NPR: If You Have a New York Library Card, You Can Now Borrow Ties

By Samantha Raphelson.

The New York Public Library lends out much more than just books, and now that includes clothes. The library’s Riverside branch on the West Side of Manhattan is testing a pilot program that allows patrons to borrow neckties, briefcases and handbags – provided they have fines of less than $15 on their library cards. The idea is to help people with limited resources get access to suitable clothing and accessories for job interviews, graduations and other formal events, according to the library website.

The “Grow Up Work Fashion Library” was created by Michelle Lee, a young adult librarian at the Riverside branch who works with students at a nearby high school to prepare for job interviews, says Kimberly Spring, network manager of the Riverside area of branches for the New York Public Library.

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From Backpack to Briefcase

By David Michael Newstead.

I had this lingering feeling for a while. I would try to look nice, wear professional clothes, and then I’d throw a backpack over my shoulder like in high school. Except I’m not in high school anymore. I kept seeing full-grown men on the subway in three piece suits with a backpack on and something about it just didn’t quite fit. Suddenly, all the gravitas of a suit evaporated. And they looked like kids trying to dress up as adults even when they were middle-aged. The more I people-watched, the more I realized how common this was, how awful it looked. Everything apparently required a strap for guys to be able to carry it. To go in the complete opposite direction, I dug up an old briefcase that I’d been keeping my tax returns in for the last few years. Maybe just maybe I could actually carry this around I thought – that whatever fit in my briefcase would be sufficient for my day-to-day life. But briefcases have become so rare that this elicited immediate comments from friends, coworkers, and complete strangers. Most were positive or showed sheer curiosity. Then as the weeks went by, you become aware of how “official” a briefcase looks and how aspects of it don’t really mesh with the modern world. Need to quickly get your phone out of your bag? A briefcase is not ideal. Want to carry around a laptop? Might not fit. Briefcases are from a time when professional lives didn’t involve constantly using electronics or going to the gym after work. But even though our analog past is no more, carrying a briefcase might still have a place in the 21st Century. Limited space and limited access force a judgment call about what you actually need. The other benefit is that you’re a minimalist with style.