I decided to write this post because an acquaintance (Rodney L!) of mine recently got to meet Stacy London one of the hosts from “What Not to Wear”. I am so jealous! Yes, I watched the show and loved it. I have applied a number of ideas to my own fashion issues. A tailor or seamstress is a great person to know!
Ok, seriously, I do love shoes, but my jobs require sensibility and utility. This usually means something I can move quickly in, or something protective, like work boots. Even office employees in New York City have learned (since September 11th) to have sensible shoes available for emergencies or for the trek before and after work to and from the subway or train. Fancy footwear can prove to be problematic as well as painful, for long walks and not at all good in debris or if you have to run.
As a Police Officer and in Private Security I wore a uniform. The Uniform, like most uniforms, is designed for safety, protection, to project authority and presence. As a Police Detective, my wardrobe changed. A good tailor became very useful. Women’s clothing didn’t have pockets like men’s. I’m tall and I found most womens suiting jackets were too short. Sometimes, I bought menswear and had it taken in or altered to fit properly as well as to conceal my firearm. I had internal and hidden pockets added to some of my clothing for keys, a tape-recorder and other stuff. Female Police Detectives do not carry purses or wear high heels to work! These days there are so many more clothing options for women who work in non-traditional careers or even if they just want to get their concealed pistol license and carry concealed. It’s not easy to hide guns!
Let’s talk about the dress code for investigators. There isn’t one. What I mean to say is that there isn’t just one wardrobe or dress code. You have to look professional when meeting with clients. If you are going into a dangerous neighborhood you don’t want to bring attention to yourself or to the fact you might be armed. It’s jeans and a hoodie or simple nondescript clothing. If you are doing surveillance on a subject at a football game, then you’re wearing a team jersey and hat. If you are crawling army style through a field, you don’t want to wear your good clothing (oh and make sure some big ugly bug that you’ve never seen before doesn’t catch a ride back with you…true story).
What I’m trying to say is that for every job, situation, arena, or organization there is probably a right and wrong way to dress. The key is to blend into your surroundings. Sparkles and glitter or fancy duds will just attract attention (unless that is your goal). As an investigator, your wardrobe may include clothes that are too big (so you can layer and change your appearance alter your size and shape), glasses, hats (baseball, cowboy, stocking, straw/beach) and different styles of clothing and shoes that you would not normally wear. I highly recommend a good wig (so much fun!) and have found that even people that know me do not recognize me at all. I can make myself look ten years younger or older with makeup and clothing. And maybe, once in a great while, in the right surroundings, one could wear some heels. But make sure you can run (or walk) in them.