What Does Your Wardrobe Say About You?

I’ve thought for a few days about sharing this little development, or not, on the blog. However, the development ties in conveniently with another of those ‘articles I found in the newspaper and wanted to comment on’ situations. Rest assured, if you are on the edge of panic anticipating another major gender lesson…well…try not to run away in terror. There likely will be some talk on this subject, because – yes, but maybe I can keep it in check.

On the same day the Dear Abby question surfaced, there was also an article in the business section of the paper called “The Right Look For The Job.” No issue there, but what caught my eye was the sub-heading:

“Older job candidates should give their wardrobe a fresh update before the interview”

I thought for a moment, and wondered if the author was suggesting that we older individuals aren’t very trendy, or perhaps that we live in wrinkled, torn, haphazardly tossed together outfits. I was even less impressed as I began to read the article itself.

“You don’t have to wear a Fred Flintstone frock to a job interview to come across as ancient, behind the times and technologically out of vogue.”

The put-downs continued, but I quickly realized (you’d think the distinguished older gentleman pictured would have clued me in) that the article was mostly geared toward men and the wearing of appropriate suits. It wasn’t until I glanced at the last few paragraphs and saw that women were mentioned in relation to the “complicated and controversial” issue of panty hose, and how they can date you, that my interest was renewed. I read on, taking careful note of the advice that I should not wear boxy blazers or a baggy blouse to “try to disguise the belly weight that tends to come with middle age.” Finally, I was admonished to try not to dress too young in a vain attempt to look “youthful.”

“Perhaps women need to worry more than men about the age-appropriateness of their attire…”

…because as a 56-year-old woman interviewing for a substantial higher level position, I am going to be sure to pull out my cut-off jeans and halter top from 1978 and wear that to the interview. I am so impressed when sexism and ageism is combined to put me in my place.

At the time that I read this article I just as quickly dismissed it, almost as quickly as I was dismissing the fashion stylists who are quoted above.

However, just a few days ago, my wardrobe came to mind. You know that I watch the granddaughters. Some days I wear athletic style yoga pants and a t-shirt, other days my normal jeans. I spend my days going up and down stairs, doing messy art projects, rolling on the floor, crawling under the bed, cooking with a 3 1/2-year-old, and now with the addition of Miss C, wiping baby puke and increasingly copious amounts of spittle off of my shoulder, lap and sometimes even my shoe.

I have also been thinking a lot about the fact that, in the future, as these girls get older, and my role with them is less and less, I may need/want to look for a job. In light of my marital issues, those thoughts have been turning even more toward the category of necessity. As I have not worked in over three years, I’ve been exploring some options for paid part-time work so that, if needed, I will have at least one current job to list on a resume.

You may remember, about the time that Miss G was born, that I was working for a company that provided hearing screenings for newborn babies prior to discharge from the hospital. On occasion, over these many years, I have checked the listings for this same position. It is always listed, likely because it is ONLY part-time, the wages are not livable for a single person, and there are definitely no benefits involved. I always enjoyed the work but left due to the drive-versus gas money-versus little pay-dilemma. Honestly, I really sort of regretted my decision as soon as I resigned.

Recently a spur of the moment decision to check the job listing again led me to find the position still posted at the original hospital site, but now also posted for the hospital that is literally 2 minutes from my home.

I touched up my resume and applied. I specified that any weekend shift would be fine, with the ability to fill in on some weekday shifts if needed. After I hit submit, I realized just how much I have needed to pursue this path. I need to have the opportunity to speak with adults in between the days that I converse in preschool speak and baby talk. I need to have my own income, even if I couldn’t live on it. I need to have a place to be on these long weekends when I would rather be anywhere but here. I need to plan ahead for the real possibility that I may need some of that sexist wardrobe advice if working truly does become a necessity in the future.

I need to see if, and where, this might take me. I know the job. It was fun, allowed for independent work and educational interaction, both of which I love. So, we’ll see what happens and I’ll let you know. In the mean time I don’t plan to rush out and buy any inappropriate beige panty hose. Nor do I even own a boxy blazer or baggy blouse. My middle-aged belly will be evident under my semi-tailored shirt and black pants. And, even though technicians employed in this position wear traditional hospital scrubs, I will do everything that I can not to look ancient or out of vogue if I am asked to interview.

All quotes taken from the CareerBuilder section of The News Tribune dated January 17, 2016 and found within the this article: Klingensmith, D. “The Right Look For the Job”. CTW Features.

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