Monday, 14 January 2013

Many Options at All Price Points

When I looked at the date of my last post, I almost couldn't believe it. It has been a long time! I am now settled at the University and have put in my first week of five on a temporary contract. I have hardly had a chance to look at clothing as anything other than functional and professional. As far as what to bring for a 5 week professional stint, I just threw my "2010-11" wardrobe into a huge suitcase and am now hoping for the best. Many things are big on me but passable. Funny I don't seem to care. And I have done no retail therapy yet.

So now when I am too busy to do anything but plan for and prepare lessons, mark assignments and deal with university "housekeeping", do I practice what I preach when it comes to clothing?

Being slightly overwhelmed with work causes me not to pay attention to clothing; therefore for those who are always overwhelmed, I can't imagine when or why they would ever think about what they wear. Presently I believe it is important to dress professionally. I need to set an example for the students yet they, as pre-service teachers, are closer in age to the students they will be teaching than to me, their professor. Ultimately they are going to dress more like the high school students they teach than me and I expect that. So what are the features of the clothing I expect them to wear professionally?

A man can put on a tie, a white shirt and "dress" trousers and there he is, professionally dressed. It never has been that simple for women.

I do not expect 21 to 24 year olds to dress like 50 year olds therefore the choosing of professional dress is based on features more than specific pieces of clothing. Young women who are going to be secondary school teachers need to acknowledge that the following considerations are important:

Fit: If it's too tight, it will be provocative and uncomfortable.
Cleavage: what 14 to 16 year old male doesn't like to see cleavage? Why else would video games have Barbie Doll proportions on their feature characters and avatars?
Length: Of skirts particularly. Short skirts are uncomfortable and make one feel self-conscious in addition to all the other stresses involved in standing up in front of 20 plus high school students.
Style: Professional, yet a 20 something should not be wearing her mother's blazers.

In addition to those "professional" considerations, a beginning professional probably only has one thought: I can't afford professional clothing.

That statement made me remember a short clip with the designer of Joe Fresh on Diva on a Dime. Yes the grocery store clothing line has a designer. The recent opening, Spring 2012, of an international flagship store in New York and to have Joe Fresh on a national television show are both significant accomplishments for a grocery store brand from a Canadian food distributor.  Joe Fresh designer Joe Mimran said something that was quite profound for me and that was: women (and men - my addition) have more options than they ever have had at every price point.

Price options are a good thing! So that means that you can look professional at lower price points. Therefore it's the features of style, length, proportion, fit, and appropriateness that become criteria when shopping for professional clothing.

Joelle Aidan in Calgary who has an administrative position keeps her classic work wardrobe fashionable with designer basics; however she is not shy to admit that Joe Fresh plays a role in her closet choices. "I have primarily purchased tank tops, short and long sleeve t-shirts from Joe Fresh - for $8. you can't go wrong. The quality of the cotton is very good and quite thick. As well, the shirts are a longer length so there is no gap in the back if you are sitting when wearing jeans. 

At those prices, Joe Fresh offers incredible wear-ability and transition for the up and coming stylish young professional.