- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Fur is fashionable this year in every color and in every piece of apparel possible. Stores, catalogs, and online retailers are selling fur jackets & vests and fur collared denim, ponchos, trench coats, even scarves, hats and gloves. Fur accents are styled as permanent or removable accents on shoes, sweaters, and handbags. Although fur was once reserved for the rich, in more recent years, fur was fashion that infuriated. Today, rabbit is the rage on the racks and designers are flying in the face of the “P.C.” era by offering it in the outrageous colors of Crayola. Faux and real fur fashion is available in magenta, timberwolf, cerulean, and purple mountain majesty from sizes petite to plus but many ask if it is the right fit for the office.

Nothing can beat walking in the winter in the warmth of fur. Even in the days of controversy, we could rationalize wearing mink, fox, broadtail because they are the best ways to protect us from the elements. In the case of decorative fur we need to tread tastefully and discretely to avoid offending co-workers or bumping into a gaudy zone. Instead of a fire engine red rabbit jacket or vest, consider a soft pastel trim on a sweater or coat cuffs. Have some fun with faux leopard, cheetah, zebra or tiger in coats, jackets, and in printed knits and accessories. Save your finest for your social life and keep work attire unintimidating and under-stated. This season in the office you should enjoy the fashion trend of fur as the icing rather than the cake!

Dear Jen:

More than once, a co-worker and I have worn nearly duplicate outfits on the same day. I want to be taken seriously but the “twin” look is getting me the wrong type of attention. Isabel - Arlington, VA

I think you are being too sensitive about it because this happens all the time. Dressing alike is mutual flattery so feel complemented and not offended.

Dear Jen:

I appreciated your column on casual day and dressing for the office and not for a Saturday picnic. Unfortunately, my staff are wearing logo T-shirts and worn jeans creating laid-back attitude that could potentially interfere with deadlines. How do we get control of this and make it a positive for everyone?

Caleb - Alexandria, VA

Clearly you need formal rules for Casual Day communicated by memo, email or announced at a company-wide meeting saying the goal is comfort without compromise. Give a list of approved apparel: jeans, khakis, trousers, button down shirts or any type of collard shirt and not-allowed: t-shirts, sneakers, worn or cut-off jeans.

Dear Jen:

We work in modular cubicles and on either side I have a guy and a gal both wearing too much cologne. Because our work is inter-related I cannot be relocated. How should I handle and keep the peace?

Maggie - Laurel, MD

Hopefully, they are thinking it about the other and might be relieved at your intervention. Explain that their cologne mixing together is giving you a headache so would they wear a little less to see if it makes a difference. Good luck.

Ms. Silano Foy is President of eFashion Solutions, LLC (www.efashionsolutions.com) and has been a consultant in the fashion industry for more than 10 years. Send workplace or corporate fashion questions to [email protected]

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