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How many clothing articles do you think make up a work wardrobe?


Quill
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11 hours ago, Quill said:

BTW, for anyone interested, there is a great free app called Stylebook which lets you create a digital closet with the clothes you own. You can create looks from your items; you can even use a shuffle feature which might lead to you discovering a way to combine separate items in a novel way. But I think the best feature of all is a calendar on which you can log the “look” you wore to such-and-such event. If I worked in a professional office, I would use this feature faithfully, to help avoid wearing the same thing with the same clients. Even in my current life, I use it for social events so I don’t keep turning up at Book Club wearing the same outfit. 

There are other fun features in it. You can log the price you paid for an article and then you will see what your cost-per-wear is. You can display it by worst cost per wear or best CPW. The darned dress and shoes I bought for a wedding keep steady as my worst CPW, lol. 

Haha, oh wow. I really need to use this!  

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11 hours ago, Quill said:

I do think this makes sense, but I still wouldn’t want to wear literally the same four tops over and over and over while working in a professional office. I have a feeling if the woman he commented on was dressing well overall but was wearing a similar look over and over, I don’t think that would have attracted his negative attention. I don’t think his issue was merely that she seems to be dressed with no variety. IOW, I have a feeling she is not smartly dressed but in a narrow variety of looks. 

 

But why?  Four tops is plenty to get washed over the course of the week.

I really think this is some weird sexist thing.  Men in the most prestigious jobs tend to wear the same thing all the time - if they are bankers, for example, they wear a blue suit, and a white or blue shirt, and black shoes.  Similarly for lawyers.  

Even in more casual jobs, you see men 90% of the time wearing slacks and polos, or like my husband, jeans and a t-shirt.  PLus of course men in more physical work will tend to wear pretty much the same thing.

The more I think about this, the more I think it is really weird for anyone to notice or think it is odd that this women would have four tops or the same "look" all the time.

I'd be asking your accountant if he would think it was odd if one of his male employees worse one suit all the time, and had four shirts and ties in rotation to go with it.

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13 hours ago, Arcadia said:

 

I have not heard that ditty before but my husband does stick to blue or grey for work attire. My friend who is a lawyer jokes that lawyers wear “penguin” attire (white and black). 

This reminds me - when I was in grad school and they had campus interviews, iirc law students wore blue suits and MBA students wore black.  I was in both schools (dual degree) so I wore some other color, I don't remember what.  I was not good at interviewing, so I don't know if my clothes were an issue or not.  😛  At the time I thought it was ridiculous.  But I was poor and didn't have the option of buying expensive clothes to create an image.  ...  I ended up in a job at a company owned by immigrants who apparently weren't schooled in the proper color of interview attire ....

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2 hours ago, Bluegoat said:

I really think this is some weird sexist thing.  Men in the most prestigious jobs tend to wear the same thing all the time - if they are bankers, for example, they wear a blue suit, and a white or blue shirt, and black shoes.  Similarly for lawyers. 

Not where I live.

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12 minutes ago, SKL said:

Not where I live.

 

Maybe not.  But I think in large parts of the west, if you look at bankers, they dress very conservatively, particularly the higher up you go.  Lawyers are more variable, but again, the more prestigious the law firm, the less variation, and if they are off to court there is even less of it.

No one is going to tell the head of a national bank, just to go right to the top of the heap, that wearing an identical suit, tie, shirt and shoes, everyday, it not appropriate.

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2 hours ago, Bluegoat said:

 

The more I think about this, the more I think it is really weird for anyone to notice or think it is odd that this women would have four tops or the same "look" all the time.

I'd be asking your accountant if he would think it was odd if one of his male employees worse one suit all the time, and had four shirts and ties in rotation to go with it.

I agree.  To me this is even more weird than a boss noting what his employee is wearing on one day.  He would have to be paying attention, daily, over several weeks, and counting.  I would not even be able to tell you the shirt DH or DS wore yesterday!  Much less if that was the same shirt they wore 5 days ago, 9 days ago, and 14 days ago!   

On top of that, the boss discusses (in what sounds like a disparaging way) his employee with a client.  That just doesn't sound like good business.

And, it isn't like accountants are known for being into high-fashion--they usually dress fairly conservatively and boring.  

 

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5 minutes ago, Bluegoat said:

 

Maybe not.  But I think in large parts of the west, if you look at bankers, they dress very conservatively, particularly the higher up you go.  Lawyers are more variable, but again, the more prestigious the law firm, the less variation, and if they are off to court there is even less of it.

No one is going to tell the head of a national bank, just to go right to the top of the heap, that wearing an identical suit, tie, shirt and shoes, everyday, it not appropriate.

I think you are assuming things.  Some people are wired to notice these things.  Other people are not.  People who do notice these things and may be bothered by them occur in all professions and levels. 

I know for a fact that men do counsel men on how to dress.  Especially "the higher you go up."  There is plenty of variation, although you might need to be in those circles to notice the differences.

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4 hours ago, Bluegoat said:

 

But why?  Four tops is plenty to get washed over the course of the week.

I really think this is some weird sexist thing.  Men in the most prestigious jobs tend to wear the same thing all the time - if they are bankers, for example, they wear a blue suit, and a white or blue shirt, and black shoes.  Similarly for lawyers.  

Even in more casual jobs, you see men 90% of the time wearing slacks and polos, or like my husband, jeans and a t-shirt.  PLus of course men in more physical work will tend to wear pretty much the same thing.

The more I think about this, the more I think it is really weird for anyone to notice or think it is odd that this women would have four tops or the same "look" all the time.

I'd be asking your accountant if he would think it was odd if one of his male employees worse one suit all the time, and had four shirts and ties in rotation to go with it.

I think four ladies’ tops turning up again and again week after week is a little weird in a professional office. I mean, I’ve gotta assume they are printed or colorful in some manner that makes it obvious it is the same four tops. I don’t think these things are equal: four tops; one purple with geometric gold shapes, one beige with a faint leapard print, one navy with little anchors printed on it, one solid fuschia vs. solid black shirt sometimes with a cardigan, sometimes a blazer, white blouse sometime with a scarf or blazer, navy top, sometimes worn with the same cardigan or blazer, sometimes not, and a beige top sometimes worn with the cardigan. I don’t think the mix and match of base pieces would garner as much notice. 

My dh wears the same looking clothes all of the time for work and even his weekend wear is very barely different. But he does not re-wear any work shirt twice in a week. It would be disgusting if he did because his clothes get dirty every single day and in the summer, they stink. 

I do think a man working in my accountant’s office would get the same comment if he wore the same shirt or tie twice in a week. Not suit, I’m sure, because suits are quite expensive and most starting employees don’t have more than two, if they even have two. But tops and ties can be had pretty cheaply. 

Just this past weekend, I went to a great consignment shop and bought six beutiful articles. Each was $5, except a shirt of an expensive brand with tags still on, for $15. One item is a black dress that would retail from $70-$110 easily. Anyway - all that just to say appropriate clothing can be had in a pinch. The consignment shop is also a charity that provides business attire to men and women who have been homeless or jobless. 

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53 minutes ago, Quill said:

 

My dh wears the same looking clothes all of the time for work and even his weekend wear is very barely different. But he does not re-wear any work shirt twice in a week. It would be disgusting if he did because his clothes get dirty every single day and in the summer, they stink. 

But, if they are washed and cleaned, why would it matter if he re-wears a shirt in 2 days, 4 days, or 3 weeks?  

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24 minutes ago, Junie said:

It is also possible that *he* didn't notice, but maybe other female employees did and talked to him about it.  It could be that he was asking Quill what she thought about it -- whether it was an actual problem or office gossip.

I can't imagine going to my boss and saying "Did you notice that Sally wears only 4 different tops?"--and then having my boss asking a client what he thought about it.  

If this young woman is truly wearing inappropriate clothing, hopefully someone who is thoughtful and caring can help her improve her professional image.  I know I have had to resort to telling college students who are going into a business setting "If I can tell the color of your underwear, you aren't dressed appropriately for the occasion."  They didn't understand when I told them their skirt was too short or that their see-through blouse with a tiger print bra was not appropriate.  If she is clueless, hopefully someone will mentor her rather than gossiping and talking about her back--and to clients about the situation.

If it is that the man is counting how often she wears an appropriate top, rather than focusing on her accounting skills, I hope she can find a new job soon.  There is a successful businessman in our town who has been known to fire people because he did not like their socks or because he has walked out to the parking lot and not liked the car they are driving.  Everyone knows he is like that (I know his children and they even have stories like this to tell).  I would not want to work for him.

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1 hour ago, Quill said:

 

My dh wears the same looking clothes all of the time for work and even his weekend wear is very barely different. But he does not re-wear any work shirt twice in a week. It would be disgusting if he did because his clothes get dirty every single day and in the summer, they stink. 

I do think a man working in my accountant’s office would get the same comment if he wore the same shirt or tie twice in a week. Not suit, I’m sure, because suits are quite expensive and most starting employees don’t have more than two, if they even have two. But tops and ties can be had pretty cheaply. 

Just this past weekend, I went to a great consignment shop and bought six beutiful articles. Each was $5, except a shirt of an expensive brand with tags still on, for $15. One item is a black dress that would retail from $70-$110 easily. Anyway - all that just to say appropriate clothing can be had in a pinch. The consignment shop is also a charity that provides business attire to men and women who have been homeless or jobless. 

 

A lot of this will depend on many factors:

your laundry cycle—if it were daily, 3 shirts would mean always one clean —if weekly then obviously not. 

the nature of the items...  the business area I was in,  was for men basically a gray suit (or black), white shirt (w/ button cuffs for entry level or  w/ French cuffs for middle levels up),  usually a very conservative tie — something a bit more showy on tie very, very rarely— attire environment for most of the men, except at the very top where a little more variety might be seen.  There was relatively little to notice so long as everything was clean and crisp pressed.  

This was some years back in NYC, and may be more casual now.  Certainly attire is more casual in PNW where I now am. 

Consignment shops, Good Will shops etc, are supposed to be in great shape for shoppers right now as many people are inspired by the Netflix Marie Kondo show and are thanking and parting with things , including never worn excess purchases! This isn’t necessarily always the way it is, (nor will it be so in all locations), but in many places this is an unusually great time for bargain shopping!  I’m glad you found some wonderful items!

 

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47 minutes ago, Bootsie said:

But, if they are washed and cleaned, why would it matter if he re-wears a shirt in 2 days, 4 days, or 3 weeks?  

Well, from *my* end, as the laundress, and also as the purchaser of company shirts, I would not want to have to wash his shirts every day or two, and it would wear them out faster. (And it is more expensive and less efficient to have just a few shirts printed rather than a larger order.) I would be not liking it all all if he only had a few work shirts because there would be no leeway for laundering. Even when we give new shirts to our employees, we give them no less than five shirts at a time on the assumption they need a fresh shirt daily and may not get to laundering until the weekend. 

I guess for *other* people, it doesn’t really matter. If the supply house guy sees him in a maroon shirt Monday and also on Wednesday, I doubt he thinks it is the same shirt. That would just be strange in a construction job; people know those clothes get dirty.   But tradesmen clothing operates on different “rules” anyway. 

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DH wears a polo shirt or dress shirt every day, and I'm pretty sure he only wears 5-6 of them on a regular basis.  Most weeks he probably wears a shirt on Thursday or Friday that he wore on Monday or Tuesday.  He has four sweaters for winter, but I have only seen two of them in the laundry so far this season.  I do laundry every day (other than towels and gross stuff, I don't sort), so whatever he wore two days ago is probably clean again, and I doubt he even knows what he puts on in the morning because its dark.

When I worked before kids, I had a job where I wore jeans, a t-shirt, and a hoodie with my employer's logo every single day.  And that's pretty much what I wear now.  All my clothes except socks/underwear hang on a single 2ft rod in my closet, so I would have to do a LOT of shopping in order to have a "professional" work wardrobe.

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5 hours ago, SKL said:

I think you are assuming things.  Some people are wired to notice these things.  Other people are not.  People who do notice these things and may be bothered by them occur in all professions and levels. 

I know for a fact that men do counsel men on how to dress.  Especially "the higher you go up."  There is plenty of variation, although you might need to be in those circles to notice the differences.

 

I'm not suggesting that their are not dress requirements for those jobs - on the contrary I think they typically have rather exacting ones.  I am suggesting they don't involve having a lot of different clothing items or "looks".

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I've worn the same pair of grey fine wool trousers twice a week for the last five years.  They are good trousers and have worn incredibly well.  I'm not in the least ashamed of this.  They are just starting to wear on the seams and I hope to replace them with something of equal quality.  I have more than four tops but there are four that I probably wear every fortnight at least once.  I have no interest in clothes, so having few of them reduces the stress.  It doesn't make me unprofessional  - I look put-together and unobtrusive.  I wear the same pair of silver earrings most days and never take off my white gold necklace.

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1 hour ago, Quill said:

Well, from *my* end, as the laundress, and also as the purchaser of company shirts, I would not want to have to wash his shirts every day or two, and it would wear them out faster. (And it is more expensive and less efficient to have just a few shirts printed rather than a larger order.) I would be not liking it all all if he only had a few work shirts because there would be no leeway for laundering. Even when we give new shirts to our employees, we give them no less than five shirts at a time on the assumption they need a fresh shirt daily and may not get to laundering until the weekend. 

I guess for *other* people, it doesn’t really matter. If the supply house guy sees him in a maroon shirt Monday and also on Wednesday, I doubt he thinks it is the same shirt. That would just be strange in a construction job; people know those clothes get dirty.   But tradesmen clothing operates on different “rules” anyway. 

In some instances, if you are purchasing items in bulk, or if you are doing wash only once a week, it makes since to have more shirts.  That doesn't make it disgusting to re-wear a shirt within the same week, if it is cleaned. A very nice, professional silk blouse may be hand-wash only.  I know professional women who handwash the blouse they wore that day every night and hang it to dry; they would not want to hand wash and dry a week's worth of blouses at once.  It really is no different to wear the same work shirt on Friday as you wore on Monday as it is to wear a shirt on Friday and wear it the next Thursday--they are not in the same calendar week, but they are within the same "five-day rotation' period.   

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I guess I need to go out this weekend and do some shopping!

I started a new job in October in a very professional, conservative office. Prior to that, I was a SAHM who wore mostly jeans, a white t-shirt, and a cardigan sweater. So basically, I had to buy an entire new wardrobe to wear to work. I bought 2 suits (grey and navy jacket, pants, skirt) and 7 tops, which I mix and match weekly. Sounds like I need to go buy 3-5 (or more) tops! 

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2 hours ago, PinkTulip said:

I guess I need to go out this weekend and do some shopping!

I started a new job in October in a very professional, conservative office. Prior to that, I was a SAHM who wore mostly jeans, a white t-shirt, and a cardigan sweater. So basically, I had to buy an entire new wardrobe to wear to work. I bought 2 suits (grey and navy jacket, pants, skirt) and 7 tops, which I mix and match weekly. Sounds like I need to go buy 3-5 (or more) tops! 

 

I think you may be just fine already!  How about 3 scarfs instead?

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Why does it matter if someone wears the same thing every day? Most employees should only be expected to be clean, tidy, and fit the expected dress code.

I work in an office 4 days a week, I wear the same pants (slacks) every day unless they get visibly dirty and I have 4 shirts I mostly wear. Plus spare pants and another few shirts I wear occasionally. Sometimes I don't even wash my shirts after every wear, I work in an air conditioned office so I don't get sweaty and if I don't spill anything on them they stay clean.

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17 hours ago, AurieD said:

Why does it matter if someone wears the same thing every day? Most employees should only be expected to be clean, tidy, and fit the expected dress code.

I work in an office 4 days a week, I wear the same pants (slacks) every day unless they get visibly dirty and I have 4 shirts I mostly wear. Plus spare pants and another few shirts I wear occasionally. Sometimes I don't even wash my shirts after every wear, I work in an air conditioned office so I don't get sweaty and if I don't spill anything on them they stay clean.

You don’t happen to work in a small accounting firm in Maryland, do you? 

 

Just kidding! 

I do think there’s an aspect that matters. In sociey, we are creatures that like to look at pretty stuff. Most of us do enjoy seeing something pleasing to the eye. If one works somewhere that doesn’t literally have a uniform, the people who work there or visit as clients will probably enjoy seeing variability in the outfits worn by the employees. 🤷🏻‍♀️I think it’s just something we enjoy...

I do notice clothing picks up odors from wearing, even if you aren’t getting them sweaty or coffee-stained. One of the tOps I just bought at the consignment shop smelled like chinese food. It wasn’t dirty, but I don’t think it had been washed, either. It smelled like food. Obviously this would be more true for a person who smokes cigarettes. It’s also true of people with pets (sometimes). I think it best not to go for tooooo many re-wears before cleaning, even if it doesn’t seem apparently dirty, mainly because of smells that permeate clothes. 

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I own three navy blue dresses with different hem lines, necklines, and sleeves. I wonder if people don’t notice they are different dresses. Hmm...  I wear a lot of blue. Hmm...  Luckily, i don’t think my boss cares. (Crap, what if he meets with parents and says, she knows her calculus, but she wears navy blue all the time?) 

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I don't know, I actually rather like clothes, but I really don't care if someone in an office wears the same thing every day.  If I had to choose, I'd keep the lady in the snazzy outfir that is always the same, but get something new for the guy who wears his polo and black walking shorts with black socks and oxfords in the summer.

I just don't see people telling Karl Lagerfeld or Michel Kors they should have been changing it up, and surely they are tuned in to fashion?

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15 minutes ago, Bluegoat said:

I don't know, I actually rather like clothes, but I really don't care if someone in an office wears the same thing every day.  If I had to choose, I'd keep the lady in the snazzy outfir that is always the same, but get something new for the guy who wears his polo and black walking shorts with black socks and oxfords in the summer.

I just don't see people telling Karl Lagerfeld or Michel Kors they should have been changing it up, and surely they are tuned in to fashion?

But who knows? They may have heard that a bunch of times before they had become successful. 

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1 hour ago, Quill said:

But who knows? They may have heard that a bunch of times before they had become successful. 

 

Well, maybe.  I'd have believed that Steve Jobs might have.  Michael Kors always looks sharp though, and it's very traditional for men to wear the same thing all the time.

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Pretty sure that Lagerfeld and Kors had more than four tops. I bet the real issue is the smoke smell. Sometimes smokers don't realize how much that smell permeates clothes, hair, purses, etc.

I think if you are tidy, clean and put together with basic solid colors, the occasional scarf or necklace, you can get away with 4-5 pants and 4-5 tops. But certainly, some people are going to notice. I have one girl who loves a uniform look and another who noticed if I wore the same shirt in a week when she was two. She has created a clothes sharing network of friends on her swim team and since they go to different schools it looks like she has hundreds of different outfits. That stuff is important to her. 

She is the person who notices when blacks don't match, clothes are too tight or too big, shoes that are wearing out, outfits that are repeated in a week- that is just who she is. She never volunteers her opinion, but if you ask, you will get it unvarnished.

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1 hour ago, StellaM said:

 

She's not the boss, though, mouthing off about an employee to a client.

The boss needed to address the smoke issue directly with the employee, leave the matter of her limited top selection alone, and stop making a habit of gossiping with clients about employees. To me, that's far more unprofessional than wearing the same top twice in a week.

Yes, and he's an accountant, too. Who wants to entrust personal financial information to someone who blabs about his employees like that?`

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5 hours ago, Quill said:

 

I do think there’s an aspect that matters. In sociey, we are creatures that like to look at pretty stuff. Most of us do enjoy seeing something pleasing to the eye. If one works somewhere that doesn’t literally have a uniform, the people who work there or visit as clients will probably enjoy seeing variability in the outfits worn by the employees. 🤷🏻‍♀️I think it’s just something we enjoy...

Pleasing to the eye and variety are different things.  I don't believe most people even register what the employee they interacted with was wearing at different visits. And what's pleasing to one person isn't to another.  Form, fit, pattern, color, and such are all of different value to different people. I think most people are kind of oblivious to how different other people's tastes run compared to their own.  I don't mean people are unaware that differences exists, I mean people honestly don't get that someone else would consider that the outfit they put on this morning that they really like and think they look good in, is to other people unattractive. Mature adults don't feel the need to comment on it, but it's there.  Just walk through the racks of clothing at any store and note that they have sold some sizes in a piece of clothing that you think is an ugly color, ugly cut, or ugly print. Someone else bought that in spite of all the other options in that same store you think are tasteful.  Some people consider tailored, monochromatic solids boring, bland and washouts against the skin.  Some people think large prints with intense colors categorically garish, harsh, and tacky.  That's just how life is.

Edited by Homeschool Mom in AZ
Trying to get rid of that image but can't see it in the edite. Weird.
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8 hours ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

I have no idea how that image showed up.  It's not there when I try to edit my previous post.  In the edit there's nothing between the sentence that ends with "...employees." And the one that starts with "I think..."

It’s the Giant Emoji glitch of 2019. It is in my post you quoted. It is from my iPad, so maybe it doesn’t show up for you if you're using a different program. 

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11 hours ago, StellaM said:

If success is based on shelling out for 10 work tops, count me out.

It's so silly. If I were to buy 10, I'd have to buy lesser quality.

They'd not have as nice a fit, they'd be cheaper material. 

Whereas if I bought 4 good tops - good material, good fit - they'd look more professional even if they were on higher rotation.

Yeah, well we all make our decisions. When I was very young, working in a law firm, my clothes were CRAP. I could not afford nice stuff and was very ignorant about how to shop, how to choose clothing, what makes this top appropriate while that  one is not, etc. I grew up very, very rarely wearing any clothing that was purchased at a retail store, expressly for me; it was thrift stores, grab bags, yard sales and cousin hand-me-downs (and they were poor, too, so...). So I didn’t even know how to shop or what size I was. I remember thinking I wasn’t a person who was “allowed” to shop at Hecht’s (depatment store like Macy’s) because I thought that was a rich-people store.  Seems funny now, but it was the reality at the time. 

All that to say, probably the bougie lawyers rolled their eyes at some of the really dumb clothes I wore. Had someone ever said something, the smart thing to do would have been to say, “well, pay for a stylist and give me a clothing allowance and I will stop embarrasing you with my Jamesway skirts.” But I probably didn’t even know clothing allowances were a thing or that some people get that as a work perk. I guess I would have cried and looked Like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, where she piles the crumpled cash on the counter and cries to the concierge that the stores won’t let her buy a dress there. 

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15 hours ago, MysteryJen said:

... I have one girl who loves a uniform look and another who noticed if I wore the same shirt in a week when she was two. She has created a clothes sharing network of friends on her swim team and since they go to different schools it looks like she has hundreds of different outfits. That stuff is important to her. 

She is the person who notices when blacks don't match, clothes are too tight or too big, shoes that are wearing out, outfits that are repeated in a week- that is just who she is. She never volunteers her opinion, but if you ask, you will get it unvarnished.

One of mine notices those things too.  I haven't heard her comment on others, but she will ask me, "Mom, did I wear this T-shirt to this class last week?"  She's asking the wrong person, LOL.  I'm surprised she is still willing to be seen in public with me.  (Would insert a smiley here but I don't want to blow up the internet.)

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