Dress for success and to impress

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By Stevie Lowery

Single ladies, listen up.
I have some advice that is going to change your life.
Thanks to my always helpful and never sarcastic news editor Stephen Lega, I recently had the pleasure of reading an insightful book, "The Woman's Dress For Success Book," written by John T. Molloy. It was published in 1977, two years before I was born.
Stephen found the book at the Marion County Public Library. Since it was free, he got it for me. He's thoughtful like that. And, apparently, he was trying to give me a not-so-subtle hint about my work attire.
A specific chapter that he pointed out to me was chapter six, "Dressing to Attract Men."
Again, Stephen's so subtle.
Out of pure curiosity, I read that chapter first. And I took notes. You're welcome, ladies.
First, the author doesn't give us tips on how to attract just any man. Oh no, he's very specific. He gives tips on attracting "men with old money" and "men with new money," along with doctors, scientists, accountants, engineers, lawyers, dentists, artists, musicians and writers.
According to the book, "men with old money" like four distinct looks in women: competence, femininity, athletic/outdoorsy, and slightly exotic.
To achieve the look of a competent woman, you should wear a skirted suit, which could be an "effective seduction garment." And, I don't know about you, but that's exactly what I think about when I look in my closet in the morning, "What ensemble can I throw together to create an effective seduction garment?"
To achieve a feminine look, wear soft silk dresses, frilly skirts and lace. "Soft silk dresses ring their bell," the author states. That is always our ultimate goal when choosing an outfit, right, ladies?
Now, if you're on the hunt for a young man with old money, they particularly like athletic women. But, ladies, these men don't just want you to look athletic, they want you to be athletic, too. "They are attracted to women who actually do ski, ride, swim and shoot." Just wearing that cute tennis skirt isn't enough. You have to be able to play tennis, too.
Duly noted.
To achieve the exotic look apparently requires wearing gaudy jewelry. "In our testing, these men reacted positively to a necklace of gold golf balls," the author states.
Really? Gold golf balls? That does the trick, eh?
Also, women must have lots of cash to afford "exotic" clothing, such as sandals with "real gold straps," or luggage that is made "only in Afghanistan."
Do what?
Some old money men have no taste whatsoever. One man said in the book, "I saw a girl in a dress embroidered with shells. I liked it."
I'm sorry, but I stopped wearing dresses embroidered with shells at age seven. Oh, who am I kidding? I never wore a dress embroidered with shells!
Wait, is that why I'm single?
For what it's worth, old-money men showed a strong preference for "dry-clean-only garments." Ummm... I have no idea why that matters, but as long as they can pay for the dry-cleaning bill, I'm fine with that.
Now, before we move on to the "men with new money" category, the author mentions one "taboo" that I must warn all of you single ladies about. Men with old money are totally turned off by women who wear masculine clothes. The author showed a group of men a picture of a woman in a man-tailored pinstriped suit with a vest, and almost all of them reacted negatively. "The polyester pantsuit look horrified them," the author states.
Wow. What's wrong with polyester? What a bunch of pansies.
Moving on... what do "men with new money" find attractive?
Doctors are attracted to women wearing "chic, with-it, up-to-date, and expensive clothing."
Well, of course they are.
Doctors also prefer thin women whose clothing says they are models and whose actions say they are socialites, according to the book.
Ummm ... is anyone actually surprised by this?
The author states that doctors are attracted to women who "display obvious status symbols ... women who wear labels on their handbags, umbrellas, and anything else a label can be slapped on."
So, I suppose a doctor would be impressed by my Kate Spade purse, which just so happens to be named "Stevie?" Hmmm ... I might be on to something here.
As one might guess, doctors are notoriously poor dressers who want their women to dress exquisitely, according to the book.
"That's why doctors' wives always look as if an expensive closet just fell on them," the author states.
To dress for doctors, simply buy whatever is being shown in the New York Times or fashion magazines and wear it even where it isn't appropriate. "Doctors have no sense of where clothes are appropriate," the author states.
This is just a hunch, but maybe that's because their patients are in hospital gowns?
According to the book, scientists and engineers are turned off by any hint of high fashion. "They consider fashionable women to be phonies and they will avoid them."
That's definitely not my problem. I have never considered myself to be of "high fashion." My twin sister even used to make fun of me because I was so fashionless. Yes, I just made that word up. If this Malloy character can write a book of such nonsense, I should be able to create my own words. It's hard to believe this book was on the New York Times bestseller list. Was there not much to read in 1977?
Last but not least, lawyers are attracted to women who "look like they would make excellent witnesses." Dentists are boring and apparently "under the influence of Novocain" because nothing rang their bell. And, artists, musicians and writers seem to be attracted to slobs. "That haphazard approach seems to go over with male artists."
So, why I haven't managed to attract a certain former boy band member whose initials are J.T. is beyond me. I'm no slob, but on some days, especially Mondays, I do the haphazard approach pretty well. Just ask my news editor.