Is it wrong to wear expensive designer clothes for a new job?

It is true that after periods of economic crisis, signs of conspicuous consumption are often uncomfortable and inappropriate. After the Great Recession of 2008, for example, there were rumors that Hermès buyers wore brown bags instead of bright orange, and that the rich would organize secret shopping parties so as not to show their ability to spend. The identifiable luxury logos were definitely out.

Then, of course, logos made a comeback, which means that anyone who’s bought fashion in the past decade probably has some big-name stuff in their closet – stuff that can look even more like a red flag. today, given the growing attention to the wealth gap in the United States and the deep pain that many families have gone through over the past year, with jobs and homes lost.

At the same time, saving your money, thinking deeply about your purchases, and investing in a few responsible, well-made pieces that you will keep for decades (and maybe pass on to your kids) is exactly the kind of shopping we should. all do. do if we can. It’s better for the environment, for our own long-term economic stability, and for developing a personal style. It is not something to be embarrassed about or to avoid.

But it’s not like you can walk around your new job with a bubble floating above your designer bag explaining how and why you acquired it.

And while I would like to say that the bag you wear or the shoes you wear don’t matter in the context of your job – all that matters is the work you do and the results you do. you get – that would be naive. I’ve heard too many stories about women participating in wage negotiations and the subliminal judgments that follow, often based in part on how they dress.

So what to do? I called two experts who have deep knowledge of sartorial semiology in the halls of power: Ikram Goldman, the Chicago retailer who outfitted Michelle Obama and Mellody Hobson, and Joanna Coles, producer, author and former Hearst supremo. who held an annual Power 100 luncheon.

Ikram pointed out that in any job, confidence is key, and your clothes can go a long way in building confidence. Presentation in the workplace is important to everyone, whether we like to admit it or not. (That’s why often unspoken office dress codes exist.) If you feel good people can tell, and if you don’t feel safe, that will pass, too.

Presumably, however, you bought these coins because they gave you some confidence and some balance. And in this case, Joanna said, “You should use them everyday and enjoy them a lot! You can always dress them up with jeans and T-shirts or sneakers so they don’t look like they are screaming “designer”.

Indeed, there is a difference between owning one or two designer bags and wearing them every day, amortizing the price over time, and owning a Birkins closet the size of a Kardashian and wearing a different one every day. . It would raise a few eyebrows.

So if your investments make you feel strong and ready to do your job, great. But if you spend time worrying about how other people see them, it is time wasted from what you are doing. That is, after all, why you are here.

The math is simple: your clothes should job for you. Do they?

Every week on Open Thread, Vanessa will answer a fashion reader’s question, which you can send to her at any time via E-mail Where Twitter. The questions are edited and condensed.

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