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Thursday, November 15, 2012

I worked at Lehman Brothers — the now-defunct investment bank — from 2000 to 2005. I wore suits to the office most days, and always to an important meeting. This suit was by Luciano Barbera:

MrB should have told me my hair was sticking up in this photo. Click for original post.

A suit like that doesn’t work for most of my meetings now. After all, I’m discussing design, not money management, and my design sensibility isn’t traditional. I feel that my clothes should match the message of my jewelry, so during my wardrobe therapy with designer Stacy Lomman, we’ve been identifying looks for meetings with editors, store buyers and clients. (I prefer to wear jeans to meet with wholesalers and manufacturers. I have my reasons!) I was very pleased with one outfit I wore to a couple of editor meetings earlier this month.

Click photo for original post.

But that look is still relatively conservative. Yesterday, I had a meeting at Vogue and I figured I should step it up. Vogue is FASHUN, bitches. I decided to break out my Stacy Lomman Fall 2012 houndstooth coat.

Stacy asked me if I would dare to wear the matching houndstooth shorts she showed on the runway. Before 2010, I hadn’t worn shorts — even in casual situations, even in the summer — for about 20 years. I’d sworn I would never wear them again due to bad childhood fashion memories. But you know what I always say: “Never is the next new thing™“! A 2010 heat wave broke down my resistance to shorts for casual wear. Warning: fashion is a slippery slope! Now, a designer suggests shorts for a meeting and I say, “Sure!” (Actually, I said, “Sure!” but then asked, “Am I too old for this?” Stacy gave me this answer, and I went back to “Sure!”)

What Wendy Wore
Coat: Stacy Lomman (2012)
“Pillow” sweater: Dsquared from Chalk (2012)
Shorts: Stacy Lomman (2012)
Tights: Who knows?
Shoes: Hogan (2009)
Purse: Prada (2007)
Jewelry: All my own designs

I did feel perfectly comfortable in this outfit.  For extra confidence, I wore my IDGAF necklace under my turtleneck. I swear, that necklace makes me brave. That came in handy after the meeting. As my gorgeous publicist Sakita Holley and I were waiting for the elevator, Vogue’s editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, came our way. She stopped and waited for the elevator at a safe distance from us. As Sakita sent silent “OH MY GOD” vibes my way, Anna darted into the first elevator that opened and stood very close to the door. Sakita and I got in behind her and stared at her back.

Now, we’ve all heard stories about Anna Wintour and how one shouldn’t speak to her in the elevator and so on. But I believe that even a cat may look at a king. In addition, I am married to the Official Elevator Greeter of the World. Every day, MrB bellows cheerful greetings at anyone with whom he shares an elevator. It tends to scare New Yorkers and, being a New Yorker, I have definitely thought, “WTF!” myself. Then, one day, I asked MrB, “What, are you the Official Elevator Greeter of the World?” and he happily answered, “Yes!” After that, I had to accept the behavior. I mean, he’s doing his job. I need to let him be great.

Basically, I have been trained in unexpected elevator conversation by a professional. Remembering that I had glimpsed Anna at a screening of Silver Linings Playbook on Sunday, I bellowed at her back, “Did you enjoy Silver Linings Playbook? I saw you at the screening the other day!” At first, I wasn’t sure she knew that I was speaking to her but then she turned slightly and murmured something like, “Oh, yes.” Possessed as I was by the spirit of MrB, I bellowed, “Good, good, I enjoyed it too.” Then the elevator door opened and she was able to flee, but not before I bellowed at her, “Have a good day!”

I’m delighted to report that I haven’t been struck by a thunderbolt. I spoke to Anna Wintour in an elevator and survived! Now I feel bold. Next time I see her, I’m going to tell her that I have a beautiful Sarah Ashley Longshore portrait of her hanging on my wall!

UPDATED TO ADD: I was visible and audible at the Conde Nast offices, so this seemed like the perfect post to contribute to Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style.

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53 Responses to “What Wendy Wore: Elevator Talk With Anna Wintour”

  1. absence of alternatives
    Twitter: subwow
    says:

    Gorgeous, inspiring outfit! And yes, those shorts do look great on you and NOT inappropriate for a business meeting at all! (Well, you were not meeting anybody in wall street…) I am so glad I read this post and also the one by Stacy. Thank you both so much. I have been plagued by the fear of age-appropriateness lately and often have doubts even as I rejoice in putting on clothes that can finally fit nicely. Now I feel more confident knowing that, hell yeah, if it looks good and makes me feel good, I am going to wear whatever I want. Thanks!

    • stacy says:

      So happy you’re feeling more confident and wearing what you like. Really… if you FEEL comfortable and pretty in something, you are going to give off that vibe!

  2. absence of alternatives
    Twitter: subwow
    says:

    ooops. In my excitement I forgot 3 other things: 1) those shoes are omg gorgeous. NEED! 2) LOL at your retelling of the Wintour sighting. GOOD FOR YOU! 3) Love the painting of Wintour you have hanging in your house. :-)

  3. stacy says:

    1. I like your little Alfalfa!
    2. You should wear shorts every day with your legs!
    3. Anna is tiny and fast! Walked out of a fashion show behind her one time and she was gone in two seconds.
    4. You HAVE to talk to her again and tell her about the painting!

  4. Carolyn says:

    Brilliant, Wendy. After seeing The September Issue, if I ever bump into Ms Wintour I’m going to holla “How is Grace doing? Tell her I think she’s magical!”

  5. SarahMac says:

    Oh God this is hilarious and I am NOT KIDDING when I say it is exactly somehing that I would do. I work with parliamentarians and the more high up and important they are the higher the chance is that, when trapped in the elevator with me, I will bend their ear about the weather, or ask them about their day or about sport or anything, I truly don’t know what comes over me, It’s like I am possessed. The more up themselves the better! It’s all I can do to prevent myself from slapping them on the back in a jovial fashion or elbowing them in the ribs to make a point. Haha I love this Anna Wintour story hard!!

  6. @snoozysuzy says:

    Absolutely brilliant! OMG those shots are AMAZING! In fact, the whole outfit is super dooper wicked fun.. love the houndstooth !

  7. @snoozysuzy says:

    SHOTS = SHORTS DOH!

  8. sulky kitten says:

    You mean she actually walked? Nobody carried her into the lift? God, she sounds almost human.Almost. Yes, Wendy, shorts every day for you! Love the shoes.

  9. Melanie says:

    Bwa-ha-ha – I loove the Sarah Ashley Longshore portraits of Ms. Wintour. When my alter ego Miz Bagg met Ms. Wintour, the latter screamed and then fainted… You look incredibly fantastic in this entire houndstooth ensemble. I temped in corporate finance during university – those were some dark stylin’ days. So glad you busted loose.

  10. Marla says:

    I love all those pics. That coat is amazing!

  11. Firstly, agree you should wear shorts every day. Nextly, wow, so impressed with your elevator greeting skills! Marriage is great like this, we transfer strengths to each other! Finally, Stacy makes some killer clothes.

  12. Priscilla says:

    The whole story! You are both brave and hilarious.

  13. K-Line says:

    Stacy is turning your insanely fashionable self into a super-hero version. And I am also the Official Elevator Greeter of the World (Canadian version). I completely understand his rationale.

  14. déjà pseu
    Twitter: dejapseu
    says:

    I’m just so in awe of you for having done this.

  15. Sheila says:

    Wendy, I’m so proud of you for doing this! Anna is not to be feared!

    You look so fierce in this outfit – love, love, love it!

  16. Jet aka Punk Glam Queen
    Twitter: PunkGlamQueen
    says:

    I love it, every bit of this story from the outfits, to Mr B being the official elevator greeter. You looked fab, and yes the shorts look great on you. I’m proud of you for having the guts to speak up, I would’ve cringed because I wouldn’t have had a great line like you did!. XXX

  17. Marti says:

    okay I don’t know about you short experiences from childhood but you look great in these shorts
    Ana Wintour OMG so glad you followed with Mr B’s “greet all” habits lol you forced her to acknowledge you YES!!
    Marti

  18. Alya says:

    This outfit kind of reminds me of something Fran from The Nanny would have worn (or has probably worn) – and I mean this as a compliment because I absolutely love her! She was the hottest nanny ever!

  19. Megan Mae says:

    You look like you could have easily stepped off Stacey’s runway. You are rocking those shorts!!

    I’m that person in the elevator/bank line/anywhere going “look busy, don’t talk to me, eeeep”

  20. Alice Olive says:

    You’re fabulous and, by george, Stacy Lomman’s ensemble looks amazing on you! (I can’t see you “bellowing”, though. Next time, please record yourself!)

    • WendyB
      Twitter: WendyBrandes
      says:

      I will tell Sakita to stand by with her phone’s recording app.

      What I really regret is that no other Conde Nast people were in there to be horrified by my behavior. But maybe they wouldn’t have been able to survive the stress.

    • stacy says:

      Lucky for me, she’s not hard to dress. She looks good in everything :-)

  21. Tina says:

    what a great outfit!!LOVE IT!! Stacy rocks!!!

  22. mystyle says:

    Hi my dear!! How could Anna not reply to gorgeous brave you and looking totally fabulous in Stacy’s creations!! Stacy is very talented and you are a perfect model for her pieces, I love the shorts!! Have a great weekend xxx

  23. I bet you totally rock’n’rolled the meeting in those fantastic shorts and great shoes! Awesome elevator story too. :D

    • stacy says:

      Aren’t the shoes FAB? Nobody was getting to see them under her jeans all the time… I thought this was the perfect outfit to showcase them :-)

  24. Terri says:

    Good for you, for breaking that ice!

  25. GRIT & GLAMOUR
    Twitter: gritandglamour
    says:

    I love this post…and the shorts-and-coat combo. Fantastic.

    The bit about MrB being the elevator greeter made me smile, and I’m so glad you had the balls to talk to Ms. Wintour. I mean, shouldn’t she occasionally be made to feel as nervous as the rest of the free world is in her presence?!

  26. What a funny story! You go Wendy. I can\’t wait to tell Martin later what you did. And the outfit is fantastic, just fantastic.

  27. Veshoevius
    Twitter: taxnomywardrobe
    says:

    Glad you wore the shorts – fab outfit! Having serious houndstooth envy here!
    BTW whatever happened to that twitter account that was called Vogue Elevator? Read something in Grazia ages ago about a Vogue employee apparently tweeting things overheard in the Conde Nast lift and sending Anna Wintour on warpath to track them down.

  28. Pam@over50feeling40
    Twitter: over50feeling40
    says:

    Wendy, you have the best stories and clothes! Love the houndstooth and the elevator story is priceless. Have a great week!

  29. You look totally fantastic in the houndstooth shorts.

  30. Samantha says:

    LOVE LOVE that outfit, and the shorts look fab on you. Amazing clothes from Stacy!

    I love MrB and his attitude, everyone should be more like that. I have days where I am Ms Lift greeter, and other days I just scuttle away to the back…but we should aim to greet all – including Anna! (I’m VERY proud of you!) xx