The Foreign Service Journal, March 2019

88 MARCH 2019 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL Ask Ms. Fashion Service Person BY J ENN I F ER SUDWEEKS L ike all of you, I was devastated when the Sounding Board was taken down. Where would I go to learn about the best places to take naps inMain State, and how on earth would I knowwhat to wear to FSI, or how offensive flip-flops are, or why seersucker is the greatest thing ever? The one joy of every summer transfer season was reading advice frompeople who have never opened a fashionmagazine on what women should wear in the summer. Little did they know that the proper summer attire for women in the department is a parka—to keep from freezing to death in the air-conditioning. A warmpair of Uggs is also a must. To offer an alternative to helpful fashion advice frompolicy wonks who still wear Larry King suspenders, I have decided to start my own column of advice for the sartorially challenged. S Dear Ms. Fashion Service Person, What is the appropriate footwear for pushing your jeep out of the mud during monsoon season up-country? I thought it might be flip-flops, but my supervisor says rain boots. My rain boots are blue with yellow ducks on them. May I wear them on my trip? Sincerely, Too Young to Know People Used to Call ThemThongs Dear Flip-Flopper, Neither. Your rain boots are clearly meant to be worn to pick up your children from school during a flood, which will happenmore often than you think. They will also be the only hope you have of keeping your pants dry during the monsoon. And they are the best for stomping onmonstrous spiders because you can just hose the carcass off. If you lose them in the mud, howwill youmanage the spider infestation? The answer to this dilemma is that pair of high heels hidden Jennifer Sudweeks is a consular officer from Texas currently assigned to New Delhi. Her previous tours in- clude Shanghai, Seoul and the Bureau of Consular Af- fairs. She and her tandem husband have never served in Europe, despite Jennifer’s fluency in Norwegian and German. They have three daughters, all of whom are very fashionable. ON THE LIGHTER SIDE in the back of your closet that you paid toomuch for but told your husband you really needed! When you wear them, they hurt so much that you want to chop off your feet. You know the ones. Wear those so you can loudly lament their loss in the mud if Hus- band ever asks where they are. S Dear Ms. Fashion Service Person, What kind of shoe should I wear to run across the Pentagon when I am late for a meeting that won’t give me blisters or break my ankle? Sincerely, Why Doesn’t the Shuttle Ever Run on Time? Dear Blister Sister, You need to find those shoes that Ron Howard’s daughter wore when she ran away from the T-Rex during that Jurassic movie. That said, combat boots are always appropriate for the Pen- tagon. Alternatively, you can take the shuttle the day before and sleep there so you will be on time without running. You can hang out at the Dunkin’ Donuts until your meeting because, of course, the Pentagon has Dunkin’. You can also go to the Virginia DMV while you are there. There is no line and, as a bonus, they know how to not suspend your license when you change your address to DPO. S Dear Ms. Fashion Service Person, What is the proper attire to visit an incarcerated American? Should I bust out my black suit complete with flag pin that I bought for A-100 but haven’t worn since I arrived in Ouagadougou? Sincerely, An Idealist Dear Captain America, Not if it is a suit with a skirt, unless you enjoy playing Russian roulette with dengue andmalariamosquitos. However, a black suit with a flag pin is appropriate for any Foreign Service event, includ- ing theMarine Corps Ball, suitcase duty for a VIP, or a funeral. So dust off that suit and Febreze it within an inch of its life! You,/aninata