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Journal

Words do this to us. They feed us even before we see. They build expectations. They are things too. And they lead us to see other things in a certain way. Words activated like and paired with the visual are the message.

What Would James Franco Wear?

Andrea Chesney

According to the Telegraph.co.uk, a London City lawyer was ordered to take down a blog post that said female law firm recruits should not wear bras that are red. A nice plain neutral t-shirt bra is okay. This humorously intended "stiff dress code"-revealing advice was deemed “too racy.” Read the full article here.

Okay. Yet, most firms are missioned for the pursuit of money. And we notice the kabillion dollars and/or scoops of hot fame being consumed by those who aren’t quite following the rules of workplace fashion: start with Miley and the Kardashians, pause before James Franco and Katy Perry and Zooey Deschanel, and consider TV pundits who span the range from conservative to Rodeo Drive. Head up to Microsoft’s or Google’s campus. Text Madonna.

Then ask someone in a uniform at Home Depot or Best Buy what he or she makes.

Is it time for someone to write a New Professional Wardrobe Idea Book to replace Ye Olde Professional Dresse Code Charter? There can be chapters for global differences, tall Swiss architects versus male US movie stars who wear Cuban heels. For people who have to wear scrubs while saving lives versus professors of finance versus film, fashion industry people versus baristas. Geeks in hipster glasses versus people in military-issued glasses. People in DC versus Madison, Wisconsin. Banana Republic versus Urban Outfitters versus Barneys versus ModCloth.com. Non-profit versus hedge fund. Chapters on being drab for $45K a year, versus being a flashy reality show star for millions. Why your company likes rows of uniformed mice, instead of some chic Kerry Washington Scandal style. Why skirt lengths still affect your cubicle-based job performance in 2013, but far richer unemployed trophy wives can wear anything.  We also want a chapter on leather cat suits. And astronaut style in the Virgin Galactic era. The book's forward can be written by joseph Gordon Levitt, Victoria Beckham, French government minister Christine Lagarde, Katy Perry and Warren Buffet and focus on workplace panty choices, ESPN anchorman neckwear and what top lawyers can wear to birthday parties.

We'll skip a chapter about Nobel Prize winners. People winning Nobel Prizes don’t seem to have time for rules about undies and suit colors. They’re busy.