This past week my colleagues and I were featured in the Wall Street Journal’s Work Wear series. The series, if it’s new to you, uses photographs and brief quotes to document how people at different companies and organizations dress. There’s been plenty said about library fashions, and too often coverage falls yawningly and predictably into one of three themes: librarians are sexy, librarians wallow in cat hair-covered linen, or librarians surprise us with their stylishness. So, all in all, I was pleased that after the obligatory joke about sensible shoes and cardigans, the Wall Street Journal avoided these easy routes and let the staff and their clothes speak for themselves.
I was flattered to be featured alongside some very fashion forward colleagues since, as you may guess, I make lots of my clothes and don’t even like to shop for new workwear. But chosen I was, and so I had the chance to dress as a sewist does. I wore my Lisette Passport Dress, which I’ve not reported on making here. But I recommend this pattern without reservation: it’s quick but interesting to construct, and it was easily adjusted to fit my frame. I will make more versions of it in the future.
Apparently the library stairs pose that the Wall Street Journal photographer selected for me is a classic when it comes to library fashion spreads. Here’s a picture from the July 1960 issue of Mademoiselle (photo: Carmen Schiavone; from “New Ways to Swing the Blues,” Mademoiselle, July 1960, 266-271) that a fellow librarian sent to me after seeing my own photo. Don’t ask me why she’s rubbing that folio against her head.
Although the rolling stairs might remain constant, there is no one right style or single set of “school of librarian” fashion rules, no matter what others might say. As a profession, we contain multitudes, and that’s as it should be. As for me, I’ll keep stitching what strikes my fancy.