Pockets over Purses

I just did an inventory of my closet and realized that I have no less than 11 blazers. Granted, these have been collected over many years, but the finding still shocked me. Especially, considering my boyfriend’s humble wardrobe contained only 5 blazers, despite him wearing a suit to work basically every day.

However, what was even more shocking was the fact that only two of my blazers have – what I call – a “business pocket” (thank you, Massimo Dutti!). You know, that little pocket on the inside of the blazer.

I’ve always been fascinated by all the stuff men seem to fit in this little pocket. It’s like a male Mary Puppins bag, from where men pull the most random stuff. Once, I evenย witnessed a coworker pull out a bar of chocolate from his business pocket in a meeting. Although he was kind enough to offer me a piece, I was still bummed out by the fact that I did not have a chocola… sorry, business pocket myself.

After starting working full time and attending my fair share of business meetings with clients, I have come to miss the business pocket for other reasons than storing chocolate. You see, in the shipping industry (in which I work), we love business cards. Seriously, if you attend a meeting with someone without getting their business card, it’s like they weren’t even there. Business card, or it didn’t happen!

Which leads me to this question: Where should women keep their business cards, if not in the business pocket? Usually we keep our stuff in a purse, right, but we don’t really carry purses around in the office. Our pants pockets are too small, plus you don’t really want weird shapes and sharp edges down there(!). And carrying them around in your hand definitely seems too desperate.

You see, this is a serious (first) world problem, which has made me invisible in the memory of a lot of potential connections!ย Therefore I make the following plea to every designer out there, making female blazers: PLEASE give us business pockets so we can lean in and leave our physical mark on a meeting! Thank you.

P.S.ย Of course Iย declined the sweaty piece of pocket chocolate from my co-worker… or did I…

Bags and Business

When a friend of mine completed a grueling two-year graduate program, she celebrated her subsequent promotion and first ever salary negotiation by buying herself a designer bag.ย When she brought it to work, proud as ever, the first comment she received was: “Well look at that, we are definitely paying you too much“. Although the comment was (I assume) meant as a joke, allย her fears related to the salary negotiation immediately reappeared.

In the book “That’s What She Said”, Joanne Lipman explains how men are four times more likely than women to ask for a raise – and when women do ask, we typically request 30 percent less than men do. Luckily, she says, this gap appears to be closing somewhat among younger women, such as my friend. Still, women are far from parity when it comes to negotiating pay.

Thus, the next time you see a young business woman carrying a designer bag, I urge you to either congratulate her on negotiating a good salary for herself, or acknowledge her conscious financial choices that has allowed her to save up for it (that is what I call priorities!).

Or, you know, maybe she received the bag as a present from her generous parents…ย I guess most of us rarely know the exact financial situation of our colleagues (or friends, even). Thus, don’t judge a book by the expensive watch or designer bag on it’s arm!