In catching a recent episode of Mad Men – a show that’s been serving as my visual fantasy since I ‘discovered’ it a few months ago – I couldn’t help but notice the stark contrast between two of the female leads, Peggy & Joan. In taking notice of each woman’s surface role – Peggy as ‘dowdy’ and Joan as ‘sensuous’ – I was actually taken back to my not-so-distant job searching days.

During those career seminars, it was stressed that a woman had to downplay the way she dressed during an interview to be taken seriously for that coveted position. At the same token, you had to make sure that made that lasting impression so that you wouldn’t fall through the cracks – which made things a bit tricky in choosing that winning ensemble. After all, does one play it safe:

or do they take risks:

But the more I thought about it, the more I saw that while we’re no longer in the Mad Men age, we as women haven’t quite escaped the Peggy vs. Joan dichotomy. We’re expected to be on top of our A-game when it comes to visually presenting ourselves, but are also required not to go over-the-top. Makes me wonder if having to choose between the two will eventually be a non-entity.