There was a time when department store "shopgirls" dressed to an impeccable standard. The dress code was strict; dresses, skirts, silk blouses, pearls, and the ever-present heels. The standard was high and the outfits had to represent the quality, look, and perceived image of the your department. It was like a uniform of good taste. I could imagine many of the girls spending their meager salaries maintaining the dress code.
|Crowley-Milner Department Store|
Detroit, Michigan, 1941
There is no question that I remember how the sales associates dressed. Otherwise, I only got to see those dresses on Sunday at church. Here everything was, all on display to make me only wish and wish.
I also remember Kim Knovak in the 1958 movie Vertigo. Scottie (Jimmy Stuart) obsessed with a woman he thinks he saw commit suicide, searches. He finally finds someone that looks her:
|Kim Novak as Judy in Vertigo 1958|
She tells him her name is Judy Barton, she works at a department store, and she's from Salina, Kansas. Growing agitated, she pulls out her identification and shows it to him.
I love the way Kim Novak looked in that movie. She was a strikingly beautiful woman in both of the parts. Especially the transformation when she want from being Judy (shopgirl) back to the beautiful Madeline. The swept-back platinum hair, and the grey pencil skirt suit with heels.
Sorry, I have regressed down memory lane. What do sales associates wear now? I was told during orientation that almost anything goes; pants encourage, tops modest, comfortable shoes "a must" and hair and make-up stylish (not extreme). I learned to comply after one day in modest heels paying the price after an eight-hour "on-your-feet" day. Sneaker, like above, became a must from then on. The outfit above is my typical go-to-work look, which also included skinny blue jeans. Distressed jeans were specifically discouraged. Not much different from my everyday look.
The decision on what to wear is easy. Choose a simple outfit, do my hair, makeup, and out the door in about 20 minutes. So much for my 50's "shopgirl" fantasy.
The above "Lauren Ralph Lauren Stretch Boatneck Top" was a recent addition and will be a wear-to-work top.
Next time in a retail store (not Walmart or Costco) take a look at the sales staff. Times have changed.
|Kim Knovak as Madeline|
Photo from the site
"The Vintage Woman"