Twenty-six Years Ago


No, this isn’t a birthday post, although I think Meredith – who was born 24 years ago this month – might find this amusing. I got it from a Book Bench article by another Meredith, Huffington Post and the New Yorker’s Meredith Blake. In her article, she juxtaposes a recent article in The Atlantic (Hanna Rosin’s “The End of Men”) with 1984’s The Working Woman Report: Succeeding in Business in the 80s.

It can be tricky for a woman to know what to wear to work these days, because there are just so many options and so few hard-and-fast Emily Post rules. Must one wear a suit? A skirt? Heels? Is a sleeveless dress okay? (Hey, the First Lady wears them!) Is it ever okay to wear nice jeans to work? What about piercings and tattoos – they’re extremely popular, but do they have to be hidden for the 9-to-5?

There’s just no one, simple answer! It’s all so confusing!

Not so in the 1980s. Working women of that fine era had it easy: there was a right thing to wear.

Ms. Blake’s favorite parts are those about glasses and brunettes, which she points out “seem more like music-video tropes than matters of scientific fact.” I’m amused by the idea that you shouldn’t change your hairstyle.

I was younger than 10 years old throughout the 1980s, so I can’t say whether this is an accurate depiction of “women in the workplace.” Anyone out there have any personal experience? I mean, I can visualize scenes from Murphy Brown, but who knows how much to take from that… 🙂