I grew up with fashion do’s and don’t’s. There were unbreakable rules about when you can wear white, patent leather and matching. Offices had strict dress codes. My first business suit was a very expensive maroon wool, paired with a silk peter pan-collared blouse, topped off with a wonderful bow. I wore it with dark hose and a sensible heeled pump. There was a lot of black, some pinstripes and many shoulder pads. Experimenting with fashion in the corporate world just wasn’t done—there were rules.
Fast forward to this century, I worked in a modern office with an open floor plan and work pods, and there were still rules: no open toed-shoes allowed, no visible shoulders and no dresses or skirts without hose.
Thankfully, those days are long gone for me. For one, I work at a fair trade fashion company; a workplace more conducive to color, experimentation and individuality.
Maybe more importantly, I dislike being told what to wear. I like to wear what I want and feel best in. I never rocked that peter pan collar. I feel fabulous in a cotton fit and flare dress with an open-toed wedge heel. I wear what I like and feel good wearing.
Though as a mother with two daughters, I have stubbornly held on to some simple common sense fashion rules. Let’s call them Rules for the Rule-breakers:
- Bras are important—wear one if you need to—and it needs to be a good one that is properly fitted to your size and shape.
- Breathing is also important—if you can’t belly laugh, your clothes are too tight.
- Heels are fun, but walking is essential—choose your heel height based on your pain tolerance, activity and duration, pack a pair for comfort if need be.
- Eventually you will sit—double check your skirt length while seated.
- Cleanliness matters—don’t over launder your clothes, but they should be clean and well cared for.
Have fun with fashion, buy new judiciously, seek out fair trade, re-style your favorite clothes. There are no rules about colors or shoulders or toes!
Author: Christine Goetz (Executive Member – FGI Chicago)
As a mom of 3 with a successful 30-year corporate career under her belt, Chris decided to embrace big change by channeling her driven and positive spirit into growing Mata Traders, a fair trade fashion brand. Her ‘carpe diem’ motto is what inspires her to enjoy life’s many challenges. Her favorite fashion is anything colorful and comfortable, now that her corporate wardrobe is been replaced by fun Mata dresses. Chris’ professional background is finance and operations, with a strong track record of delivering financial results, while strengthening organizations, engaging teams and developing leaders. She is a high-energy leader and entrepreneur, equally comfortable developing broad international growth strategies and leading day-to-day operations and supply chain.