Fashion & Beauty

Isn’t it Rich? The Wall Street Journal Take on Workwear

August 8, 2017



From left to right, Prada embroidered cardigan, Lafayette 148 New York tweed skirt, Ganni leopard maxi dress.


I’M A REGULAR READER of The Wall Street Journal’s Off Duty section (there’s almost always something I want to read, be it about fashion, food, even cars). But this past Saturday’s feature fashion story entitled “Weekday Update” made me shake my head. The idea behind the article is that pre-fall merchandise (yes, there is such a thing) is arriving in stores right about now, and the suggestion is to buy a piece or two to refresh your wardrobe. The story highlights four items whose straightforward design will have staying power (presumably to justify the cost). My beef is that even for highly paid wolves of Wall Street, the price tags for this stuff are exorbitant. A Christian Dior floral midi frock in “moody shades” is $4,600, but because of a densely detailed print you needn’t worry if a splash of vinaigrette from your desk-side salad splatters on it. Really? Only if you have a dry cleaner who can peform magic or a spare $4,600 for another Dior dress.

The story’s suggested updates from Louis Vuitton, Victoria Beckham, Prada and Dior had me pondering alternatives, which I found, a couple of them for a fraction of the price. Take note:

Left, Louis Vuitton cashmere asymmetrical skirt. Right, Lafayette 148 New York pencil tweed skirt.

Louis Vuitton’s cashmere asymmetric skirt (above left) is $2,750; we found a similar look —Lafayette 148 New York’s midi pencil skirt  (above right) for $398 from Saks Fifth Avenue. Save money and pair the skirt with Everlane’s white oversize shirt ($65) instead of WSJ’s suggestion of The Row’s $990 shirt. Sub a Vince Camuto cute bootie ($149.95)  for Celine’s $990 mule.

Left, Victoria Beckham silk Grandad shirt. Right, Zara cotton oversize shirt with faux pearls.

Instead of Victoria Beckham‘s bold-print silk Grandad Shirt (above left, $1,240), a brightly striped cotton one (above right) from Zara. The hem is longer in the back and it’s studded with faux pearls for a feminine twist on a traditional menswear look. It will set you back $39.90.

Left, Prada embellished cardigan. Right, J. Crew Jackie cardigan.

A cardigan for overzealous AC and for coming cooler weather makes perfect sense. And Prada’s angora-blend with beaded floral embroidery (above left, $2,820) adds sparkle to a staple. But what a splurge, given that every corner thrift or vintage store has several of these gussied-up cardigans for sale. (Zoe Kazan who plays opposite Kumail Nanjiani in “The Big Sick” wears such a vintage sweater in several scenes; her mother, played by Holly Hunter, even borrows it.) J. Crew is embellishing its Jackie style (above right) with embroidered print, polka dot sequins or tulle for about $80-$100.

Left, Christian Dior floral midi dress. Right, maxi dress with leopard print from Ganni.

Fashion’s fascination with floral patterns has not quit. (I kind of wish it would, not being much of a floral-wearing person myself). Get the same idea as the Dior (above, left) for many thousands less—with an on-trend leopard print maxi dress (above, right) from Danish designer Ganni ($216,
—Janet Kelly





7 thoughts on “Isn’t it Rich? The Wall Street Journal Take on Workwear

  1. Will someone (you?) PLEASE explain Prada to me? For how many years have I been thinking, Someday I’ll “get” it. I have not. All I think when I see a Prada piece (pick a piece, any piece) is The Emperor’s New Clothes, and envision her chuckling to the bank. (As a follow-up to this, please take on GOOP!)

    1. Janet Kelly says:

      Prada’s deal is jolie-laide. And some of the stuff is admittedly laide. However, she does make some beautifully tailored clothes along with the ones that are on the runway and in fashion mags. I’ve got this black wool jacket that fits in all the right places. I don’t get GOOP. Putting jade eggs in your vagina; that’s nuts. In fact, here’s a story in the NYT written by a doctor questioning the sanity of GOOP stories.

  2. alice barkus says:

    Thank you, Janet. At last, some common sense – I reacted the exact same way to the article.

    1. Janet Kelly says:

      Who eats a salad at their desk in a $4,000 dress?!

      1. Someone who can’t afford to go out to lunch.

        1. Kathy Legg says:

          Because they just spent $4000 on a dress.

          1. Janet Kelly says:

            Right. Who can afford a meal, let alone a mortgage or rent, after that purchase. Insane!

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