“Marie Claire @ Work” Still Not Grasping the Concept

The second edition of “Marie Claire @Work,” supplement to Marie Claire magazine, is out, showing a picture of actress Salma Hayek on the cover. Unlike actress Katie Holmes, who appeared on the cover of the first edition in a bathing suit, Hayek is dressed in a fashionable version of a suit. She looks spectacular in a cutaway jacket and  tight skirt from Alexander McQueen and “her own” low-cut vest that flaunts her cleavage.

The look is entirely appropriate for a mega-star known for her sex appeal. However, posing in a look that draws all eyes to her breasts and the rest of her extraordinary figure, she is not a role model of how to dress for women who want to succeed in the corporate world. There is a time to look breathtakingly sexy. While at work is not that time.

The “@ Work” supplement is a publication targeted to professional and other working women, self-described as “Your Get-Ahead Guide for Career, Style & Success.”  The rest of the “@ Work” supplement is a combination of good advice and some very misguided ideas. Among the features is a six-page spread entitled “Office Supplies” purporting to demonstrate: “Style investments inspired by yesteryear’s essentials” including “rings the size of paperweights.”

This photo from the ”@ Work” supplement demonstrates Marie Claire‘s idea of how a work look might be accessorized, putting together five wristwatches, a bracelet, and eight cocktail rings. The appropriateness of the styling has as much credence as the likelihood of finding the pictured powder blue manual typewriter at a place of business.

Another photo from the same feature shows an open-weave lace skirt accompanied by bracelets and rings that almost certainly would catch on the weave of the skirt. The peek-a-boo style of the skirt, as attractive as it is, presents another office no-no.

In choosing work wear, it’s important to consider the image one wants to convey. Overtly sexy fashion choices and an over-abundance of jewelry do not support a professional image. There are all manner of ways to adapt current fashions so as to look stylish and yet be office-appropriate in dress.

It’s time for fashion magazines that purport to provide style guidance to working women, to employ stylists –  or to engage image consultants – who have spent time in the corporate world outside the realm of fashion, and who can provide the magazines with a reality check.