Archive for the 'Clothing' Category

Fit, or not too fit?

October 4, 2007

Ever had a journo ask ‘is the case study/profile photogenic?’

Ever felt like you’re a bit under-dressed/not quite cool enough next to your colleague?

If you answered no to both of these you must be a] deeply fashionable, and b] not work in PR,

We all know image matters, and if you don’t, perhaps it is time to re-consider your career propects?! This research discussed on FT Alphaville highlights the link between earnings and physical attractiveness. Does this stand up for PR too? [I’m thinking more corporate/consumer than fashion/beauty, where the answer is less straightforward. ]

The game isn’t up for the aesthetically challenged amongst us, however. Grooming can help bring in the bigger bonuses too. Which reminds me to try and remember where the iron is some time soon…


Fashion Zeitgeist

June 18, 2007

Being a] deeply stylish, and b] readers of Sunday Times’ Style section, we present the ‘going up/going down’ of fashion PR-with the return of the mysterious Ms J for the ladies’ perspective…

Currently loving [Ladies]

Peep toe heeled shoes (look good with anything)

Vintage dresses (though good ones are hard to find)

Girly skirt suits (make you feel empowered and sexy at the same time – bonus)

Footless tights (they may be officially “out” but I actually really like them and they are just so handy when the weather is this random)

Currently loving [Gents]

Yep, still the Khaki. Or the dark blue jean. Never lets you down.

Polo shirts. If they’re good enough for corporate America, why they’re sure good enough for us.

Sunny enough weather to get away with wearing shades without entirely looking like a poser.

Currently hating [Ladies]

Square heeled chunky shoes (you were supposed to throw them out back in 1997)

Wrap dresses (as above but intended to reach the scrap heap in 2005)

Mini skirts (never good in the workplace no matter how good people tell you your legs look)

Trouser suits (I feel like a man when I wear mine and I never saw the point of that androgynous look)

Currently hating [Gents]

Pointy toed shoes. It isn’t the 16th century, and they aren’t comfortable. I’ve heard.

Short sleeved shirts. Not unless you’re out on the town in Newcastle. Sorry ‘Toon’.

The black roll neck. Unless you’re Steve Jobs.

Ironing shirts. Never going to be good at it, and there’s only so many times you can pull puppy eyes at the girlfriend/flatmate/postman to do it for you…

PR clothing – for women

June 5, 2007

The following post comes from a mystery figure, who stylishly wishes only to be known as Ms J… 


Further to Desmier Esq.’s recent posting on this issue, it falls to me – a loyal reader and PR fashion guru, to reply. I’d like to start with one main assertion: Dressing appropriately for PR is much more of a dilemma for the ladies than it is for the gents.

As far as our male counterparts go, it is far easier for them to find a half-way house between a suit and jeans (e.g. chinos and open-necked shirt) than it is for us. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has flung her whole wardrobe all over the bedroom floor in despair and tried on three separate outfits in the morning before deciding on a suitable look for that day’s activities.

The smart/casual conundrum could be endlessly debated, as could clothing options for a day which contains meetings with three radically different clients. However, I think it can be essentially concluded as follows: don’t be afraid of being a little bit creative, and, above all, wear what suits you. By creative, I don’t mean wacky (!) but I think if I were a client, and especially one of the more consumery variety (or one that doesn’t have a particularly impressive wardrobe themselves), there would be something quite gratifying about seeing your agency team mirror their creative qualities in their clothing style.

Nevertheless, as far as PR ladies in London go, most people seem to play it safe and stick to one general “look.” They may have a wide range of different outfits but I believe they basically fall into one of five categories and I have had a bash at segmenting them as such for the purposes of this article. Being a corporate PR girlie myself, this is skewed towards the types of people usually found in a corporate agency, but I imagine those of you working in other sectors have similar examples in your own companies.

1. The Quality Surveyor – classic fashion sense, always looks good, checks out everyone else’s outfits when they walk into the office content in the knowledge that she looks better, and has spent more money on her outfit than everyone else. The QS is stubborn about her favourite shops – you’ll never catch her in H&M and secretly wish you too could buy your capsule items (white t shirts and the like) from Reiss and Joseph.

2. The Classic Cheap & Chic-ster – good bargain hunter, adept at teaming a one-off designer or vintage piece with something from Topshop or even Primark (as unprepared as she is to get involved with the current chav-tastic crush-athon situation on Oxford Street). Always well co-ordinated and knows what suits her. Like everyone else, she has her off days (i.e. when all the good stuff is in the wash) but this is ok because off-days are timed to coincide with a rare night off in front of the telly.

3. The Flesh Flasher – great figure, not bothered about updating her look on a regular basis, the Flesh Flasher is a fully signed-up member of the “if you’ve got it, flaunt it” club. She has several flattering pieces which she knows are winners in any situation – super short skirts and shoulder-padded jackets for the new business pitch, ridiculously low-cut tops for the meeting with new male client. FF has the most criticised dress sense of all the women in the office, sometimes rightly deserved (inappropriate for her age and seniority), though oft-fuelled purely by jealousy (we all wish we had pins like hers).

4. Am I bovvered? – Probably the most intelligent girl in the office and a firm believer that there’s more to life than clothes. Never looks bad but equally never takes a risk, sticking to what she knows and likes. Often has a theme to her outfits e.g. always wears black or whenever she wears a suit, it’s always with the same blue shirt. Equally not bovvered about footwear and has a sensible pair of M&S “footgloves” which are sturdy and sensible and clearly far more comfortable than the stilettos the rest of us are limping around in.

5. The Wrong ’un – we all have one in our office – the person who probably thinks they have an “individual sense of style” but whatever they do, it just looks wrong: no co-ordination, silver, gold and costume jewellery (together), red toe nails, pink finger nails (at the same time, usually chipped), tights with sandals, winter coat with flip flops etc etc. the list goes on. The annoying thing is, the Wrong ’un is normally pretty good at her job so when she rocks up to a client meeting looking a bit, well, wrong, no one bats an eyelid.

PR clothing – for Men!

May 21, 2007

You struggle over the tie you haven’t done up since graduation, with the shoes that you bought from Marks and Spencers (because you thought that they made you look more grown up) and you slide on your suit jacket even though it’s the middle of summer and the effort of dressing alone is making you cook like a McCains ready meal. All this effort, only to find that when you arrive at your place of work, you are alone in dressing so formally and you look like a lemon!

That’s right, it’s the first day of your new/first job..Dressing for industries like law, banking and general city work, is straight forward. Unless you look like a corporate type, you aren’t corporate enough. But how does a man conform to the PR norm? What actually is the PR norm? For the first month in my first job I wore a suit and tie until someone told me I ‘looked a bit stiff’, at which point I abandoned the cuff links and rolled up my sleeves…there was still a long way to go! The answer is, there is no answer. On the whole PR chaps don’t turn up to work in jeans and a tee shirt, in much the same way that most of us will never have spend a 4 hour lunch sipping champagne..

Different sectors expect different dress codes, and often different work ethics. Turning up to a consumer agency in a suit more than once would probably seal the envelope of your P45,  whereas turning up to a financial agency in anything less will most likely guarantee you a week of non stop status reports as punishment. It’s been mentioned elsewhere in this blog, but within reason the only real people that really matter for this question are your clients. When I meet my Legal client, I wear a suit and tie, and when I meet my public sector client, a shirt is about as formal as it gets.The biggest question remains though – is it ok to wear shorts on dress down Friday? And if so, is a Hawaiian shirt definitely a no no?