Just Call Me Grandma

I don’t mind my age, in fact I really enjoy it. It is far easier to be 36 than it was to be 26 – I love myself more, I care less what others think, and my life seems to have far more enjoyment and far less drama. People are sometimes surprised to find that I am 36, believing that I act and look a few years younger. However, I often catch myself thinking or saying things that make me (and those around me!) realize my age.

At least Ashlee Simpson isn't heading to the office in this 
{via}

Today, I felt like a grandma when I was walking to work. In front of me was a woman who I can only assume was heading to work. It was almost 9am, she was in a part of the city where there aren’t any shops or tourist attractions, she was walking with purpose, she knew her destination.

Her skirt was so short, if she took too large of a step I know I would have caught a glimpse of cheek… and not the cheeks on her face. She had on a white cotton blouse with flutter sleeves, tucked into a tweed skirt that looked vintage. Espadrille wedges, a camel handbag, the entire ensemble was simple, summery, sweet. But the SKIRT!! I couldn’t imagine where she worked being able to wear such a skirt. When I stepped out for lunch, I saw her again with two friends or coworkers; one was in black trousers and a refined knit top in a print, the other in a knee-length shift dress. Her companions were dressed in clothes that were stylish, flattering, work-appropriate. This woman surely stood out for her excellent fashion sense, but the skirt was just as short looking from the front at noon as it was from the back at 9am.

I crossed the street, and ended up at an intersection with another fashionable woman. White crisp shirt, sleeves rolled, collar popped. Adorable cat-eye sunglasses and round-toe pumps with a slight platform. Perfect shade of red stain on her lips, her hair was groomed yet casual. And then… yet again the SKIRT! It was a bubble skirt that ended right below her bum. Unlike the woman in the vintage skirt who was probably in her early ‘20s, this woman seemed to be around my age and though slimmer than I, had similar legs (pale, touches of cellulite, the occasional visible blue vein). As she crossed the street, three times she went to smooth the back of her skirt to ensure she wasn’t exposing more than she desired.

Call me grandma, but I believe such skirt lengths should not see the light of day unless you are at a beachside party or a fashion event. If you are wearing something that forces you to constantly fidget, adjust, and ensure you aren’t exposed it’s not the best attire… especially for the office.  You should dress in a way that makes you feel confident, and flatters what you find to be your best features.

I stepped out for a quick Starbucks run; when I walked out of the coffee shop I practically walked into a group of four folks who seemed to have just left a business lunch at a nearby restaurant. Two men in suits, both holding their jackets, their shirtsleeves rolled. One woman in a knee-length gray crepe wrap dress with snakeskin pumps and a mauve leather handbag. The fourth woman was wearing a khaki linen skirtsuit with nude patent peeptoe pumps and a brown leather purse; she too chose to carry her suit jacket in the heat, exposing the white eyelet strapless bustier that was underneath. A BUSTIER?

A lovely look… though not for the office

Magazines often try to make items seem more versatile than they really are. They show sequined tube tops paired with pinstriped pantsuits for the office, with ballskirts for a wedding, with leather shorts for a night out on the town. The thing is, most people do not work in the sort of environment where such “day to night” pieces really work. I often see women in what is obviously a strapless dress trying to make it corporate with a cardigan, in halter-tops hidden by blazers, backless blouses under wrap sweaters. It doesn’t make the piece look like a 9-5 garment, it just looks like a nightclub top covered up by a corporate one.

Call me grandma, but I believe sexy attire should be left for evenings and weekends. If you have plans after work, then tuck your sequined cami or backless dress in your bag and do a quick change in the office lavatory before heading out. In addition, if you by chance do think an eyelet bustier is an appropriate base layer for your suit, think twice before stripping off your jacket in front of business associates (and the crowd in Dupont Circle at lunchtime).

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21 Comments

  1. elizabeth brown
    January 27, 2013 / 2:35 pm

    our school are 13 to 18 yr olds ..skin Tight Lycra skirts or/and Thick Black opaque Tights.. i confiscate them and they dont ever get them back.

  2. elizabeth brown
    January 27, 2013 / 2:30 pm

    “Tight Lycra skirts” and/or “Thick Black Opaque Tights” should never see the light of day, I am a teacher [head teacher] i confiscate such items for the school Rag Bag ..cut up for arts and crafts ,or fancy dress drama classes.

  3. Stephanie Clayton
    July 4, 2011 / 6:58 pm

    there’s a difference between sexy and much too much.  this is a case of “much too much”, which isn’t sexy at all, imo!  i find it almost rude to dress so revealingly while out and about (unless at the beach or poolside, etc).  i know it’s summer, and it’s hot- but i wish people would learn to dress appropriately! 
    – style odyssey

  4. Chelsea
    July 1, 2011 / 8:24 pm

    THANK YOU! I am thoroughly sick of seeing too short skirts, too tight or low tops, and too casual items in the workplace! Granted, I am a teacher so we’re not talking corporate attire here, but please, leave your basketball shorts and your jerseys, your mini skirts and your halter tops at home.

  5. Miranda
    June 30, 2011 / 12:52 pm

    I completely agree with you and I’m only 22! I just graduated from college with an accounting degree and am now working in an accounting firm. I’m always amazed at the items my peers choose to wear to work. Skirts are always too shirt, tops are too tight and low cut, heels are way too high. I worked in an office while I was in school, and even though I was a student people always took me seriously because I dressed conservatively. There’s a time and a place for sexy clothing, but it’s definitely not in the office!

  6. Cynthia W
    June 30, 2011 / 4:37 am

    You know I didn’t mind any of my 30s or even turning 40 – I hit 44 and started noticing odd things with the skin on my upper chest and arms going on. I pointed this out to my mom and she said “oh honey, someday you’ll look back on these days fondly as ‘early middle age’!” 

    I realized that she’s right – I refuse to mind any age; I had to go through a lot to get here and I’m going to enjoy every second of it. Besides, I spent most of my teens and 20s worried about being fat – and now I look back at those pictures and realize how skinny I was. What a waste of time and energy that was. 

  7. June 30, 2011 / 2:43 am

    I didn’t mind being 36. I seriously mind being 43. And I AM a step-grandma! Ha!

  8. June 30, 2011 / 1:48 am

    I heartily agree with you.  As I read, I found myself thinking the first woman was no doubt a receptionist…

  9. June 29, 2011 / 11:21 pm

    Add me to those who agree, Allie.  I’m the same age as you…36…and you can call me Grandma, too.  I cannot stand being behind someone and knowing as much about them as their gynecologist.  Really, they sell longer skirts.  You will still look young if I can’t see your butt. 

  10. Cynthia W
    June 29, 2011 / 10:01 pm

    I have to agree with everyone else – come on, ladies, if you have to worry about bending over or walking up stairs without everyone seeing your underwear, buy a longer skirt. 

    My husband used to work in the oil field and the dress code was a little more relaxed than in a lot of industries, so several women in his office used to wear super short skirts (think Ally McBeal) and/or clubwear to the office. The head of accounts payable could never figure out why she wasn’t taken seriously or considered for the CFO position when it became available – she was top-knotch at her job, but her attire was just completely unprofessional and damaged her career. 

  11. June 29, 2011 / 9:29 pm

    You should see what the young Hill types are wearing, short skirts that even a pre-teen shouldn’t be wearing.  I guess no one taught them what was work appropriate. One pet peeve of mine: flip flops or UGGs at work. Ugh!! This is a place of work after all.

  12. Alex
    June 29, 2011 / 9:08 pm

    I’m in DC as well (I was in Dupont for lunch, wishing I would have seen the bustier!), and I’m constantly amazed at what I see people wearing, especially what appears to be for work (but, really, I am amazed at casual outfits as well!).  If so many younger (and older!) women are dressing this way, is it headed to becoming the norm??

  13. June 29, 2011 / 9:03 pm

    If that’s what defines a grandma, then I am most definitely one. With a
    capital G! Though in my late, late 20, I feel exactly the same way. Not a
    day goes by that I don’t find at least half a dozen women wearing
    inappropriate clothing, regardless of their age or weight. I’m growing
    tired and annoyed with today’s oversexed culture of anything goes.

  14. karina russell
    June 29, 2011 / 8:57 pm

    Not Grandma – call yourself Sensible, Tasteful, and Refined!

  15. June 29, 2011 / 8:52 pm

    Well, I AM a grandma and I’m so glad to hear younger people have some of the standards that I do.

  16. June 29, 2011 / 8:30 pm

    I work in a school and we have dress code problems all the time, and I don’t just mean from the students. If you want to wear a short skirt, go ahead on your own time, but not at work. Especially if you work with 12 and 13 year olds. It is a pet peeve of mine, so I guess you can call me grandma as well.

  17. Char
    June 29, 2011 / 8:21 pm

    I think those skirts are too short for ANY age.  If you want any kind of respect do not wear this or you will get attention that you didn’t want.  And I do actually speak from experience. (and I’m oooolllld! 41!)  Been there, done that, and shudder at the memory.  A bustier? Good grief.

  18. June 29, 2011 / 8:08 pm

    I went to meet my mama at her work the other day, which happens to be a big 4 firm, and I saw a girl walking out in a VERY short skirt and sky high platform stilettos. Thankfully, I no longer work in a traditional office setting, so I can wear what I want…but when I did, you would NEVER have found me in a getup like that!

  19. June 29, 2011 / 7:34 pm

    In my opinion, I think average working women have mistaken what is office appropriate for their particular line of work.  Women in their 20s and 30s are getting influenced by fashion/reality shows like Project Runway, The Real Housewives of “___”,  or any celeb media.  They really think that the way Heidi Klum dresses to her line of work or what celebrities wear on a daily basis is the “norm” when it’s NOT.  It is a imaginary high standard that has overcome and consumed are culture.  I’m in my early 30s and things are changing rapidly for women that I don’t think is positive.  Hopefully, bloggers like yourself can educate young women that you don’t have to express yourself using only your body. 

  20. Lorena
    June 29, 2011 / 7:03 pm

    Call me grandma too. 
    I am very careful with hem lengths, garment tightness, items with a back or front exposure.
    I think it’s distracting and may even seem unprofessional. 
    Certainly it depends where you work but in general I think it’s out of place. 

  21. Dee
    June 29, 2011 / 6:42 pm

    Well, I guess I’m a grandma too since I agree with all of your comments! I have seen so many women in tiny skirts heading to work. If you have to worry about exposing your butt then it’s not meant for the office. I work in a very casual environment but even so I am always conscious of what my outfit looks like if I have to take of my outer layer (cardigan/jacket). You never know if you will be stuck in a stuffy room, or run into someone for work outside on your lunch or coffee break. Thanks for the post!

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