Liz Claiborne

has died. She was 78.

Her company was the first founded by a woman to be included on the Fortune 500 list, and in many ways, her design aesthetic was all about women breaking into a man’s world.

At a time when conventional wisdom — and John T. Molloy of “Dress for Success” — had businesswomen dressing like slightly curvier men in gray flannel suits and floppy ties, Claiborne created clothes that were appropriate, stylish, but also feminine. They were fashionable but not trendy. And most importantly, they were priced so that both the executive and her secretary could afford them.

It’s thanks to her that we don’t all have to wear blouses with foufy bows at the collar (the early “feminine” take on reinterpreting business clothing — specifically neckties — for women).

You can read her obituary here.


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