From the comments

On 9 to 5

10 years ago by

Thank you for your comments on yesterday’s post !!! It was so interesting reading them all, you guys rock !!! I loved how you shared your experience about your workplaces. Here are a few that made me laugh or rang a bell to me…

From Ella:

“I am a journalist and I’ve always loved clothes, even if I didn’t always have the budget to afford them. But I understood very fast that it was important for a career. So I carefully invested in my wardrobe: ‘Dress for the job you want.’ It always plays an important role for my promotions and the different editors-in-chief that I’ve have don’t hide it. My professionalism is there but my style is distinctive and for my employers it means: she will manage more, she can be the image of media on TV or conferences.
Even though I come from a modest background, elegance is a refinement that allows me to get into more elite circles.
To be chic is a politeness I have toward others and a way to protect myself. High heels, jacket, scarf, jewerly, it makes an impression and that’s good. Even when I am tired, those rituals keep me motivated. The more I am tired, the more I count on that: it works each time.
Two years ago, I had cancer and I lost my hair and was exhausted. But the wig and the clothes were there to protect me: fashion was super important to making me feel better, I took advantage of it to ask for Hermès scarves! And, to celebrate the end of the chemo, I bought myself super high Prada heels! I’ll never change!
A thousand kisses!!! “


From Matilda:

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” – Mark Twain.


From Gabrielle:

“I almost never had this problem, except when I worked in Australia, there doctors don’t wear a white coat, the men go to work in a suit and the woman have to be dressed either in a deux pieces or chic pants with a nice shirt.
Well I didn’t have any of those at that time. But the fact, that I was dressed like the nurses (something like “jeans, t shirt, converse”) did actually help me, because the patients more than once said to me, that they would rather talk to me than to “the doctor” (my superior in a suit). Of course this might have been different on a other ward, I used to work on a psychiatric ward then.
But this story shows how much clothes make an impact. The fact that I was wearing clothes that were not screaming “doctor” made the patients have more faith in me, even though they knew that I actually am a doctor, but they would rather talk to someone wearing similar clothes to them, one patient even told me once: ” I don’t want to talk to the suit guy!”
So at the beginning my superior once told me to dress differently but after time he realized that my jeans, t shirt and converse did actually help getting in touch with the patients.”


From Valentine:

“At the same time I remember that tweet from Lauren Santo Domingo: “There are two types of girls: those that can make cheap clothes look expensive and those that make designer clothes look cheap… ” And it reassures me. Or not.”


Add yours
  • so true!

    check out my giveaway!

  • Excellent comments. Valentina’s, in particular, made me laugh :)

  • I meant Valentine’s (with an “E” at the end… I’m traumatised by people who cannot spell/pronounce my name. I cannot do the same to others!)

  • Merci Valentine de faire part de la citation de Lauren Santo Domingo. MERCI MERCI.
    Merci Garance de la mettre en lumière.
    Ça me rassure car je rentre dans la catégorie vêtements cheap et parce que c’est une situation que je vis au quotidien, je ne prétends pas être chic mais une de mes collègues dépense 10 fois-20 fois mon budget et depuis 10 ans (il a augmenté dans le temps) que je la connais et je ne lui trouve toujours aucune distinction elle n’habite aucun vêtement.
    A contrario je me souviens de ma “2ème maman”, mon chère modèle de “femme forte” qui elle débordait de chic avait commencé sa vie dénuée de tout et que j’avais vue à 50 ans avec des moyens généreux (pas luxe tout de même), revenir toute extasiée de sa pause déjeuner parce qu’elle avait trouvé un pantalon de tailleur en soldes chez leclerc “à 10€ avec la ceinture” !!! Et elle était toute heureuse de sa trouvaille et ébahie comme une enfant et pourtant… CHIC !
    J’avais une vingtaine d’années et c’est l’expérience mode la + marquante vécue à ce jour.
    De la lire parfaitement mise en mots me fait quelque chose.

  • C’est super intéressant comme sujet ! J’adore la citation de Valentine.

    Pour ma part, je suis avocate, donc je doit vendre des idées, mais ceci signifie aussi me vendre au passage. La première impression que je donne est cruciale et cette impression se fait avant même que je n’ait l’occasion d’ouvrir la bouche.

    Mais je ne pense que l’on ne doit pas nécessairement se ruiner avec des vêtements de marques de la tête aux pieds, tant que le look au final est intentionnel. La solution pour moi, la tendance du “high low”. Moi j’investis dans les accessoires qui me dureront pendant des années. J’ai un carre d’hermes que je recycle à toutes les sauces. Sur un pull tout simple de chez H&M, le résultat est tout sauf “cheap”

  • Love it !

  • Great quotes, love the one from Valentine

  • valentine is onto something! ^_*

  • The first story is amazing! Good on her!

  • ces réflexions sont vraiment très intéressantes.
    merci Garance de re-partager les commentaires de lectrices que l’on n’a pas forcément le temps de lire.
    j’aime bien cette nouveauté, ça fait genre on est toutes installées sur un canap’ et on papote.

  • Caroline October, 24 2012, 1:50 / Reply

    Great post, as usual.
    (Just wanted to say: I always read you in French, and this time, as I am a translator, I went to the English version afterwards, as I was dying to know how “la counasse!” had been translated. Rhoooo, on ne l’a pas traduit!!!)

  • Ella is so right!
    ‘Dress for the job you want’!
    Best advice ever!


  • Gwendoline October, 24 2012, 3:35 / Reply

    J’adore le dernier commentaire! Il est tellement vrai!

    C’est toujours ce que je dis à mon entourage, en prenant soin de ces vêtements, et en faisant très attention à chaque détail, un vêtement à tout de suite l’air plus cher! Mais à force de négliger nos vêtements et en les portant d’une manière négligé, ils ont tout de suite l’air bon marché. Mais bon c’est parfois l’effet recherché pour justement paraître cool! Mais on revient au début ces personnes auront fait attention aux détails!

  • Barack Obama recently said in an interview that he only wears blue suits and grey suits. Vanessa Friedman of the FT pointed out how interesting that statement was. He didn’t say… “I don’t care about what I wear to work”. He said, “It is important. I have thought about it. And here’s what I thought…” It really struck me because it fully encapsulates how I feel about fashion. I want to be thoughtful about what I wear but I don’t want to be thinking about what I’m wearing all the time. I bet most of Garance’s readers feel this way.

  • Garance- These comments are so great!!! It’s so interesting to hear what thoughtful women have to say about the clothes they wear. I love how you inspire your readers to comment so thoroughly and thoughtfully. You ROCK, Garance, and so do your devoted readers!!!

  • When I finished school, I really wanted to do something in the fashion industry but I wasn’t sure what exactly. After I spent a year taking courses and doing some internships, I decided it wasn’t for me. Mostly because I felt under pressure to dress up more than I wanted to, and I would feel uncomfortable in everything I was wearing. It started to make me really resent the industry, and to hate being judged by my appearance. I decided to continue enjoying fashion as a hobby. I went on to study law, for many reasons, one being that I wanted to be respected for my academic ability and my intelligence not my clothes. Ironically, now that I am lawyer, I dress for work in clothes that are much more uncomfortable than those I wore for my year in fashion! Over the years I have been persuaded that there are few jobs where the way you present yourself and the clothes you wear are irrelevant.

  • Thanks for sharing those comments, Garance! It’s so nice and interesting to see also some other and different perspectives and points of view! x

  • There have been so many interesting comments to this piece (I’ve been intrigued to see how many scientists, medical professionals, academics, etc. that you have as readers…it’s hardly surprising, as perfectionism goes hand in hand with many of these occupations!). Being in my mid-40s and in a male-dominated field (international economics and statistics), and having always loved clothes, there are a couple of observations I’d like to add to the discussion. When I started my career (in diplomacy), I couldn’t afford quality clothes. I pieced together a nice wardrobe by shopping judiciously at consignment stores and vintage shops. I invested a great deal of time rather than money in my look, which I think is the important point. I think that one needs to look good to fit in at the upper levels of many fields, but that look can often be built through good curation rather than in buying pieces one truly cannot afford.

    As I advanced in my career, I went through a period in which I started to spend quite a bit more, buy designer pieces directly from the designer shops, etc. I stopped doing that, however, as I’ve found that unless one goes really really top end, these days many designer goods are not as well-made as they used to be (having been farmed out to low-wage countries, and so really not much different from Zara in some respects). I also started to feel guilty about spending my money in that way. Yes, I can afford it, but it felt wrong to spend so much money on new clothes when so many people in the world have so little. I’ve gone back to looking in consignment shops, buying some vintage, picking up well-made shoes when I visit Italy – not from the big names but from relatively no-name shops and artisans who produce quality goods at modest prices. I don’t want to sound high and mighty in this, but I do think that apart from in a few clearly brand-oriented fields, a person can look very very good and sufficiently elegant with a carefully curated and relatively low-cost look. It’s also in my experience more fun/creative to do this.

    The final point that I want to make, and I think it is an important one for younger women who have not yet entered the workforce, is that clothes are great but ultimately you have to have 100% confidence in your own skills and intelligence. I’ve seen quite a few cases of younger women coming through my offices who, even though they were quite intelligent, seemed to use looking fashionable as a bit of a “cover” for insecurity with respect to their capabilities. (By contrast I honestly don’t think I have ever seen a man do this…) If you believe 100% in your intelligence and skills, you can play with fashion but not become a slave to it in order to build your career. In a lot of the comments, I’ve seen too much of an emphasis on the idea that to get to the top one has to be dressed to the nines. If that were true, then none of the recent female prime ministers of various G-20 countries would have (had) their jobs. :) And certainly in many international financial institutions and bureaucracies I have seen many a very frumpy but extremely intelligent woman rise to the top. Ultimately, and I’ve seen this again and again, high intelligence and competence and moderate style will always win out over high fashion and modest intelligence and dedication, at least in most of the high-skill professions I’ve observed. An expensive suit may inspire confidence among some, but ultimately it can’t manage the multi-billion (insert currency) budget, or solve that seemingly impossible medical puzzle. The human that can actually perform is the one who ultimately gets picked to do that (well, let’s exclude Italy from this discussion…:)).

  • je pense qu’il y a une question d’attitude dans les vêtements (ou en général) qui fait qu’on dégage quelque chose ou pas, c’est un peu plus complexe que cheop or expensive à mon goût.
    Si ça te tente, des vernis à gagner sur mon blog, bises

  • Le premier commentaire est tres touchant.
    J’ai fait une ecole de mode, a cette epoque je m’habillais constament en robe, depensais des fortunes en Michel Perry, Zannoti, Hardy etc, toujours en robe et en talons.
    Depuis, j’ai l’aisse un peu le milieu de la mode de cote, ne me sentant pas l’ame de passer des heures a m´habiller ou depenser des fortunes en shopping, je suis devenue plus “jean noir et t-shirt blanc” (simple mais efficace), puis j’ai change de carriere et j’ai commence a travailler en cuisine : uniforme, mains sales, pas de vernie, pas de bijoux, et les gens qui ne te vois qu’avec ce “non style”. A ce moment j’ai realise que je voulais me remettre en selle, remettre des talons, des bijoux, bref, faire attention a moi, et surtout couper avec cette image forte que je dois donner au travail. Si je parais apprettee, je sens qu’on ne me prendra pas au serieux, d’un autre cote, je ne me mettrai jamais en tailleur pour aller a la banque. Les vetements ne sont pas une raison au serieux pour moi.

    ps : desole pour la chasse aux accent, clavier anglais oblige !!

  • OMG!! Please, please, please let me be the one that can make cheap clothes look expensive!!!!

  • Le commentaire de Valentine est très vrai! Certaines personnes ont la chance de posséder des affaires luxueuses et de très mal les porter tandis que d’autres savent tourner n’importe quelle pièce avec une élégance folle. Quand je m’habille, je pense “Audrey Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn”: une petite robe noire, un panta-court et un tee-shirt…Tout avait une classe folle sur elle! Et en revenant à la problématique “marques cheap” du post original, je ne suis pas tout à fait d’accord avec toi, garance. Je trouve qu’il n’y a rien de plus jouissif que de pouvoir répondre “Zara, H&M…” et surprendre notre interlocuteur quand on nous demande d’où vient une des pièces que l’on porte. Y’ a un petit côté “Et ouais, je n’ai pas eu besoin de dépenser une blinde pour avoir la classe!”. Sinon, je trouve le commentaire d’Ella très touchant: ma mère a aussi eu un cancer et j’ai observé à quel point il lui était important de garder le contrôle sur sa féminité malgré tout! Baisers

  • And adding on to the discussion, what is most important is that you bring your personality to it! No point in copying someone else’s look, after all style is about having confidence :D I suspect that’s probably what the key difference between a girl who can look good in cheap clothing versus a girl who looks bad in expensive clothing,
    (That and a good eye for cut and colour as well :P)

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