The Civilized Minute

a minute of manners and musings

wardrobe wants

Like a lot of you, my role as a business etiquette consultant is just one of the many hats I wear. I’m a mom, a community volunteer, a school volunteer, a backyard basketball player, a professional grocery shopper, a vegetable washer, a wife, tired…you get the picture. One of the many challenges of wearing all these hats (and all at once) is wardrobe. It frustrates me to have to change clothes between appointments. When I get dressed in the morning, I want to be able to wear the same thing from my breakfast with the girls to my committee meeting to a doctor’s appointment.

And, here’s the thing. Us chicas-with-responsibilites need to look good. Everywhere and all the time. There is no need to be the very last person to pick your child up from school and look like something the cat drug in. And, don’t breeze in late to work wearing worn out pants and a shirt with a stain. If you look sloppy and unorganized, people will assume the same about your work. I know it’s hard to get everybody where they are supposed to be while putting on your makeup, blow drying your hair, preparing breakfast, and ironing someone else’s collars, but it’s important that you at least appear to be clean and tidy.

Have you guys heard of Boden? It’s a clothing company out of the UK. Their line includes everything from tshirts and sneakers to dresses for Sunday. Most everyone works in a Business Casual environment, so take a gander and imagine how good you would feel to saunter into a meeting with your boss wearing something like:

A dress with simple lines and good colors Add a pair of neutral pumps and you are set for the office; shed the heels and slip on a pair of neutral flats so you can be comfy during your after work errands.

A tunic over straight ankle length pants. This is an updated Audrey Hepburn look that is classic and classy. The secret to making this oversized shirt look neat (as opposed to a bathingsuit cover-up) is the fit. Make sure it’s long enough and it fits your shoulders properly. Be sure to wear this with big earrings.

Straight Leg Trousers with a simple top in a color that is perfect on you. Simple, clean and easy to put on. Having a “plain” pair of black pants you can wear on nearly any given day feels as good as having a babysitter always available. When I find a pair of black pants in a year-round fabric, I buy two. It’s difficult, but you have to make yourself pitch these when the black begins to fade. Also, if you find a pair that almost fits, consult a tailor. With a little tweaking, they might just work fine.

Boden products are little pricey for some, but here’s my testament: It’s quality stuff that won’t stretch so that you leave the office with knee humps in the legs of your pants and the hems are not going to fall out the day before you go out of town. You have more to deal with than your clothes falling apart.  

You don’t have to buy Boden clothes, but I do hope you’ll take a look around your closet and in your mirror. Look at yourself as other people see you. Do you look like the kind of woman that could compile presentation materials with a baby on her hip and her phone to her ear? If not, call up a girlfriend, put on your Spanx and go shopping.

Boden is a great option and I’m not even paid to say that.


2 responses to “wardrobe wants

  1. Semi-Slacker Mom January 20, 2011 at 9:54 am

    What if I’m the first one in the pick-up line & look like I have been cleaning house or on the internet all day? Kate, you are always so smartly dressed. And I do have my moments, don’t I?

  2. Deborah Pegues January 20, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Kate, I have shopped with Boden for years for myself and the children! Love thier clothes and styles. I agree with the least amount of effort and thought with the daily grind of incorporated “Mom” activities. On the top of my list when choosing clothes is comfort with style. I also love the kid’s fabrics too!

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