Clothes for the Career Gal

Isla FisherThis week’s Your Looks feature, “From Work to Working It,” which covers versatile outfits that can easily transition from work to play, got me thinking about office-appropriate outfits. I must admit that this topic doesn’t often occupy my brain, since, as a full-time freelancer working from home, my big dilemma of the day is whether or not I should change out of my pajamas.

I freely admit that striped pajama bottoms go against the norm for work attire. But after checking out some of the bizarre outfits Hollywood has its leading ladies wearing as they swan around their imaginary office sets (usually located in Manhattan), I feel like I’m actually playing it safe.

Take “Cashmere Mafia,” in which Lucy Liu plays a magazine publisher who runs her media empire in opulent metallic blouses, fur coats, and strange little arm bands, showing up to play golf with big clients in a you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me ensemble of plaid blazer, cap, baggy shorts, and socks pulled over the knee. Where did she go to business school – The University of Elton John?

Then there’s the upcoming “Confessions of a Shopaholic.” Isla Fisher plays a young, single financial journalist with a little shopping problem. The shopping problem, as this photo shows, is her unfortunate knack for dressing for work looking like the tents at Bryant Park exploded all over her.

Now, I’ve worked and lived as a writer in Manhattan, and I can tell you that, while the pressure to dress in top-label frocks is intense at the fashion mags (anyone seen “The Devil Wears Prada”?), no single woman in her right mind would show up to the office wearing an unprofessional smorgasbord of flashy trends.

I wonder when Hollywood will start realizing that real young single women aren’t as fashionably flaky as they appear on screen; we can dress just as professionally and elegantly as the next girl (or guy).

It almost makes me long for the days of Calista Flockhart and Heather Locklear’s itsy-bitsy skirt suits.

-Erin Donnelly, Your Looks Editor