“But What Is She Wearing?” (Woman Problems)

Men and your suits.

One wouldn’t know you from the other save the ties. And unless you’re a Fortune 500 executive, mobster, politician and black guy, you don’t know how to properly rock a suit anyway. Do you even own a pair of Stacey Adams?

But it doesn’t matter. Because you’re a man. A suit is your version of a habit, a robe, a pair of Bermuda shorts. It’s just what you wear.

As I plan my first big trip to the East coast I remain perplexed about many things:

Will I have enough money?

Will I have a place to stay?

Will I be able to meet all the people I’d like to meet and all the people who’d like to meet me?

What the fuck am I going to wear?

More after the jump

The last, of course, is the most important. Not that I won’t need to be brushed up on my facts on international relations, economics, American history, black studies, various law and theory and government. Not that I be charming and funny and interesting. No. WHAT AM I WEARING?

In my mind I can see countless women all over America, the world, starring at blouses and cardigans. Women more accomplished than me with degrees out the ying yang and careers and businesses and inventions and discoveries and they’re all staring into the abyss of their closet, contemplating a trip to Ann Taylor because they can’t wear the green dress AGAIN. What will people say?

Women, no matter what they do, get reduced to the sum of their parts. She can’t just be dumb or smart or inflammatory or controversial. No, Chris Matthews has to ask poor Tucker Carlson if he thinks Ann Coulter is “hot.” Just because she parades her legs like they’re the crowning achievement of her lithe anatomy, doesn’t mean it’s appropriate to discuss her rumored sex appeal..

What do her looks have to do with her being so damn hateful?

I think Center-Right pundit Amy Holmes is beautiful, but I don’t agree with her on anything. I’m interested in what comes from her brain to her mouth and out into the atmosphere, not her measurements or the brand label on her shirt collar.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love clothes. I love beauty and fashion. I’m excited about shopping for new items and I’m excited for an excuse to inject some new blood in the closet. To wear heels. To do my make up. To twirl the hair. To be a big, giant girl.

I just don’t think it’s fair that the so-called “fairer” sex has to blow hours upon hours on maintenance if the other team is “wash and wear.” I’m proposing that men get judged on both their brains and beauty, just like women.

Oh, to hear people poo-poo the bulldog mug of Dick Morris or compare James Carville to the beast from Alien … or a lizard person. To see Bill O’Reilly fly into a fit of pique and insecurity and pull a Greta Van Susteren and have extensive plastic surgery out of a mixture of fear and our county’s obsession with ever younger girls and women.

Of course, I don’t actually wish for this brand of schadenfruede (which is already happening with the advent of more and more teen boys wanting to look like cut-up matinee idols, athletes and sexualized male models). Ideally, men and women could BOTH have “uniforms” to wear to work that either desexualized them OR allowed both to reflect more personality. (Maybe the white guy WANTS to wear the lime green suit and not get stares. If LeRoi and ’em can do it.) It would be wonderful to focus on the task at hand and not fret over whether or not your lace tights are too racy for the office even if the skirt comes mid shin and if skorts should be banned.

Men and women could both be judged for their actions. Men and women could both be encouraged to dress with colorful individuality (I know this would make some brothers happy). Unattractive women would be treated no differently than unattractive men. Other than the occasional “old fart” joke, they would just be another respected, loved or feared doyen, like their decaying male counterparts.

But until then, I need to build an outfit around this blouse using a combination of recession cash flow and “Hustlenomics.”

Wish me luck (and see you at Harvard, New York City and Washington, D.C.) in a little less than a week!

13 thoughts on ““But What Is She Wearing?” (Woman Problems)

  1. 1. You can stay with me- I live in Newark (20-40 minutes to Manhattan via the PATH Train) and I have an extra bedroom.2. Weather is changeable this time of year in the Northeast. Today it’s going to be 62. Yesterday it was in the low 40s. A few days before that it was pneumonia weather- damp, cold and rainy. Bring an umbrella and a warm coat- a scarf is also a good idea. Use this s an excuse to wear hats and cute light sweaters and adorable stockings/tights.3. Bring a camera, most def. 4. The East Coast is more conservative in dress than is the West Coast, so if you plan to go out to dinner, dress up a little bit. We tend to wear darker colors here too, so lots of black is fine if you have it.4. If you want to shop, hit Century 21 in Manhattan. They have great handbags and shoes.

  2. As for the blouse- do you have a navy blue bag and shoes? Because that would so work. Or red ones, and navy stockings. H&M has to have something- check out their website. And hit a vintage store or Salvation Army store for a vintage bag and maybe jewelry for the boho writer look.

  3. church suits – no bueno. and you can’t tell me otherwise. if you wore that crap into a business setting, you’d get laughed out of the board room.

  4. I can’t take heat so I keep it simple with cargo shorts, Hawaiian shirts and sandals all year-round, even in the middle of winter sometimes. I look like I’m on a perpetual vacation. If you do this, Danielle, you can’t go wrong. People will think how lucky you are to have just gotten back from Jamaica.

  5. I have no idea what youre traveling East for, but I hope you have a good trip! And, if youd like, Id love to meet up with you for coffee/food and a chat? Ive been reading your blog for what seems like forever, so Id love to meet the mind behind the magic. Pop on my blog blog and let a sista know!:)L

  6. If you were coming to Vegas, I’d say navy skirt and light yellow or red accessories. Or white skirt with navy accessories. But we’re a bit nutty out here (it’s the sun, it melts the brain).But seriously — I’m thinking boxy nearly-knee length navy cotton/linen skirt (kind of like this: http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=10899893), with killer navy faux patent leather kitten heals or "business" flats and purse/mini messenger bag with a structured belted jacket. That would be awesome.Also — I LOVE this dress. It would also go great with those Navy kitten heals and same jacket. http://www.nyandcompany.com/nyco/browse/product_detail_with_picker.jsp?productId=prod940086&parentId=cat60162&subcatId=cat720018and I have a friend who has this dress in three different colors (black, teal and orange!) and loves it for business travel (cheap and no ironing):http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=10801817

  7. With the blouse you could try red on the bottom, either in the form of a pencil skirt or a more full silhouette. (http://www.metrostyle.com/Product.aspx?PfId=169680&ProductTypeId=1&affiliate_id=017&affiliate_location_id=04&mr:referralID=e5f52e5e-2579-11de-bd57-000423bb4e79) For shoes you could go with a brown or gold low pump, something that you can walk in all day. Your bag and jewelry could also go along with the brown/gold color tones. Some other suggestions: (from stuff that I’ve worn). 1. A simple gray dress, black cardigan vest over the dress, black pumps, some jewelry that pops. Or, if you feel daring trade in the black pumps for some yellow ones for a dash of color, but keep everything else neutral.2. You could also go with the classic black-pencil-skirt, black pumps, and white shirt combo. You can’t go wrong with that. :] 3. Navy dress, a coordinating green cardigan or blazer, (coordinating meaning that the two shades jive together), and neutral pumps, like a tan or brown. 4. Or just a nice fitting, professional -but- still -stylish black dress with red pumps. 5. Gray pinstripe slacks, black pumps, teal blazerAnd for cheap hit the thrift shops, walmart, T.J. Maxx/ Marshalls/ Ross, k-mart, old navy, kohl’s, H&M, target… definitely target. (Being on the West coast I might have different stores but you get my drift) Get any and every store because you never know when you might find a gem.This post is getting long but I just wanted to offer some advice. Hope it helps, and good luck! 😀

  8. so funny Danielle! and so true. people wear anything in nyc- so no worries!i say black leggings with a fun dress, scarf and boots is always fun.have a fabulous trip!

  9. Good Luck and travel safe.. you’ll do great ;).. oh yeah and layering works well in DC because Spring weather can be either really beautiful or hateful..Dc is chic (yet not nearly as unique and chic as NYC– ) yet conservative… definitely a blue/black/brown Ann Taylor sorta town..

  10. I acknowledge that by saying this I identify myself as old, but Chico’s has a line of travel clothes that are a non wrinkle jersey. Unstructured jackets, skirts in different shapes and tanks in many colors. I buy the black jacket and skirt, brighten it up with a tank and I’m good to go. A scarf and nice accessories change it up.

  11. @ khia213Aw! You’re an "old"! At least you didn’t say Talbots. Are they even still in business?

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