July 22, 2013

Cubicle Free

I've been thinking a lot about what work means to the average person, and especially what work looks like in our world at Vintage Vixen.  We had a small feature in the local paper recently, which brought a friendly influx of interested folks from the community inquiring about our business.  Their impression of our workplace is usually one of great interest and generates lots of questions.

Soon after that I was lucky enough to tour a huge mail-order facility that specializes in secondhand goods.  That business is operating on a large scale with a goal of surpassing the $2 million mark in annual gross revenue this year.  My impression of their workplace was keen interest too, as I compared and contrasted our workflow, efficiency and division of labor.

Then I ran across this kitsch vintage photo styled for a Revlon shoot back in the late 1970s.  ... A working woman looks just as glamorous (perhaps more so) in a man's world.  Her work is now elegant, transformed by technology.  Electronics like this are the wave of the future...  And here we are riding the wave.

It's a strange place to be.  On the one hand, I could paint my nails and sit primly at my "word processor" and look terribly glamorous every day.  On the other hand, technology's ridden us so far into the "future" (as seen from the vantage point of 1978) that we're no longer needing a man's world, or any world, in which to work and be seen by the public.  We simply work from our homes, our current place...  Our pockets, essentially.  No need for red fingernails if no one's looking.

Then again, we specialize in glamour here.  And classic beauty, and kitsch, and gamine elegance, and so much more, because we're vintage clothing.  So why not dress the part?  And we do, when we want to.  Years ago we used to have Dress-Up Fridays (as opposed to casual Fridays) at Vintage Vixen, just to enjoy the heck out of our clothes.  Now that I have kids, my dress-up days are sporadic, but they're relished, and I love it when someone comes into work with a fresh look.  There's a spring in their step, and a beautiful style for us all to enjoy.

Other days it's all non-vintage outfits, and sometimes pretty vanilla but comfortable, and there's a different enjoyment in that too.  And occasionally there's a pajama day, at least on my part.  I once told an employee I be okay with her arriving at work in pajamas herself.  She never took me up on that one.

I think it's because we can (and do) push the envelope in our working environment, but in this new style of workplace that couldn't have existed twenty years ago, we aren't sure how far to push it.  Yet we're cherishing the individualism that this kind of cubicle-free workplace provides.  I don't think I'm ever going to conform and do things like paint my nails (or even grow them long enough to click as I type), but I love to dress.  And thankfully we work in a place that allows dressing just how we like it.

Photo Source: Professional Fashion Photography by Robert Farber, 1978.


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