Top 10 Posts of 2009

We’re still on an abbreviated posting schedule (don’t forget the holiday open thread!), but here are some of our top posts from 2009… after the jump!

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Poll: When Wearing a Collared Shirt and Blazer, Does the Collar Go Out or In?

We’ve been curious about this for a while — ever since we advised that a collared shirt should always stay IN if you’re wearing a suit, and numerous readers wrote to say that they had always been advised (by various career counselors) to wear their collars out. So we thought we’d take a poll.

collars in or out madonna-in-business-suit

For our $.02 — which purely comes from observation, as we have never heard a “rule” on it — a tucked-in collar looks better with a suit. More fashionable women tend to do it (Angelina, Madonna) when wearing a suit; and it gives them a neat, sharp look. It also puts the emphasis in the desired place, as our eyes are drawn to their face, not their clavicle or shoulders. We suppose it’s possible that there are greater rules here that we’re not aware of, for example dealing with fabric (cotton goes in, silk goes out) or the type of collar or lapel. Perhaps it’s a regional rule — e.g., in DC, collars go out with suits; in Hollywood, collars go in with suits. Either way, we thought we’d start a dialog…

Readers, what say you? Please comment, particularly if you choose #3…
shirt

Open Thread — Ponytails at the Office: Yea or Nay?

ponytails at the office2016 Update: Check out our latest discussion on whether ponytails count as professional hairstyles

Recently, we were watching the trailer for the new Sandra Bullock movie, The Proposal, and were struck by the fact that, yet again, Hollywood portrays a savvy business woman wearing a high ponytail.  Which brought up a few questions in our minds — are high ponytails appropriate?  What about low ponytails?  Sweet Hot Justice amusingly called it a “welfare-mother ponytail,” and we’ve heard of some girls who have a limit on the number of days a week they can wear a low ponytail at the office — yet another, curly-haired friend of ours said she felt it made her hair look neater than if she wore it loose and always wears a ponytail.  Similarly, some of our friends insist a low ponytail makes them look older and more professional, while other friends worry the ponytail makes them look younger.

For our $.02, our dislike of the high ponytail has always been more about comfort — the elastic always starts to make our head and our hair hurt after a while.  Also, that’s our general look when we work out, which makes it seem too… depressing, given that working, working out, and sleeping are the main things we do, with a few nights of “going out” thrown into the mix, as well.

ponytails-officeAs for the low ponytail, we have no problems with it.  It’s certainly our look of choice after the secretaries have left for the day and we’re settling in for a long night of work (that or a very messy bun) — but that said, as long as the ponytail is neat we see no reason why women can’t wear it as part of their working wardrobe.  Personally, both as a way to deal with layers and as a way to add some volume to the look, we’ve been a fan of what we’ve always thought of as a half-Gibson Girl ponytail, twisting the hair back around itself, as better explained in this YouTube video by xFLYNNIEx (end look pictured at right).  But then we worry that we’ve looked a bit like John Adams or something .  (We’ve worn it with the ponytail in the back, not to the side, as she does.)

What do you guys think?  Are ponytails acceptable? Should there be a limit on days, or on timing that you wear it?  Is there an age limit on certain styles, in one direction or the other?  Are there any comfortable elastics you use?  What about the side ponytail — they’re definitely coming back.  Is it inappropriate to be worn at an office where people inevitably have actual memories of the ’80s? (Should we run a poll on this? Let us know in comments.)

Reader Mail: How to Wear Stockings

how-to-wear-stockingsMore reader mail to catch up on… we thought this one was particularly relevant given some of yesterday’s questions in comments about when/how to wear nylons. Pictured: Calvin Klein Hosiery Perfectly Sheer Invisible Control Top Pantyhose, available at Amazon.com for $12.

First, while you’ve discussed whether or not to wear stockings, I could really use some advice on HOW to wear them once one decides that they’re appropriate. I rip stockings to shreds whenever I wear them, so I would really appreciate tips on finding a durable brand, as well as how to properly care for them.

We would agree with most of the commenters in yesterday’s post that stockings/nylons aren’t necessary for most day-to-day activities. If you’re interviewing? Nylons for you. If you’re going to court or to a big meeting? Ditto.

As for which brand, we got a ton of great suggestions when we ran a poll on whether black hose or nude hose was better (the readers overwhelmingly contradicted us, saying nude hose was the way to go); check those out in comments. [Read more…]

Reader Mail: Semi-Formal Attire

semi-formal-attireWe recently got this request in from a reader…

Hi. I have a question about semi-formal attire I was hoping you and/or your readers could answer. I have been invited to attend a law firm event (cocktails and dinner) in early April and the invitation says attire is semi-formal. I was hoping for your thoughts on what is and is not semi-formal and maybe two or three suggestions for dresses that would fit the bill. I am still in law school, so I’m looking for something I could wear to more than one occasion. I’m hoping to keep the price to around $100. Thanks!

Semi-formal: the bane of everyone’s existence. It isn’t formal, it isn’t cocktail, and no one knows what to wear. So… where does that leave you?

Our advice here is to go on the conservative side of cocktail. Your goal is Jackie Kennedy, not Marilyn Monroe (or, ahem, Romy and Michele). [Read more…]

What to Wear To . . . Work on the Weekend

In this feature, “What to Wear To…” we tackle attire for office events that are outside the confines of the 9-5 office day.

what to wear to work on weekendIt’s the Aughts, and Blackberries and the Internet mean most work can be done from home. Still, there are times when there’s just no way around it and you’ve got to go in. This presents a special challenge: you want to look cute, cool, hip — but you’ve also got to look professional. If the hours are long you’re going to want to be extremely comfortable. Odds are good the air conditioning will be at full blast, so you also want to be warm.

We’ve found a bunch of great jackets that have a structured look to them, yet they’re made of fleece, jersey, and other fun fabrics — they’re almost as comfortable as your old reliable sweats. With a nice (non-ripped) pair of jeans, and a cute pair of closed-toe shoes (or even nice sneakers), these can maintain your dignity, broadcast your cool, and protect your comfort.

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