Two Points – Internship Dressing and Minimalism

So how do you dress for a job?….or an internship?  When you’re used to wearing jeans and tee for daily classes and suddenly you have an internship or a possible job interview or even a job.  How do you dress?  It’s a good question for anyone who reached fashion awareness less than 20 years ago.  That means anyone over 30 years old hasn’t seen any sort of polished, finished, coordinated and especially pretty (for females) handsome (for men) look.  That’s why these questions are needing answers.

In my local paper is a good article on this.

Here is their example, which is pretty good considering we have come from this…..

This is the standard for what has passed for fashion for the last 20 years and it’s no wonder that the question should be asked and answered, with the above as the model for “fashion”!

That said, we are entering a time of more beauty and sanity in fashion.  Things are turning pretty, and that means office wear.  For anyone who studies art and art trends, they are almost always the herald of movements to come.  For example, it was the Romantic painters, writers, and musicians who brought us the sense of individualism that led to a feeling of nationalism…..this in turn in history led to many revolutions such as the French Revolution and much later the Russian Revolution.  The point here is that art precedes what happens in history, and as art did with the Grunge movement, it is again doing with the movement away from Grunge.  We may not know the name of it yet, but it’s here and we’re at the start of it.  This article on dressing for work proves it.

And so art looking to forewarn us of what’s to come, we can also look to art on how to dress.  A great place is TV shows and none better than Suits.

And this covers the whole gambit from boss lady, head gunslinger, junior gunslinger, wannabe runner, brilliant ingenue (who knows more than almost everyone except) and the executive assistant.  Notice how everyone is dressed up – no jeans, no tees, no casual wear, no flip-flops, no hoodies…..only suits and dresses.  Take note – this is what’s coming.

And if you’re thinking – gee, I can’t wear that stuff because 1.) I don’t have a figure like that, 2.) I’m not any of those people, 3.) I’m retired and it doesn’t pertain to me and 4.) I’m a SAHM and I have no use for these clothes.  Forget that.  It matters.  Don’t think simply because you think it doesn’t matter or doesn’t pertain to you (that’s old fashioned thinking) you shouldn’t be aware of what’s coming.  Be aware… VERY aware.  It will permeate all facets of life.

That means no more warm-ups in the carpool line.

That means no more slouching around the house in pj’s cause you’re retired.

That means even if you work at home, it’s time to stop and get dressed, and even if you work for one of those forward-thinking casual IT companies, you shouldn’t make an effort.  As a matter of fact, if you do work there and make the effort, you’re going to be shocked at how much legitimacy making at effort at dressing well will make for you and your career.


OK – Changing gears a little with another article in today’s paper…..Minimalism.

I have a real problem with this word – like Grunge (which very much adequately described the fashion movement) movement – that ugly was the new beautiful.  No ugly is ugly and beautiful is beautiful.  Renaming ugly to make it beautiful is ridiculous.  The same is true of minimalism.  Let’s face it –  less is not more.  Less has never been more.  It’s like ugly is not beautiful.  And in my mind, we all want more and to be beautiful.  But here’s the difference that minimalists fail to make and this is my big beef.  Edited is different from minimalist.  Minimalist means that you have the very minimum you can live with.  That sounds a little like a bunker mode.  I’m not in bunker mode and I choose what I want which is not bunker mode.  However, I do highly edit what I want.  And clothes have to earn their way into my closet.  I may have the same amount of outfits that the minimalist does, but my closet is well-edited.  It’s highly discriminatory and very elitist because clothes must not only earn their way into the closet, they constantly have to earn their place in the closet or they are removed.

Minimalism sounds like some nihilistic philosophy, while well-edited sounds as though I’m in charge not some set of rules.  The rules that I make are the rules that my closet has to obey, not the rules that some austere, bare philosophy makes.

OK – glad I got those two subjects off my chest….comments, as always are welcomed!!!!


  1. Great point! I don’t mind the shirt, in the first picture, but I would never show up for an interview with my shirt untucked and no jacket. great outfit for everyday wear, but jacket required for the interview whether over a dress or pants and shirt.
    But then, I work in Accounting in a downtown corporate environment.

  2. One aspect of these photos that I find disturbing is that the men are clearly still in charge. If women want to be taken seriously, then they need to avoid these overly feminine – and sexy – looks. Even in the first photo, she looks like a student and he looks like the boss. Angela Merkel may not be a fashion icon, but she dresses to be taken seriously. I think women entering the workforce early on need to be aware of these aspects of sexualizing women at work.

    • And that is exactly where sewing takes over…..the individual is in charge, not some fashion icon. At the same time, my point, and maybe I didn’t make this clear, was that even with men (as opposed to the hoodie Zuckerburg, or jeans Jobs models), have to dress up as well. Jessica Pearson is the boss and wears the more couture look, whereas the other ladies have less “couture”.

      We sewists can dress more couture if we want. We sewists can dress more executive assistant if we want. We sewists can dress more ingenue if we want – although the qualifier on that is anyone over about 35 should be past the ingenue stage. The point is that dressing up is going to become more fashionable and the standard than the more dressed-down look. There may be dress-down Friday, but I believe that is going to be more dressed up than in the past.

      Sewing gives us the freedom to be who we want to be, not what is prescribed by what fashion we can afford or what’s available to us because of size, location, time or budget. If I were a working girl today, hands down I would be sewing my wardrobe!

  3. I remember a fight I had with my daughter as she was about to page at the state legislature. I bought her a respectfully lengthed dress and pantyhose. She fought me hard on both. People rightfully believe that they should be judged for their character, but then forget that how they dress is an outward reflection of that character.
    Its frustrating given that I have navigated a male dominated field for 20 years. I use my clothes like a uniform, I am ready for what comes because of my well fitted skirt and shirt that does not gape in the front. It helps to lend me confidence when my is waning. By the way, just as a military uniform with its medals and braids can do for a soldier.
    In the end, my daughter received compliments for her appearance from the program coordinator. I got to have that all too precious mom was right moment.

    • And I hope you reveled in that precious moment too. No matter what, clothes have always and will always be a reflection of us. We may not like it, but there it is. We can rail against it, but I like to use my energy for other things and go with the flow on this one!!! Besides, it always makes me feel better!!!

  4. beautiful post Claire. Believe it or not, How you look really does matter because you never get a second chance to make a first impression and You have five minutes to let people fall in love with you. I would really want to be the part of your newsletter list, tell me how should i do that?

    • Hannah – if you want to get the freebie weekly snippet, sign up on the box on the right of the blog post at the very right of the blog header. If you want to make a serious investment in your sewing, there’s nothing better than my monthly newsletter where you can sign up here. You get two months for free, so sign up for the Gold membership, that way you get to see the whole shebang for 2 months for free. At any time you can cancel. What I deal with in the newsletter are fashion fitting issues. This is not only fitting for you but how to fit yourself so that you are fashion forward, not a fashion victim! And lest you say that can’t be done, I’ve been doing it for 40 years for my clients of all sizes, shapes, and styles, so I know it can be done. Some months it’s seasonal, some months it’s fitting, some months it’s fashion, some months it’s all of that and some months it’s basic things that you really need to know. This month’s newsletter (and subject) has been my top lists for sewing which includes techniques, stores for notions, fabrics, ideas and the last mini-newsletter coming up this Tuesday (so sign up before then or you won’t get it), is about the bare-knuckle list of techniques that I recommend you practice to empower yourself to sew anything you want!

      I write these newsletters with the whole idea of what is vital for my subscribers to know so that you don’t have to go out searching through a gazillion useless YouTube videos (which are fine for entertainment, but for we pros, we know how many steps are missing, and how that sets the viewer up for failure which misses the point that the video is failing, not the sewists!) And I write the same way I sew and live my life – I buy nice (not the most expensive) furniture, cooking equipment as well as fabric, notions and sewing equipment. It lasts 10 often 20 times longer than the cheap stuff and I end up saving 50% to sometimes 500% on my clothes, kitchen equipment, furniture and of course my clothes which some garments I have had in my closet for 20 years and are still functional today. This is really the much more economical way to live.

      Now you can sign up for the weekly freebie alone. If you’re a Design U member, then you get the weekly freebie automatically. LMK if you have any more questions and I’m happy to answer them. Email me at

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