Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Evolution of Professional Fashion

     I am a self-proclaimed media chick. October 2013 will mark my 10 year anniversary of working in the fun-filled land of media planning.  I have spent the better part of a decade sitting in cubes, pods, and thankfully (but not ungraciously) now a window office debating the merits and falls of TV network ratings, target consumer psychographic qualifiers and decimal points of GRP levels on microscopic flowcharts. I have sat courtside at many a Knick game while making $30K a year, dined at five star locales in the trendiest of neighborhoods while internally arguing with myself if that $10 salad was really worth it. And all the while doing so, I have donned quite the vast range of ensembles to the office  (office read ad agency). While I of course recognize that my personal choices in work attire have evolved from 2003 to present, the culturally (versus personally) relevant tidbit of note here is the broader evolution of fashion in the professional setting.
     Okay so yes, I work in media, clearly not finance, not law, and not education. Having said that, I do still consider myself a consummate professional (as unbiased as I can be of course) in my daily ins and outs. Sure, sometimes I sit at my desk rewriting the same "concise while thorough" bullet point for 2 hours but I do also manage, like, a lot of money in ad placements. I'm important ya know? But I digress. So yeah, media is,  I guess, slightly less staid than other professions but not totally.
    Today I had a client meeting. These weren't just, you know, unimportant "I call myself 'the client' but really I don't make any important decisions" clients -- I mean these were mucky mucks, the decision makers. Ten years ago, I probably would have picked out my outfit for such a momentous event the evening prior, no doubt choosing my Rosh Hashana temple outfit, tights and heels for the occasion. Mmm yeah, so not so much what occurred this morning an hour prior to my meeting. Now misread me not, the importance  I place on my career is twentyfold what it was a decade ago, however the fashion choices I make have drastically evolved since then. Allow me to elaborate.
     It's 7:30 am, my very-important-cross-town meeting is slated to commence at 9:00 am sharp, my hair is dripping after my 3 mile in-the-dark run, and I am nowhere close to being dressed. Skirts and tights are nowhere in my realm of mentality...and not because that genre of outfit would take too much effort to sport. Quite the opposite my media friends. The instinctive thought that goes through my mind is "shit, where are my 'fanciest' jeans"? At the risk of sounding arrogant, I happen to enjoy the way I come across in jeans and a blazer but this is really not my intended point. Forty, thirty, even twenty years ago, the simple notion of donning "even your fanciest jeans" to a client meeting was not was out of the realm of reality.  A client meeting warranted a monochromatic business suit (and as a woman, a skirt-oriented business suit at that). But moving on, I did manage to find my fancy jeans, one of my most prized blazers, and a cute cami on time to bolt out the door and waltz in early at 8:55am, beating the majority of my clients to the meeting. "Oh Rachel, what a great outfit!" "You look so professional today!" Smiling to myself, I said thank you to these compliments, took my seat and put on my business/media hat for the day. 
    Everything, importantly fashion choices in both business and pleasure, evolves over time. And fortunately so. I cannot imagine being forced to wear skirt suits day in and day out and my collection of jeans is one of my most prized entities. I am a lucky lady -- I work in a job I enjoy in clothes I love to wear. This post is simply intended to convey my intrigue at how time can morph cultural standards. I wouldn't give up media for anything yesterday or today...or my professional jeans.

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