Home     About     Contact     Press     Yellow Skirt     SKETCHES

Sunday 18 October 2015

How to dress to impress at the office

to get 

Mel Kobayashi tries to get your attention in a stupid way, Bag and a Beret

I noticed that my new 
popup NEWSLETTER subscription notice 
was covering crucial bits in the photo. 

Aren't you glad I took it out? 

There is a rumour that blogging is dead; people can't be bothered reading anymore. With that in mind, I considered changing Bag and a Beret to a nudie blog with nudie photos all the time, no reading required. But after several seconds of soulful contemplation I decided, no - it is time to grow up and become a serious style blogger. 

Reading is not dead. Many women, especially those over 40, will brave up to 200 words for great styling tips, and who better to dish them out than moi? Welcome to my first post as a Professional Style Blogger.

Mel Kobayashi, professional style blogger
Mel Kobayashi, Professional Style Blogger
How to Dress to Impress at the Office

Note, my hair is tame, sophisticated, no more tower hair. I am wearing a tailored black blazer over a crisp white blouse, and, ever mindful of current trends, I have added a tasteful splash of colour - one must be careful never to go overboard in this department! - with a new skinny scarf tied like a man's tie. Coffee, glasses, and intellectual reading matter in a foreign language top off the look.

Stunning example of office wear for women over 40, Bag and a Beret

But what you wear with the blazer and blouse is equally, if not more, important. I chose black tights and sensible mid-height heels flattering to my ankles and kind on my feet when rushing to and from top-flight professional meetings with top-drawer people.

There are a few caveats one must keep in mind when dressing with true Professional Style like I am demonstrating here, such as being mindful that the skirt doesn't wipe everything off your colleagues' desks as you walk past and exercising care around handbags, zippers, cufflinks, fingernails, pens, books, cameras, eating utensils, jewellery, other people, and even strollers to prevent snags. Doorways are a challenge. Elevators and cars too. And chairs. 

The pouffy skirt is, however, a perfect tabletop for cradling eyewear and other small smooth objects in a pinch. 

Bag and a Beret, Mel Kobayashi in a tutu

On second thought, maybe I'll just keep blogging the way I always have, flying by the seat of my pants - which are actually getting quite worn now, but at least they haven't come all the way off like my top in that first photo. 

This shoot was a blast. I have so many outtakes.


I am troubled that people really don't seem to be reading as much anymore. Or maybe it's not true? This was encouraging though: the always-stylish Une Femme d'un Certain Age linked readers to an awesome Instagram account a while ago called Hot Dudes Reading. Am I the last to know of it - 710,000 followers. It's photos of, yeah, hot dudes reading books, real ones. 

Okay, this is INCREDIBLY derivative but the issue of reading has been on my mind, so here is: 

Hot Harridans Reading

Besides, "hot" can have so many meanings for women over 40. This is a photo O took of me reading a fun book by Christina Schwarz called All is Vanity - hehIt's about a man who rips off another man's manuscript and what happens. Comic suspense. (Edit: No, All is Vanity is about a woman who thinks she's a genius writer and quits her day job to write the great novel - I have too many books on the go, mostly about failed and/or seriously flawed writers - what does that mean? - and I can't keep them straight. The ripped-off manuscript is in a book called About the Author by John Colapinto.)

Hot Harridans Reading, Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret

I usually wear double glasses when I read, 
regular prescription glasses and reading glasses. 
I know - so HOT!!

If you have a photo of yourself reading, leave a link in the comments section below so others can drop by. If you're on IG I'll have a hashtag there too. WE READ. WE LOVE READING!!!

I'm hooking a photo from my brief professional style blogging career to Patti's Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style. I try not to miss it; she has the best parties.

I'll also link to Not Dressed as Lamb's #iwillwearwhatilike when it goes live. Thanks Catherine!

I hope you've had a good week, everyone. I'm still getting used to being on IG. So far, so good.

Ulla-Marie of DUDE (looks like a Lady) HERE
Val of Muse Fondue HERE
Connie of snow in the air HERE and HERE
Señora Allnut of Señora Allnut HERE.
Pao at Project Minima HERE.


  1. I like to reeding. I are a gud reeder. I like bloggz. I like to Eet cukkies. I wil post pikchurs of ME reeding very soon. You are a nice belly dansur. I like yr two two.

  2. Scrolling down, loving the uber cool professional look, laughing out loud when I saw the tutu, husband looking over to see what's going on. He just doesn't really get it, though. But at least he reads. And I read. Can't live without a book. I will take pictures of me reading and post them - I think that's a great meme to get started, and I must check out the dudes.

    Nudity is dead. Didn't you hear? Playboy is not doing nudes anymore. So you should stick to that uber cool professional tutu look and the double eyeglasses. Sexay!!!

  3. ROFLOL seems so lame, but truly your posts have me laughing out loud.

    Guests of the Four Seasons will never be the same. guys reading...did you notice most of them are on public transit? Just sayin' nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Oops...gotta go catch my train.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I never suits and I often say that I don't think women should have to dress like men to be taken seriously. Right now I changed my opinion totally. Suit and ballet-skirt - Adorable queer. And you are so cool in androgynous style. This is an old post, but I'm Reading in one of the pictures. Even reading in a lovely place at home.

  6. That is blooming hilarious!! I have totally freaked out my fellow train passengers by laughing out loud on this very crowded train. Was NOT expecting that tutu in the second suit shot after you looking so snooty and superior in the first one! I should've, given that a) it was 1 and b) it is you.
    So funny!!!
    Reading is definitely not dead, hurrah!!! I'm reading some great books at the moment!
    Will pose with a book next time I photograph an outfit!x

  7. Hot guys reading books? I like it!! Reading IS sexy...especially the unexpected realisation that someone Can actually read...and not just look "hot".
    Speaking of "hot".....Those LEGS!!!
    No wonder you dispensed with the pencil skirt and donned the tutu.
    If your sensible hair does not seal the deal then you could dazzle them with a petit jete!!
    Fake Fabulous

    P.s.I love how you blog as yourself....if that makes sense? Just a little bit bonkers, but authentic. That is the most important thing about enjoying a blog (for me) is that the voice I am reading sounds genuine. There are many "pretenders" but the truth conquers all!

  8. i envy you ability to be ironic!! i laughed so loud the cat jumped from the sofa!
    would you mind if i feature you for my (mostly tame and ernest) german readers? love you!

  9. Lovely look! The husband loved it too. He is big Monty Python fan and there was just a whiff of their sense of the ridiculous about this one :)
    We are both avd readers, but no photos. Too much double chin!

  10. Melanie!!! Hahaaa, love it!! Love the double specs!
    Oh yes, I do love to read - I don't have a photo of myself reading though. If you're on Goodreads, check me out.

  11. I like the words - please keep the words.

    Office appropriate is odd - like school uniform for those who think they are still at school and have made it to school prefect status. I was the class swot whilst looking like I should be with the smoking behind the bikeshed crowd necking cheap cider. Keep messing with their minds Melanie. Commiserations for anyone who has to comply with office appropriate/oh my gawd its a woman dress code. Destroy from within.

  12. Hahahahahaha! This was such a fun and funny post! I wanted to subscribe to your newsletter and clicked on a nipple. That's what I was supposed to do right?

    I like the idea of wearing a fluffy table around my waist. I often need a shelf to put stuff. Life would be so much easier. Where are my keys? right where you left them, on the table. Who ate my candy bar? Ooops, no one. It's right here on my table. Chairs, cars and doorways will become obsolete once this table skirt takes off. Sitting will be "so yesterday!"

    I liked Connie's comment! Ha ha!

    Photos of me reading? Nope. Reading on a Kindle doesn't look sexy.


  13. OK, you get the Best Scroll-Down award for that tutu. (The trophy is a giant index finger on a trackpad. Useful as a paperweight for your desk.) The older I get, the more traditional Corporate Drag makes me break out in hives; this is the perfect antidote. Would have loved to follow you as you strolled down the sidewalk with a video camera to catch the reactions. Brilliant post as always.

  14. hehehehe. phew, so needed that poke at professional style bloggers. I mean is there a degree for that? or a credential? or are you professional because you get $? or because you say you are? or because you take yourself seriously? Is it like being an artist? You are because you make art, you say you are, others say you are?

    Anyway, you're sporting a great look for anywhere, I say. Even for reading. Especially with double glasses. Now there's a trend.

  15. Oh Lordy, best scroll down of the year! Love the double glasses, must try. Xo

  16. perfect office wear. As for hot guys reading, maybe it's really hot guys holding books and pretending to read?

  17. perfect office wear. As for hot guys reading, maybe it's really hot guys holding books and pretending to read?

  18. As always, you are a delight. I would "read" your blog if you only posted pages from the phonebook - along with those hilarious images.

    The scroll down on the tutu full length as perfect!

  19. Ha! I love you! Us poor over 40s need all the help we can get. There just aren't enough blogs out there telling us how we can't live without a crisp white shirt or how to wear a pair of shoes. I've signed up. I can't get dressed without you. xxx

  20. In answer to your question, Beate, absolutely. I would be honoured!
    Ulla-Marie, I loved that photo of you the first time, and again now. Thanks for linking.

  21. mwahaha, love your Very Professional Advice about office dressing, yes!!! a tulle skirt is better than those awful post-its, it would trap any of those pieces of paper that I usually lose!
    And double glasses will be The Next Thing (after double bags and all kind of double stuff)
    Mr.A. is going to be obligued to take a pic of me reading any of the ridiculously pedant books I'm used to read, and then nobody will take me as a serious blogger!

  22. Ha! I laughed out loud when I scrolled down and saw the tutu, completely brilliant! :)

  23. Thanks for the great laugh this noon. I was starting to get depressed, thinking about those conservative business clothes. So glad I don't have to wear them.

  24. Ulla-Marie's "adorable queer" says it all really - what more can I add?! Genius outfit, genius you! And yes to reading - if people can't be bothered to read, that's their loss. Topless-in-a-tutu with double specs appeal reading is even better. xxxx

  25. Oh Melanie, where were you in my corporation days, eh? I could've done with this style advice back then. My life would've been so different if I'd know that all I needed to do to progress up the greasy pole was a tutu!! I mean I used to wear them all the time to bleeding ballet class!! That promotion lost because of a dearth of netting. I shall weep into my pot of noddles.
    On the upside, I still read. Have always loved reading and I shall read into my dotage. Hurrah for readers!!!

  26. I laughed. Loudly. Loudly out loud. All the way through.

    Please continue with your brand of refreshing professionalism. The reading (and non-reading) world NEEDS you!

  27. Now THAT'S the sort off style blog advice I like. you're the bestest Mel! and for the record - I read! I read and read and read! And I'd happily read anything you wrote Mel - even your shopping list!

  28. Every corporate look needs a tutu, specially with your legs attached.
    So funny , you always make my day.
    I love to read , no photos but this is a great idea.

  29. Omg! First i thought, yes that is how those women look and then i are such fun!

    I love to read. I just finished Karen Slaughter and i have started Nicci French.

  30. I'm with Une Femme! Best scroll down, which precipitated full blown laughter during my morning coffee. Comic relief in the morning will carry me through the day!

    It's fantastic to see you on IG and I know that your talent will soar whatever you decide to do.

  31. More tutus, please!

    I'll have to see if I can figure out how to selfie myself while reading book for IG. I've never done a selfie before. Can you believe it?

  32. If I had your legs, I'd wear a tutu every day!

  33. I was reading this post on my iPhone while I was waiting at the set where we shoot our new TV commercials. I know I know... sounds very glamourous as in fact I was freezing my ass off. No heating in the building, doors kept open all the time, waiting, waiting, waiting. Not really having anything to do there. Why was I there then in the first place? Don't ask. Politics.
    But there I was, going through your post laughing my head off, when I came to your talk about the importance of what to wear with the jacket and tie (awesome look on you by the way)..... I scrolled further and hit the tutu.... That finished me. I laughed so hard and loud they thought I had gone mad.
    Love this post.
    Do I read? Only magazines really. Too busy with work and blogging. An occasional book but not many. Shame really.

  34. Half the fun of having a dress code is fucking with it. Seriously, your ensemble today would have obeyed the letter of the law in most dress codes under which I have labored. Love the reveal.

    And the less people read, the greater our apparent intellect. Mark Twain had something to say about that.

  35. Hahahaha. Ahhhh, you got me. I saw your top half and it looked hella sophisticated. I was all about those white cuffs and then I scrolled down to find the skirt. Hehe. <3 A ballerina who means business. ;)

    - Anna

  36. Reading Rocks!! We LOVE reading! I love the photo of you reading in bed and the idea of a "Hot Harridans Reading" linkup. I was admiring how all "Professional-like" you looked and got a trifle worried until I scrolled down to the Tutu-terrific and was relieved. Just how long ARE your legs anyway?

    I already assumed that most people don't read my posts, they just look at the photos, and that's fine, but it makes me wonder if I should just move over to IG completely.

  37. I love your fly by the seat of your pants style!! I am still sniggering over that skirt knocking shit off peoples desks. Yay for peeps like you, oh and yes reading is still IN!!

  38. Well, yes, it gets harder to spot people with actual books on public transport, as opposed to the ubiquitous smartphone, so I do think it's sadly true that the general population reads less overall - or at least, may read lots, but in tiny segments, before attention wanes and is hooked by the next shiny thing. However, I actively head to your blog knowing I can settle down for a damn good read (and often an out-loud laugh, as with this one). Never mind the uplift and updraft of your tutu, every post here is uplifting!

  39. I love your SERIOUS day into night "transitional office wear" post. Why wear something that needs transitioning, when you can just knock it all out at once? Well-played Madame…well-played.

  40. You are so awesome! I love your tutu, and your double glasses! Brava! And here's to hot women (and men) reading!

  41. Oh, Mel, you did it again! A post that is funny, surprising, quirky... Pics that are cool and outfits that are crazy original and over the top! Loving all of it.

    I don't read books (paper) as much as I used to. A pile of 35 (!) books is waiting for me to be read since years now. I will get there...eventually.

    I do read magazines, like Greetje. And I read articles and ebooks on my laptop and ipad.

    Reading will always stay en vogue, I think.

  42. Yoo hoo! Toddled to the barnet shop this morning clutching my iPad & pointing at your latest blog & a pic of Tilda Swinton. 'I want it like that' I chirruped. 2 hours later I look more like Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harman in NCIS role). Ai ai ai - fandom gone wrongdom... Still with a bit of time and the right wind direction I may yet approximate your lush hair do. I'm seriously considering making the tutu my 'thing' for winter. X

  43. So damn happy you're on IG. And tutu xxx

  44. I just bought my THIRD tutu. No way in hell I can rock any of them as well as you can :-)


  45. your posts are always a pleasure to read so I'm happy to hear you'll continue writing! That first photo is adorable...and after seeing your bosslady pose it was such a suprise seeing the tutu...the visual image of tutu knocking stuff over in the office made me laugh...but best fashion is not very practical, just like great art.

    This outfit is totally gorgeous btw! I love your energy.

  46. YOU are a professional smile maker. We do seem to live in a very image driven time, where photos of highly curated lifestyles á la Kinfolk or fashion bloggers photoshopping thinner legs and thigh gaps for themselves is more alluring than reading. ON the other hand not everyone who writes writes well and the internet is one big party of self publishing. I generally cannot follow a blog where the writing makes me cringe but the good news is that there are plenty available with writing I enjoy and so many that I cannot keep on top of regularly reading them all, especially not when there are also books, journals, newspapers and magazines I also want to read. I love escapist images as much as anybody but I have always been and always will be a reader. I don't just pile my books all over the place, I read them too! I have an English Lit degree because it was so damned exciting to think I could just spend four years reading and I'd get a degree for it. I carry a novel in my bag much of the time and currently have a collection of short stories on my ipad, which I also carry in my bag. Last night I dreamed that I had moved into an apartment that was right next door to a library and I was very excited about. I don't think fewer people are reading, I just think the focus for non-reading time and for non-readers has shifted to internet images as a form of entertainment and that if it takes away from anything it takes away from conversation. I am not sure I ever saw two people sitting in a cafe together each reading and ignoring the other, but I regularly see people who are apparently friends or a couple, ignoring each other and totally absorbed in their smart phones. The social media they are addicted to is becoming increasingly image oriented. I am pretty sure the only reason to go to a cafe now is to photograph your latte and put the image on instagram along with all the other lattes. xoxoxo

    tl/dr oops

  47. I'm a reader and that's what I did, read carefully, studied the VERY professional looking you. Thought cripes, is this the Melanie I know and love? Scrolled down further and came to the tutu. Nearly fell off my chair laughing. Thank goodness, it's still you!

  48. I popped in on Connie and found your post. While sipping my morning coffee, I laughed like crazy. What an incredibly fun post. A perfect way to begin the week. Thank you! I'm aware of Hot Dudes Reading. And like you, I agree, the idea of reading becoming extinct is very sad, indeed. We've resorting to emojis instead of complete sentences :( <---- I feel sad.

  49. just had to be one of the many to let you know that you make my day ! so fun and clever - pin it !!!
    xoxo, w

  50. May I have the honor of being considered another Hot Harridan Reading? I've posted these ridiculous pics of a blogger reading as I felt involved!, I'm a reader!!!

  51. I love that you have such a loyal fan club, and we read!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...