Time For Work… What Do You Consider Dressing ‘Professionally’?

What would you think if a coworker or employee showed up to work in loose ripped jeans, scuzzy sneakers, the same shirt she wore yesterday, frizzy hair, dirty unpolished nails, and a band-aid hanging off her arm from a recent tetanus shot? Would you judge me? Should I buy new clothes? Probably?

In an article for the New York Times, fashion director and chief fashion critic Vanessa Friedman explored the uniquely non-corrective and, relatedly, somewhat confusing moment we are inhabiting when it comes to dressing for work. Friedman quotes Susan Scafidi, founder of the Fashion Law Institute, who notes that as our work lives and lives-lives become increasingly intertwined, there’s naturally far less interest in a wardrobe that arbitrarily separates the two:

“There’s a strain of thought that says an employee represents a company, and thus dress is not about personal expression, but company expression,” Professor Scafidi said. “But there’s a counter argument that believes because we identify so much with our careers, we should be able to be ourselves at work.”

Friedman also cites recent uproars over various sharply gendered dress codes—the heel requirement at British temp agency Portico, and, allegedly, at Cannes; the weather forecaster who was recently handed a sweater to cover her dress (she later said it was a joke); Kansas State Senator Mitch Holmes’ public apology for releasing guidelines that deemed low necklines and miniskirts “inappropriate” but had no equivalent restrictions for male dress—as well as new guidelines from the New York City Commission on Human Rights prohibiting enforcing dress codes “based on sex or gender,” to make the argument that as the lines of gender increasingly blur, the concept of what clothes are “appropriate” does as well.

I started an editorial assistant job at Glamour Magazine in fussy outfits and statement necklaces and high heels that sprained my ankle twice; two years later, my Birkenstocks and jeans heavily signaled a swiftly loosening commitment to the world of women’s magazines, and to the idea that a woman should stand on her tippy toes to be taken seriously. When I came to TwinStar Media, everyone was dressed like this, and I essentially stopped buying clothes.

It should probably be noted that there are a lot of parts of the country and world where this individualistic, dressed-down, post-gender vibe is nowhere near a thing yet, and many professions, as well; not everyone works at a start-up or an extremely casual media organization. But it does beg considering—what do you consider appropriate workwear? Has that idea shifted dramatically depending on your job, or even as you become more comfortable in (or less serious about) one particular job?

Gap To Close 175 Stores & Lay off 250 Employees

Between the loss of its creative director Rebekka Bay, slumping sales, and a handful of failed brand reinventions, it’s no secret that the past couple of years have been extremely rocky ones for Gap. This week brings more unfortunate news for Gap Inc., which announced late yesterday in a press release that it plans to shutter 175 of its Gap brand stores. These closures will affect only the namesake shops — not the outlets or specialty locations — and will occur mostly in North America, with 140 closures expected for this year.

The drastic move was an order under Gap’s new CEO Art Peck, who said that he prioritizes growth for the struggling brand over everything else. “Customers are rapidly changing how they shop today, and these moves will help get Gap back to where we know it deserves to be in the eyes of consumers,” he said in the release. It’s an attempt to streamline the operations and make the brand more nimble — which means cutting costs. Although Gap didn’t say whether workers in soon-to-be-shuttered stores would be fired, the company stated that it plans to lay off 250 employees at its headquarters in New York and San Francisco.

According to Gap Inc., these changes will save the company about $25 million a year. Although it will suffer about $140 million to $160 million in charges related to the moves, Peck admitted that these layoffs and closures are a necessary move to make Gap more competitive in the retail landscape. In many ways, this is a last resort to try to get sales back on track. Despite revamping its ad campaign strategy, recruiting high-profile celebrity endorsements, and even shaking up its merchandise, the brand has failed to keep customers in today’s crowded retail market. Gap Inc.’s changes won’t affect its other brands, such as Banana Republic and Old Navy. But, it wouldn’t surprise us if Gap looks to the thriving sales of Old Navy as a new kind model for success.

Apple Watch Sells Out Day of Pre-Orders

Today is a big day for both Apple and the wearable tech space. The most anticipated wearable, the Apple Watch, was officially unveiled in Apple Stores with pre-orders opening at 12:01AM PST for purchase.

According to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, watch sales for the April 24 delivery date sold out within the first 10 to 30 minutes of it being made available for pre-order in the US depending on the model. Munster found that most Apple Watch devices are now shipping for June, stating a 4-6 week delivery time upon checkout. He believes that the initial sellout of the Watch was related to supply.

A report from MacRumors suggests that the Sport version of the Watch sold out first, followed by the Watch version which is Apple’s mid-tier category. While it only took an hour for the most expensive tier, the gold Apple Watch Edition, to sell out in China according Cult of Mac.

Although Apple Stores are now outfitted with display tables, demo units and try-on stations, the Apple Watch will only be available for purchase online and delivered straight to consumer during the launch period of the Watch. Only select stores will have the gold Edition Watch available to try-on and interested consumers will need to go online to Apple.com to schedule their 15-minute try-on session.

McDonald’s Enters The Fashion Game with Big Mac Apparel

If you’ve ever secretly dreamt of swaddling yourself in hundreds of greasy, delicious Big Macs as you drift off to sleep, don’t worry. You are not alone. In fact, the folk at McDonald’s are right there with you – at least, in Sweden they are. If you’ve ever secretly dreamt of swaddling yourself in hundreds of greasy, delicious Big Macs as you drift off to sleep, don’t worry. You are not alone. In fact, the folk at McDonald’s are right there with you – at least, in Sweden they are. The Scandinavian arm of the Golden Arches has just announced it will be releasing a small range of homewares and apparel, all proudly decorated in the world’s best-known burger. The eclectic selection of items includes bedsheets, pajamas, a dog jacket, rain boots and a waterproof mac (see what they did there?), along with some Big Mac gift wrap that you can use to give that special, strange, burger-loving person in your life a present they’ll never forget.

While the site itself is based in Sweden, the products can be shipped all over the world. Head to the Big Mac Shop to make a purchase.

A Look Inside the 2015 ‘Sports Illustrated’ Swimsuit Issue

Much has been said about Hannah Davis’ provocative pose on the cover of this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, with pundits describing it as overly suggestive. A few other of the models are making their own headlines, like Caroline Wozniacki. The fifth ranked women’s tennis player, joins a list of current and former WTA players who’ve elected to wield a bikini in favor of a racquet. The latest edition of the magazine features a drove of returning favorites like Lily Aldridge, Gigi Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski, Chrissy Teigen and more. The 2015 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is now available on newsstands worldwide and online.

For a behind-the-scenes look at this year’s issue check out the teaser video below.

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Style Check: Vans Spring 2015 Classic Slip-On “Leather”

For Spring 2015, Vans offers a variety of Classic Slip-Ons in updated materials and colors for the new season. The highlights of the collection come from a rich selection of leather variations that showcase the fine detail put into sneaker design. You can choose from a dress blues colorway that features diamond-perforated leather or an all-white option with a crackled leather, giving it pre-worn appearance. An embossed mini-checkerboard in port royal, embossed weave in black, and embossed croc in black and “winetasting” complete the leather offering. The Vans Spring 2015 Classic Slip-On “Leather” pack is now available online and at select retailers

YOUR BEARD WON’T BE FULLY FESTIVE THIS SEASON IF IT DOESN’T HAVE BEARD BAUBLES

A beard with ornaments, of course! This was the creative thought process behind Beard Baubles, a festive charitable drive.

Creative duo Mike Kennedy and Pauline Ashford from London ad shop Grey London came up with the idea when the agency asked staff to work on the company Christmas card.

Inspired by the brief: “Do something famous or do something good—ideally both,” Kennedy and Ashford came up with an idea that is not simply a charitable card but an actual product that can be sold. They then got in touch with Jimmy Niggles who runs “Beard Season”, a campaign against skin cancer in Australia where melanoma kills more young people than any other cancer.

Niggles (aka Scott Maggs) founded Beard Season and an associated beard-sharing platform called “This is Beard” following the death of his friend Wes Bonny at 26 years old. Wes died in 2009 from a melanoma on his neck and, because beards were a lot less popular then, Niggles and his friends decided to grow spectacular beards and share Wes’s story with everyone who asked about them—encouraging people to have their skin checked.

Niggles welcomed the ad agency’s festive idea and all proceeds from sales of Beard Baubles will go to Beard Season. The baubly images are modeled by some of Grey London’s more hirsute members of staff and will serve as the company’s 2014 Christmas card.

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Suits Inspired by Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Shinesty has released a line of three incredible suits inspired by ugly Christmas sweaters. The three designs are The Ugly Christmas Sweater Suit, the Holiday Tree Suit, and The Rudolph.

Do you remember all those Christmas parties you went to last year dressed in your mom’s baggy vintage 88′ Christmas sweater complete with shoulder pads and shedding small trinkets from holidays past with each step you took? Do you remember going home to your sad, cold bed a little tipsy and utterly alone? Thought so. But what is there to do? You don’t want to be the stiff who shows up dressed all “normal and boring” to a holiday party. Well luckily for you, daddy (that’s us) went up North and got some of Ole man Nick’s hobbit friends to whip up something a bit more… dapper. You’re welcome. And no we don’t want milk and cookies, just give name your first born in our honor.

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The XOO Belt Lets You Charge Your Phone Anytime, Anywhere

External batteries are often seen as a necessary burden, given their unwieldy size and the awkwardness of having your phone plugged in and tied down while simultaneously trying to use it with any semblance of normalcy. Cue the XOO Belt by Nifty, a true example of invisible design which combines minimalist aesthetics with the latest innovations in flexible battery technology to produce a belt that packs 2,100mAh of juice into its length, as well as an additional 800mAh in the buckle. Chargeable via USB, the premium tanned leather belt incorporates a magnetic cable that snaps away when not in use, two charging ports, as well as a ratchet system that allows adjustments of a quarter of an inch. Having already raised $30,000 of its $50,000 USD goal, head over to the product’s Indiegogo page before early bird supplies run out.

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