Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dear Daddy Likey: I'm a Wannabe WASP on a budget!

Dear Daddy Likey,

I am in desperate need of some work wardrobe help!

This summer, I have been 'promoted' at the country club I work in- I have moved from waitress to golf shop girl! Along with a fifty cent raise, I also get to organize the shop, make charts with magic markers and flirt with all of the rich country club boys. JOKE'S ON THEM, because I would do that for free.

But enough of showing off! Because the real problem is that while I don't have to wear the ugly blue uniform shirt (gag!), I still have to wear country-club appropriate clothing. Apparently I get to buy clothing from the shop at cost, but I'm pretty sure that just rotating the same shirt in pink, orange and white isn't going to be fulfilling.

So how do I dress as a ritzy shopgirl WASP on a smallish budget? I think I have about one polo shirt, and one pair of white pants. I'm sure there will be a requisite pair of khakis in there, but I'm more of a florals and wrap skirts kind of a girl, so any advice you'd have would be wonderful!

Wannabe WASP

Dear Wannabe,

I'll do my best to answer your question, but I have to admit that as the child of west coast hippies, the extent of my knowledge of WASP culture comes from the Friday night dinner scenes at Lorelai's parents' house on Gilmore Girls. Plus this one time in DC I got a random one-night job of keeping drunk country club types away from Whoopi Goldberg at a ritzy dinner party, but that's another story for another time.

I thought your question was a good one to publish though, because while we're not all so lucky as to be golf shop girls, most everyone struggles with translating their personal style to workplace dress codes. In your case, it sounds like you normally like to dress very soft and feminine, but your work environment is very "boxy polo shirt." To bring softness and femininity into your work life, you could hum Jason Mraz ballads all day, or you could try out some of these soft, feminine, WASPy options (or maybe do both):

A Twist On the Polo Shirt with Pretty, Flattering Details

"Gather at the river" top, $39.99, here

This has many of a polo's defining features--the collar, buttons, and short sleeves--but its girly shape and pretty details are perfect for a ritzy shopgirl. Wear with slim, cropped black slacks, a sparkly necklace, and bright shoes and you've got it goin' on, girlfriend.

Fabulous, Feminine Accessories

The absolute best way to sneak your personal style into your work wardrobe is with accessories. Back in the day my boyfriend worked at Starbucks where the dress code is pretty restrictive, and I thought there was no way around the harsh black, white, and khaki parameters (he once got sent home for wearing black pants with a dark grey pinstripe so subtle you'd need a government-funded microscope to see it), but today when I go see my friend Brittney working there, she's so decked out in gorgeous earrings and necklaces and shimmery eye shadow that she might as well be dining with distinguished foreign diplomats instead of spilling shocking amounts of soy milk on herself. Same company, same dress code--the only difference? Brittney rocks the personalized accessories. My boyfriend, perhaps understandably, did not.

A few options to start you off:

Red poppies scrabble tile pendant necklace, $6, here

Lilac flora wrist cuff, $9.50, here

This one's even called "country chic"! $5, here

I couldn't answer a question about country club style and not mention headbands, could I? Seriously, if you buy nothing else to augment your one polo shirt and pair of white pants, buy a few headbands in pretty prints and colors. It'll be enough.

Colorful, Cheerful Shoes

"Fancy" by rsvp, $17.14, here

If your office dress code doesn't include "boring black closed-toe shoes," which is the sad reality for so many, exercise your footwear freedom and wear exciting bright blue open-toe shoes instead! When they only cost $17, you really have no excuse. Freedom isn't free, you know.

Do I have any real WASPs buzzing around in the audience today, aching to dispense some (affordable) fashion tips? Former ritzy shopgirls with tried and tested advice? Anyone just want to talk about how much they miss Gilmore Girls? Because I'm always down for that too.


Geri said...

Great advice, as usual! So funny and so practical. Love those blue shoes, especially!

Anonymous said...

This is great. So glad you're back to blogging!!

BuzzyBee said...

Whats a WASP? Is that American slang for a toff? I'm just guessing based on the talk about golf. I've never been to a golf club because a - I'm 21 and b - I'm a girl, but I have a few ideas.

Since you say you're on a budget and get a discount in the shop, I'd recommend getting your tops from there. Buy polo shirts and that kind of thing...then customise them. A good idea is to sew or stick a little lace or patterned fabric around the neck/collar and sleeves. If (unlike me) you have any talent for sewing, you could adjust the shape to get a more feminine fit.

And as the good lady says, accessorise, accessorise, accessorise!

Anonymous said...

The Gilmore Girls comment made me laugh out loud. I grew up with Rory! I miss that show so much! Well, I don't miss the seventh season. That can rot in hell for all I care.

Ashe Mischief said...

Buzzy Bee, it's a term to mean "White Anglo-Saxon Protestant." Kind of the old money type in New England.

GRRRRLLL, you totally opened a can of worms with the Gilmore Girls comment. I started watching it over the weekend when the beau was foolish enough to relinquish control of the remote to me.

Then I caught him catching up to where I was at while I was at work yesterday.


echidna girl said...

I'm coveting that scrabble tile.

Michelle LeBlanc said...

Wow, how much did I absolutely love gilmore girls? I think if I had to have a job like the one described here I would totally start channeling Rory's days at the DAR.

p.s. I enjoy this blog

- a stranger

Katharine Coldiron said...

My best advice to the letter-writer is to try and find a store where you can buy "classic" items fairly cheaply, and buy them in a bunch of colors and rotate. It's possible to find feminine polo shirts out there, and short-sleeve button-downs are always good. I tend to shop for this stuff at Target, because they have a lot of basic items that you can WASP up with a vest or a three-quarter-length-sleeve cardigan or even a light blazer. (Just walk away from the Xhilaration items at the front of the store. WASPs and fashion victims rarely combine.)

Also, I'd advise that if you want to let your floral flag fly, do this with half of your outfit and make the other half so WASPy as to be dull. Like, a plain white cotton button-down atop a pretty floral skirt.

Daddy Likey's accessories advice is great!

Anonymous said...

I'm far from WASPdom, but I'd add that the occasional thrifted sheath dress or full-skirted dress in solids or florals could spice things up a bit! Especially if paired with those darling peep-toes.

Erin_Grace said...

Knee length shorts (walking shorts?) with a ribbon belt are fairly classic WASP-wear...and you could definitely go floral with the belt.

meliasaurus said...

i worked at a golfcourse too and the only thing i could wear was a nasty t-shirt (and they only gave me one, i had to BUY more) and khakis. i'm so jealous of your proshop promotion.

oooo i'm thinking a polo/shortsleeve button down a fitted vest would be SO stylish.

i think that floral skirts are totally acceptable for a golf course btw so rock it!
just iron it first because i think over all they'll just want you to look neat.

get a cute sweater vest and a hat with a pompom on top. hilarious.

check out websites like lacoste, polo, and jcrew for some more ideas.

you can read golf style magazine online =O

i would watch gossip girl for some inspiration. they have to wear normal white and blue private school uniforms but they do it so creatively. seriously every fashion blog talks about it.


also see wedding crashers.

Kim said...

Besides your advice, which as always is spot on, I can add that I grew up in a golf family and have worked in numerous golf shops, some fancy, some not so much. Brands like Izod and Polo are pretty safe bets and even though they're hugely reminiscent of the 80's (my generation), they've both been decent about updating their stuff. The colors are better now and a little more fem. She could always go down the Liz Claybourne route, but I don't think this young girl wants to look like my fifty-year-old aunt in front of all the hot golf dudes.

I'm currently on Season Five of GG and taking it VERRRY SLOWLY because I'm going to go into mourning when I'm done.

WendyB said...

Last time I was in Costco, they had tons of Ralph Lauren Polo shirts on super sale.

cate said...

i'm catholic, so i can't technically be a WASP; however, i'm from the heart of fairfield county connecticut (you can't stop here, it's stepford country!), so I might be of some help.

TJ Maxx & Marshalls are a girl's best friends. Key components to a WASPy wardrobe:

-Cable knit sweaters
-Polo shirts
-Seersucker ANYTHING...skirts, shoes, jackets
-Collared everything
-A-line and straight skirts (minis are appropriate if they're twill, rather than denim, otherwise go for knee-to-tea length)
-Twill pants (actually, uh, twill anything, and in any color)

The nice thing about dressing like Preppy Von Preppenstein of the Darien Preppensteins, don't you know, is that color is your best friend. Yes, the wardrobe pieces are basic, but feel free to go as nutty with color as you want. Pink pants with a blue shirt and a green belt? You win. There more colorful the outfit, the better, so go wild and crazy with that rather than shapes (although your clothes should fit and be flattering, as with everything else you buy).

Accessories should either be small and expensive-looking or outsized and in your face, but not every really jeweled. Faux pearl earrings would be a great investment, and feel free to wear a headband every day. Shoes should be simple - flip flops are a preppy girl's best friend. The J. Crew ribbon ones are absolutely inspired by preppy fashion.

Check out VineyardVines.com - it's quintessential east coast prep. It's also expensive, but it will give you an idea of the basics.

Good luck!

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I think that Gilmore Girls may just be the answer to this one! Rory had a bit of style transformation when she started dating Logan. So grab DVDs for the last couple of seasons and take notes.

Pursuit of Matching Accessories said...

I would recommend hitting an outlet mall to save on cost... Banana Republic, Gap, J. Crew, and Ralph Lauren outlets will all have very classic items. At least go for like the more feminine polos rather than oxford or male-cut polos. And I agree with Daddy Likey--accessorize it!

Lisa said...

Great advice from you and all of the comments so far! And augh, I miss Gilmore Girls with a vengeance.

Mariah said...

I'm from a WASP family, but my parents were hippies who wanted to do their own thing, so I'm WASP sans $.

The biggest girly preppy secret:


This can range from pretty obviously boy-trolling, to cute but more subtle. For demure, choose polo shirt-dresses (I got mine at Polo Outlet for under $40), in navy, white or yellow. If you're a little more shoot-from-the hip, try tennis outfits with a halter style on top and pleated skirts on bottom or something to that effect.

Every tennis dress I've ever owned has been my "magic" dress, the one I wear to get what I want. Boys LOVE it.

That should be your uniform. Other options:

- Ebay yourself some Lily Pulitzer.
- get a pink/green/yellow grosgain ribbon belt
- Madras says you're one of the club. It's relatively ugly, but no one will doubt your club credetials if you wear it.
- Seersucker would have been better a few years ago. It got popular a few years ago. It's right on the cusp of being acceptable again. Tread carefully.
- Same with skirts/shorts with embroidered sailing flags, whales, or lobsters (or whatever). Due to recent popularity, these are advanced moves.
- Invest in navy.
- Get a scarf. This has a learning curve, but if you get it, again, no one will doubt your credentials. Don't bother trying for Hermes knock-off because they'll know. Go cotton rather than silk, which will be better for summer anyway.
- Contrast piping is your friend.

The great thing is that you can find this stuff second-hand or in off-brands, and it doesn't matter. It's just references, and better to get something that fits you and makes you look cute and references the country club thing than to get label stuff that's not right for you.

(Also, labels like Ralph Lauren are not the way to go, outside of a polor shirt or whatever. RL has become a bit prole through overuse by the middle class. The labels you might find useful if you want to go that way are more the labels you might find in a northeast beach town, J. McLaughlin for example. These don't look wildly different from old J.Crew or even Ralph Lauren, but they have a much different _feel_ which I realize is hard to qualify. But if you throw down for a really label piece, I'd say go with one of these labels, or Lily Pulitzer.

Darla: Retro Ways said...

I want those shoes in every color!

Anonymous said...

Definitely invest in some headbands and faux pearl earrings. I'd suggest bermuda shorts (in khaki, navy, or maybe a "fun" color like kelly green or salmon), polos, a loose button-down shirt where you can roll up the sleeves, a cute little shirt-dress, wedges, floral A-line skirts, things like that. I'd check out stores like TJ Maxx & Marshalls (they always have a lot of cheap RL sweaters and polos), J Crew, Macy's, Lord & Taylors.. Have fun!

Dreampuff said...

The 5pm Gilmore Girl re-runs are the only thing getting me through the day...

Miss Wannabe, have you heard of deathtoargyle.com? its pretty much the Hot Topic of golf world (of which I know pretty much the same as Miss Winona.)
Not exactly "soft"....but certainly alternatively feminine and pretty damn awesome.

Bekah said...

oooh, that shirt reminds me of the ones that clever girl refashions! wannabe could maybe do some of those refashions if she has a hand with a sewing machine for sure!

also, I never got in to the gilmore girls. *sigh*.

daddylikeyblog said...

Love this advice, ladies! Keep it coming! The walking shorts with a pretty ribbon belt is a great idea, and the tennis dress--brilliant!

emily said...

Ugh, I worked a job where I had to wear button downs EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. When I got bored with them, I would take the buttons off and replace them with fun little ones for something a little unusual. It's super cheap and simple.

Hannah said...

as an honest to god DAR member, i have got to say: STAY AWAY FROM THAT WRIST CUFF. not that I am in any way advocating WASP culture (all the cold stares start to seriously wear on a girl and you end up doing things like "move to canada) but if you're going to do it, your wasp mantra should be thus: does it look like my grandma mitsy would have worn it? nothing too short, too tight, or too revealing; blue bloods should never have to "work for it." i would say invest in a pair of seersucker trousers from j. crew (or RL or whatever). you can wear them with brightly colored plain tees, polos, oxfords, everything (all of which can be from old navy, wal-mart, the little boys department of macys, whatever). and keep the pearls small! nothing says new money like those oversized pearl necklaces with the ribbon ties.

Katy said...

WASP = White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. Two words for stylish WASPs: toile print.

Unknown said...

Lord how I miss my Gilmore Girls.

Tea said...

I want those shoes in every color!

Sarah Von Bargen said...

Seriously, I just iron everything I'm wearing when I want to look WASPY. Nothing says preppy quite like jeans with a crease! (Mostly kidding about that)

Anonymous said...

I love and miss Gilmore Girls- the resulting ache from the loss of one of my favorite shows haunts me to this day. :)
also- I say wear skirts with the polo's, skirts are better than khaki pants- almost always.

Anonymous said...

Replica Handbags
Fake Handbags
Knockoff Handbags

Replica Louis Vuitton Handbags
Replica Gucci Handbags
Replica Chanel Handbags
Prada Handbags
Replica Fendi Handbags
Replica Dolce Gabbana Handbags
Replica Chloe Handbags
Replica Jimmy Choo Handbags
Replica Thomas Wylde Handbags
Replica MiuMiu Handbags

Replica Balenciaga Handbags
Replica Coach Handbags
Replica Lancel Handbags
Replica Hermes Handbags
Replica Marc Jacobs Handbags
Replica Anya Hindmarch Handbags
Replica YSL Handbags
Replica Mulberry Handbags
Replica Givenchy Handbags
Replica Valentino Handbags
Replica Versace Handbags
Replica Cartier Handbags
Replica Marni Handbags
Replica Bottega Veneta Handbags
Replica Loewe Handbags
Replica Kooba Handbags

Replica Bally Handbags
Replica Burberry Handbags
Replica Christian Dior Handbags
Replica Juicy Couture Handbags
Replica Ferragamo Handbags
Replica Celine Handbags

Blog Widget by LinkWithin