Privilege Blog

I Appreciate Your Understanding

Decent images and a full second post have escaped me this week. However, commitments matter. Therefore I humbly ask that you bear with me, and accept these thoughts from week two of The Return as a token of my esteem and a promise for the future.

  1. I need more cashmere v-necks, knit blazers, not-too-masculine button-front shirts, and pants that fit. Research is underway.
  2. The comments on Tuesday’s hair post are fantastic and I plan to work my way through the suggestions, one by one. Except the haircut, and that I will explain at great length soon.
  3. Public transportation is a marvel. I hadn’t been on a city bus at all since 1983, and not on a San Francisco city bus since 1970. You will be glad to know the system works just fine.

Have a great weekend. Quite the concept, weekends.

32 Responses

  1. I look forward to your research on #1. All of us in offices and cubicles need those things and wear the ones we love to death. I am particularly interested in the knit blazers. Those work so well in a somewhat casual office environment, but they’re hard to find.

    Regarding your hair, I love the gray. I’m sure you’ll find a way to work with the length and style, but your gray is a nice bright steely color. Not muddy like we brunettes tend towards.

  2. I look for new posts on your blog, like a schoolgirl waiting for the phone to ring.
    OK – get yourself to a good J.Crew. I’ve now bought 4 schoolboy blazers, and they’re so great. I believe they’d be a perfect cut for you too. All around or under $200. Will be changing the buttons on one of them though (too brassy.)
    Knit blazer are another story. I like St. John (in the right cut) but they’re pricey. However, they do last forever and I have a great one that looks like a Chanel that I’ve had and worn for 12 years.
    I also bought 4 v-neck cashmere sweaters from J.Crew – great fit and quality. Supposedly same cashmere as Loro Piano. Under $200.
    I don’t know much about slacks, as I wear only jeans.

  3. How kind of you to check in with us. Loving your thoughts, and look forward to reading about your research. Have a great weekend!

  4. Cashmere V necks are so versatile…check out Lands End they do a fine job and the price point is perfect for work.
    SF must be a great place to work and riding the transit will give you some time to read or blog or just enjoy the views.

    Now you have a reason to shop and what fun! Can’t wait to see what you choose…is Gumps on the radar?

  5. I like the cashmere v-necks from Land’s End. They’re kind of an obsession, actually. I like them better after I handwash them once.

  6. I third the recommendation for Lands’ End (their punctuation, not mine!) cashmere.

    I love public transportation. I take it every day. The only drawback is some of the actual public, ick.

  7. Dear Lisa, it’s your blog, and you are ever so welcome to post when and if you can. You owe us nothing, and we don’t pay you for your surely remuneration-worthy thoughts. Your new job is very important, and the delight you take in it delights us, so please put yourself under no pressure to post.

  8. I take the city bus too and I love it. We have a fancy car which we offset with a cheaper second-vehicle option: the bus!
    You know I love JCrew for button down shirts and Brora for cashmere.
    I have tried some LE cashmere but I find it a bit boxy, not fitted enough or even long enough through the torso. But that’s me I know many women love their cashmere!

    1. Hey DaniBP,
      I was delighted that LE made their sweaters a couple of inches longer this year! I didn’t know whether you’d seen this but thought I’d let you konw. I’m 5’10” so every centimeter helps.

  9. J Crew cashmere is a nightmare, look at Brora – some of mine must be about 17 years old and still looks like new – made in Scotland for mean folk!

    Of course you’re not cutting your hair.

  10. Breathe and realize no one is counting your costume changes. “Strength in your sword arm”, dear Lisa.

  11. I think you should stick to your intent about hair length, but don’t be afraid of a trim and shaping now and then.

  12. Talbots is having a fall sale right now and has some lovely not-too-masculine button fronts for you, silk, even some nice colors.

  13. We all know that we are now ‘sharing’ you now Lisa…and that of course there is going to be a time of adjustment. What’s so wonderful is that what comes out of that is most likely going to be even more brilliant…just your snippet of thoughts here attest to that! So take your time, shop, enjoy the blue skies, and when the time is right, we’ll be here.
    xo J~

  14. As an alpha male executive type, I hope that the following thoughts and observations of mine are of some use. My former wife, an executive with a Dow 30 company, started taking my ideas seriously, when a male colleague said to her, “Nice suit” in reference to one that I had talked her into buying.

    On women’s hair:

    You surely know the appellations, “High brow”, and Low brow”. Do not cover up your forehead with bangs etc. Your forehead is where your brains are. By covering it up you are either saying that you do not have any brains or that you are afraid that someone will find out that you do have some.

    Whatever style you choose, it should be under control. Nothing says, “Girly girl, not here to work” like hair that is in constant need of corralling. Visualize a woman standing over a conference table looking down at some blueprints, as she constantly has to move her hair back over her ears. Every movement emphasizes that her gender is more important to her than her work.

    Work is serious as war is serious. 2300 years ago, Alexander ordered his troops to shave their beards and cut their hair short so that the enemy (competition) would not have anything to grab a hold of. A man’s suit and tie have their origins in armor. It has shoulder pads and canvas backing for that reason. The necktie made of silk, the strongest natural fiber and the Kevlar of its day, was designed to protect the throat from sword thrusts.

    On coloring, 60 is the new 40. If you want to look like you will be around to “finish the project”, blend in the grey.

    On makeup, perfume etc.:

    Even less than less is more.

    On clothes, shoes:

    Do not expose any more flesh than the males in the same office. Do not wear shoes that have heels higher than the highest men’s heel, i.e. about two inches. There should be no toe cleavage, in fact the higher the vamp the better. You see it is that “battle” thing again. The arch is a vulnerable place on the body. When you expose it, you are saying, “I am not her to work as an equal, I am here to be protected by the men”. This obviously goes for collarbones. The only shoes in the post of Oct. 19th that were nearly appropriate were the Steve Madden brogues and they were a little cutesy.

    Men of the world can deduce a woman’s availability at 50 meters. How tight her clothes are says it all. So be comfortable and the statement that you will make is that you are there to work and not to hook-up.

    I found the “Dress for Success” books by John T. Malloy of the 1980s useful and still relevant.

    Having a mother and grandmother that were “Country Club Feminists”, I have always had an interest in equal rights. Looking at women in the 21st century, I wonder why you are all still wearing skirts and dresses. They are so “Burka”.

    As for which country club, you will have to guess. It is within an hour’s drive of Piedmont, where the family is about to celebrate the 100th year of our residence.

    I hope that the above is of some help. Of course, you have to bend the rules to fit your office.

    All the best.

    1. Men of the world can deduce a woman’s availability at 50 meters?

      Hmm… And if she is wearing tight clothes but is not available? Then… Their deduction is erroneous no? So maybe men can’t in fact deduce such a thing but merely form judgements that are sometimes right and sometimes wrong and always judgmental.

  15. Hope all is going well. I too was looking for the cashmere Vees. After quite a search on line I have somefrom Land’s End coming my way. We’ll see. I love when other people shop online for me so I’ll await your research. Have a good weekend. I’m going to catch up now. :)

  16. And a great weekend to you too.
    You will have fun researching for your wardrobe missing elements I am sure. Bought a lovely cashmere V neck and a great shirt – from Monoprix in Paris. Now I think they would be just perfect for your office business/smart casual style..! x

  17. Prep West, work is not war. No one gets killed every day at work. The metaphor is counterproductive to sustaining effective, profitable workplaces and creates a culture of fear and defensiveness.

    I agree that women need to pay attention to their physical presentation, but times have changed in the last 30 years, since “Dress for Success”. 60 is not the new 40, it’s 60. (I assess my career experience as similar to yours. I am 63.)

  18. I’ve thought of you and your new adventure a great deal lately. I’m in a transition of my own. I love it so much that I sometimes neglect my duties at home and sometimes feel bitter about it. But, you remind me that my children will grow quickly and even now that I take time for myself, I’ll also make time for them too.

    I hope you settle into your new routine without much trouble. I have no doubt that you will.

  19. Victoria:

    A clue that gives a man evidence that is generally useful in his social life is not an absolute, nor is it a judgment of the woman in question. It is just a gauge of her possible social intent that she may or may not be consciously trying to convey. It is a shame that you seem to feel that most men are judgmental and assume that in all cases where a male co-worker or superior notices more form fitting clothes on a woman, that they will pass judgment on her negatively. They may just sub-consciously be “drawn” to her in the future. I think that you will find that it is women that are socially less forgiving. To quote the late Margaret Mead, “Where men make rules for war, women just kick below the belt”. I wonder what your comment would have been if you had believed that I was female.


    Just because people are not carried out in body bags, does not mean that there are not Darwinian processes at work no matter what we call them. Just look at the new studies showing the negative health effects of workplace stress etc. and what about the people who suicide six months after being fired. I agree that this is all caused by bad management techniques. Nevertheless, even in a perfect work environment, there will still be competition. People will seek to better themselves by getting promotions raises etc. In order to achieve those ends they will endeavor to be better in all things in the eyes of their superiors. I’m sure that you are aware of the studies that show that people think more highly of better looking people. Are you aware of the study that shows that in American elections, 75% of the time the taller candidate wins?

    I found “Dress for Success” in a used bookstore in 2002. Its studies on colors are just as relevant today as they were when it was written. The whole “Preppy” style revival is being propelled by the need for the security of sturdy clothes caused by the state of the economy. As the French say, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”.

    In the brave new world that we live in, 60 is the new 40 for those that embrace life. Anger at life will just age you faster. Don’t you want to be able to walk along a beach and watch a sunset when you are 110? I do and for me 45 is the new 30.

    Dear Priv:

    I’m sorry that my post caused such controversy and misunderstanding. I was just trying to be helpful. In that vein, I will add this. The lowest gender related salary gap is in Information Technology, 2%. The most effective resume enhancer is either an Oracle or a Microsoft Database Administrator certification. Everybody has databases. You can study at home for about $2k and in year have an enhancement to your current career or a completely new one.

    Sincerely yours,

    Prep West

  20. Julia – Knit blazers to follow.

    Jan – Oh yes it is.

    Kathy – Thank you so much! I did get another J. Crew button front. It’s on the way.

    Pam – My pleasure. Thank you.

    Flo – Here’s the thing. I LIKE the flared leg. Muffy’s got long pins. Different for her.

    Hostess – A Land’s End is on the way:). Gumps really targets affluent women of leisure, for their clothing at least. That said, certainly warrants a visit.

  21. rb – Oooh, thanks for the tip.

    Patsy – OK. Following all the recommendations here! The public in SF is pretty well-washed. At least on that route:).

    Mise – Yes, but of course I’m anxious about it:).

    DaniBP – I am learning from well-dressed folk like you.

    Tabitha – Got it. Think Blueberry. And no, no I’m not cutting it.

    flwjane – Comments here are the best. I kind of imagine the room in which we all are sitting, with tea, wine, ginger ale, and single malt scotch at will.

  22. Mrs. SLPS – Hope Monday’s post is helpful.

    Duchesse – No one ever scrutinizes my performance as much as I do myself.

    RoseAG – I’m predicting a trim very soon. Complete with more updo lessons.

    Cynthia – OK. I will stop on by. Thank you.

    Jessica – Aw. Kind words are so nice to hear. Thank you.

    Stephanie – Thank you.

  23. Dawn – Patsy is a keeper.

    Prep West – I am saving my thoughts on this for a future post. As one does. No worries. We appreciate all sorts of opinions, as long as they are voiced in a kindly manner. I was not offended, although as you can imagine I would like to deconstruct the various ideas.

    Marilyn – I love it when so many great women say the same thing.

    Fuji – <3

    Sarah - I wonder if Monoprix is online? Hadn't occurred to me!

    Victoria - I think it's more precise to say that men will make assumptions about a woman's availability at 50, even 100 meters:).

    Lori - I wish you so much good fortune in this transition, and adventure. I imagine you will figure out the right way to give your kids and yourself what everyone needs, if not always what they want.

Comments are closed.