32 responses

  1. Maya
    July 2, 2009

    Love your advise. As a matter of fact your composition is very much my style, although I'm not the corporate or 9 to 5 type.

  2. Kristen
    July 2, 2009

    Love this. I wear those colors quite often, though I do throw in pastels every now and then. I think I definitely ascribe to the jewelry policy — every day I wear my wedding rings, a watch, a simple silver bracelet, a simple silver necklace, and pearl studs. I adore pearls. I almost never wear anything dangly, even for going out.

    What about types of fabrics? Cotton, linen, wool for the most part?

  3. Princess Freckles
    July 2, 2009

    At the library where I work, the classic stlye works. Thank God! Its all I own!

  4. Dani @ Weddings Fresh
    July 2, 2009

    you have to have a well made trench. it's just what every girl needs :) happy 4th, lady LPC!

  5. Little Bow Prep
    July 2, 2009

    Lovely post!

    I like the trench :)

  6. class-factotum
    July 2, 2009

    "Classic clothing items can now be bought at low-cost retailers without sacrificing impact."

    Also check consignment stores, thrift shops, esp. Junior League thrift, and eBay for used high-quality clothes. I saw some Ferragamo shoes (samples! never worn!) at the Humane Society thrift store for $50. I considered cutting off the sides of my feet and stuffing the toes to convert my 8.5 mediums to fit the 10AAAs.

    Well-made clothes and shoes will last, so buying used, if you can get over the ick factor (and how is it any different from pulling something out of your sister's closet, really?), is a great way to get nice stuff at a nice price.

  7. The Cape House
    July 2, 2009

    I love that trench. I just bought that water bottle and have been very pleased so far. I always find my navy skirt works great on days where I need (or want) to say WASP.

  8. Beth Dunn
    July 3, 2009

    I'm all about the shoes. The rest can be the basics. Have a good day! xoxo

  9. Maureen at IslandRoar
    July 3, 2009

    This is good solid advice. Even if one's daily environment doesn't require it, I keep impressing on my kids; there are some things you should just know.
    thanks.

  10. Vodka Mom
    July 3, 2009

    now THAT was great!!

    I'm off to scour my jewelry box for grandma's trinkets….

  11. Hannah
    July 3, 2009

    Oh the wee jacket. I love. Now someone has to tell those of us who dress like Lisa Birnbach how to look like normal people.

  12. LPC
    July 3, 2009

    Hmm. The De-WASPing of a wardrobe, in other words. I believe I will have to ask my cool stylish sister in Berkeley. BTW, have you seen what Ms. Birnbach herself looks like nowadays? http://janefonda.com/tag/lisa-birnbach/.

  13. inkOBSESSIONdesigns
    July 3, 2009

    I love, love, love this! I so agree with minimal logo-ing. The obvious logos make me crazy!!

  14. LPC
    July 4, 2009

    Fabrics – we used to say "no polyester" with a shudder. But the chemistry of clothing has gotten so advanced that at this point it should just FEEL like natural fabric even if it isn't. Should NOT make you sweat more than usual. As for used clothing, I agree it's a great habit to get into. I myself can't get past the ick factor, but that's just me and a certain princess and the pea problem.

  15. Her Preppiness
    July 4, 2009

    Love that advice.

  16. EliandMe
    July 5, 2009

    I followed your advice, I WASPed up for an interview, and I felt … fantastic. Grown up, confident, and dare I say it, sexy (in a sort of understated, classy way obviously). Thank you x

  17. LPC
    July 5, 2009

    Yay for Eli's mama! Power is sexy. Men have known it for centuries. You made my night.

  18. Duchesse
    September 11, 2009

    Brooks Brothers have outlet stores stuffed with this kind of clothing, good quality. Buy a few pieces off season for 40-60% off, and you are set.

  19. LPC
    September 11, 2009

    I agree, Duchesse. In fact I bought my daughter a Brooks Brothers shirt, on sale, for her starting work wardrobe.

  20. Erin@TheLocalsLoveIt
    October 26, 2009

    This is very useful for me. I do work at an ad agency (AE not graphic designer). I prefer a pretty classic looke (kahki pants, white t-shirt) but find it hard to "dress up" and still feel comfortable.

  21. how to bowling
    May 5, 2010

    I'm so interesting about shoes and bags, you talk about the kins of bags of Marc Jacobs and Prada I love all of the, they are so classy and fashion like Wasp Up, congratulations for the good clothes!

  22. kimberly
    August 3, 2010

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  23. shukween
    December 17, 2010

    LPC, I’ve been a fan/follower for over a year; similarly raised in WASPy privilege, I just adore your counsel! go, Sturdy Gals!

    12/17/10
    1:18 pm
    Lisa said...

    Thank you so much. Go Sturdy Gals indeed!

  24. Danielle
    January 27, 2011

    Lisa, I love this post and the ensemble you have created. I especially like the BBP messenger/laptop bag. Is that appropriate to carry to work? I am a very sturdy gal who needs a similarly sturdy bag to carry my books, planner, pens, wallet, and sometimes laptop.

    More info: I work in the development dept. of a nonprofit legal fund with a relaxed dress code. I commute by train in a busy, cold, Northeastern city. Thanks so much!

    01/28/11
    10:18 am
    Lisa said...

    Yes, that BBP bag is absolutely fine for the environment you describe. And it doesn’t hurt one’s back at all:).

  25. Danielle
    January 28, 2011

    Thanks, Lisa! You are the best!

  26. HB
    May 4, 2011

    Fantastic post. Admittedly I am a designer so wear WASP with some irony when I do. However…I was largely raised by my grandma who steeped me in the ways of good, nay *excellent*, shoes and classic styles. I’ve got a twist, though: I went to a hoity prep school so cut my proverbial fashion teeth on that interpretation. Mostly this means screaming pink, blue or green as acceptable accents in cashmere for the winter or madras for the summer. If I have to impress or meet with a new client I usually revert to a WASP look as my base with some “other” addition to satisfy my (and the client’s) sense of who I am.

    BTW: found you via passage des perles and am quite glad I did!

  27. ONEWEIRDWORD
    October 21, 2011

    You have such a way with words! I’m enjoying your blog.

  28. Mackenzie Carpenter
    October 6, 2012

    This is a great site…I am 58, grew up in that epicenter of privilege (Princeton) …and ran away as fast as I could, toiling away in newsrooms in gritty cities where the whole notion of Wasp culture was not just uninteresting, but subject to derision. Now, though, as I grow older I find myself bring drawn back to the tribe…. As a girl, I wore Lilly Pulitzer shifts from Bellows, cable sweaters from Clayton’s on Palmer Square (it is now an Ann Taylor store) and Pappagallo shoes. Those days are gone…I may never wear pink and green again, but I no longer scoff at those who do. And I do treasure my grandmother’s gold bracelets.
    So I find your posts comforting…bits of reassuring wisdom from someone who honors her past but isn’t stuck in it. Who is in her (late) fifties but with plenty of style….Loved the post on fashion week…I study the photos too and think how the hell am I going to incorporate these new influences into my wardrobe, which, sadly, contains no Lela Rose or Dries Van Noten….but one can always dream… No cocoon dresses, though.
    Btw, when I wear a pearl necklace I don’t do earrings at all or very thin gold wire hoops…that is it. Elegance is refusal, as Diana Vreeland always said…

  29. Lisa
    October 7, 2012

    Nice to meet you. And I like the idea of thin gold hoops with a wire necklace very much. BTW, I was at Princeton 1974-1978, so I know exactly the stores you mean. Our dance with the tribe is an intricate one:).

  30. A
    June 21, 2013

    Very interesting advice. I came across your blog because there has been a discussion up in Toronto what you should wear to work if you are employed with the Premier of Ontario. The Premier had to explain to her employees what casual means:
    http://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2013/06/07/dress_code_in_kathleen_wynnes_office_forbids_miniskirts_halter_tops.html

    Why would I wear my weekend outfit to a freezing cold air conditioned office?

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