway, and you can’t really ‘win’ – then choosing things that you love, flatter you, and cover all the appropriate bits in a classy way is the way to go. (total digression here: Just got back from Edinburgh and found a great fabric store in St. Patrick’s Sq. – up from the bridge on the Royal Mile): Edinburgh Fabrics. Heavy on fancy brocades, chiffons, etc. etc. but they also have lovely wools, linens and cottons and the prices were, I thought, really good)

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libby August 22, 2008 at 9:50 am

HA! I can’t believe what a kick I got out of knowing the green fan-printed dress.Fun article. I have binders (by season…what? me anal?) of pictures from magazines. It makes me want to pull them out and see what still speaks to me….and, oh, the “Penultimate” is quite so. The best so far.

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Monkeygrrl August 22, 2008 at 11:16 am

Erin–Thanks for reinforcing individuality! Since I got my first office job 10 years ago, I’ve gradually been establishing a style. It’s so much fun to wear cowboy boots or my purple pants (although, not to the State Fair – a bit of a misstep) and just project me through my clothes. Inside, we all know who we are, it just takes guts sometimes to show it.

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Katherine August 22, 2008 at 1:34 pm

Erin, I just started reading the blog and can’t get enough! Finally someone who seems to like so many of the things I do! Great ads for great places, too. I loved the Jugglezine article and completely agree…except I have to reconcile my psycho adoration of eye-catching colors and styles with my deep fear of being noticed. Alas! But once I’ve worked through that one I’ll be completely on board! You rock–keep up the fabulous work!

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Chantelle August 22, 2008 at 2:28 pm

I work in the high-tech industry where almost everyone is male and the dress is ultra-casual. I’m on leave now, but when I was working I always wore a dress/skirt or nice slacks with great shoes. I figured that everyone was going to notice that I was female anyways. I loved every one of the pieces that I wore (especially the shoes).

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Amy B. August 22, 2008 at 4:12 pm

Great article! I’m a SAHM so I’ve got very little audience to brand myself for, but I am determined to wear better than sweats or T-shirts when I go out. I think I need to buy more red. ;)

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wundermary August 22, 2008 at 4:14 pm

Erin, I was rooting for pale pink or butter yellow, so I’m happy with your choice! I think you should put the pocket placement up to us readers, too. I’d love to see how it is coming along.”I made an interesting related discovery:Sheeple abhor individuality and/or change. “Lorwill, you are correct and you just have to consider the source. Surely you are attempting to look less like these sheeple and more like you. So, who cares about their opinion on your sources or ideas as they relate to your clothing? I doubt that those opinions have value to you, anyway.I wear scrubs at work, but I always show up in a top, skirt and decent shoes. People have long since stopped asking me what I am dressed up for. I find it really bizarre that a t-shirt, simple skirt and a pair of sandals or funky mary janes is “dressed up” in so many people’s minds. Who knows? Maybe my pedicure is intimidating.I remember when I was a kid, moms wouldn’t even go to the grocery store without wearing something “decent”. I am not sure where the idea that dressing slovenly somehow relates to being comfortable. I find a skirt much cooler and comfortable in the summer than shorts or sweats.

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lorrwill August 22, 2008 at 8:03 pm

Thanks wundermary!I am proud to be a member of the Orange Polka-Dot Brigade (Coalition? Consortium? Collective? Team? ???)

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lorrwill August 23, 2008 at 4:23 pm

Polka-Dot Posse?

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Theresa August 23, 2008 at 8:20 pm

I vote for Polka Dot Posse

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Jo August 24, 2008 at 10:01 am

Hey, Erin — someday, could you please talk a wee bit about how you handle those days where you really need to wear a suit? (I know you’ve mentioned them.) Do you do funky vintage suits, or standard suits with bright tops, or do you really have “blend in” suit days?

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Couture Carrie August 24, 2008 at 9:53 pm

Hey great article, illustration, blog… Love the whole thing!

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Couture Carrie August 24, 2008 at 9:54 pm

Hey great article, illustration, blog… Love the whole thing!

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The Slapdash Sewist August 28, 2008 at 12:43 pm

I am soooo with you on this one. I refuse to look like anyone other than myself. I am covered and my level of dress is appropriate (not too casual) but it is not the AnnTaylorBananaRepublic uniform all my peers seem so comfortable in.

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la couturier August 30, 2008 at 4:46 pm

love the illustration! great essay.please check out my blog, http://la-couturier.blogspot.com!

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frken lila August 31, 2008 at 4:50 pm

i did a feature about you and this essay in my blog today – with links to both your blog and the article, and i also used two pictures from your blog. i do hope that’s ok with you? if not, please let me know.thank you again for an inspiring article!

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