Sunday, June 28, 2009

Career Girls

I've been making an interview dress from the reissue of this Simplicity jumper pattern. Don't those girls on the envelope look smart? Do you think they're resentfully commuting to their jobs in the typing pool, just waiting for a marriage proposal so they can quit? Or are they young whippersnappers with CEO dreams?

As I'm honing my career girl image, I keep thinking of the book The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe. It is the ultimate in scandalous office tales of the 50's. It's like Mad Men, but set in the world of book publishing. And the clothing descriptions are fabulous. Just check out the first paragraph:
You see them every morning at a quarter to nine, rushing out of the maw of the subway tunnel, filing out of Grand Central Stations, crossing Lexington and Park and Madison and Fifth avenues, the hundreds and hundreds of girls . . . They carry the morning newspapers and overstuffed handbags. Some of them are wearing pink or chartreuse fuzzy overcoats and five-year-old ankle-strap shoes and have their hair up in pin curls underneath kercheifs. Some of them are wearing chic black suits (maybe last year's but who can tell?) and kid gloves and are carrying their lunches in violet-sprigged Bonwit Teller paper bags. None of them has enough money.
Oh, the kid gloves and chartreuse overcoats and chic black suits! Doesn't it all seem so glamorous?

The Best of Everything
is an awesome and (unintentionally) hilarious book. Caroline Bender, the 20-year-old heroine, gets a job in the typing pool at a book publishing house. Soon she's climbing her way up the corporate ladder. She goes out for multiple double scotches with the sexy office men every evening, yet still manages to read an entire manuscript before the next morning. And all the manuscripts are fabulous and brilliant.

Why couldn't I have worked in publishing in the 50s? Sigh. But then again, the moral of the story is that if you pursue a career as a single gal, you'll get pregnant and fall down a flight of stairs and die. So tragic!


  1. LOL I'm going to have to read this one. Sounds great!

  2. Have you seen the movie? Joan Crawford, Hope Lange and Suzy Parker are in it and the clothes are amazing!
    I just found your blog, and I love your work!

  3. Meredith, I highly recommend it as a trashy summer read.

    Kitty, thanks for stopping by! I was just thinking that I desperately need to see the movie as well.

  4. I have the reissue of this pattern and it's probably my favourite. So easy to use and it looks great.

    I'm really loving your blog. I'm going back through and reading all the older entries. Keep up the good work!

  5. God, you're hilarious! I love those books too. I read "Pardon My Body" a couple of months ago--same kind of message.

  6. I love this pattern. And I work in publishing.
    Hmmm... I started off in a similar way but ended up with a successful (so far) career.


Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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