the new black suit

26 Sep

my favorite movie, by far, when i was in my 20’s was…

you see, i was melanie griffin.  i aspired to be a “working girl”  boy, did i get what i asked for.

my first suit, i bought on credit at bloomingdales on michigan avenue.  it was an “urgent” suit because i was asked at the last minute to go to a dealer meeting in cleveland.  and it was an important meeting.  i made $1000 a month in my first job as an account executive at a chicago ad agency.  $500 went to the apartment i split with kerri antles and $500 to drinks.  what can i say – i was 23 years old and living in the city (pronounced SIT EEE). and i racked up some serious credit cards.

so back to the first suit i bought.  it cost me $1000 and probably 2 years of $25 payments and interest rates to pay it off.  i couldn’t tell my mom this until i was well into my 30’s and even then i got a talking to.  i remember at the time her saying “well, i’ll help you buy half – is $150 enough?”  sheepishly, i said “yes”.  this $1000 suit for a 23 year old (18 years ago) was just a lined suit coat and pants.  and i wore the shit out of it.  after year three, i cut the lining down and had the pants hemmed.  i would say i got about 10 years out of that suit or more.  it was really sad when i goodwilled it.  i felt a memorial service would have been the right thing to do.

black suits for women.  when i was in my 20’s – it meant power.  the closer we could look like men without looking like men was the spot-on look to have.  it was really stupid.  we were in the car business, it was all men we worked with so we needed to blend in and not stand out.  like “wow, those ideas came from a woman!”  i don’t really remember it being that bad, but it must have been.  my immediate boss was a man starting out but he reported to two women. 

back to the suits

when i moved to dallas and joined the leo burnett team and worked on cadillac, i was introduced to a woman who ran all the advertising for cadillac.  i remember seeing her on a telecast in a sharp blouse and skirt.  in that one bold move – i saw it as a statement.  it said ” the day of the black suit is over, girls.  we no longer need to look like men to be taken seriously, we can dress like women”.  she probably wasn’t thinking that big, but wearing what was comfortable but i never wore a black suit again!

here are some great suit alternatives for fall:

all of them can be found (with credits) on my working girl pinterest page here

happy monday!

One Response to “the new black suit”

  1. Joan Krause September 26, 2011 at 8:51 am #

    I love this post – $1,000 – I didn’t know!!!! Love, Mom

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