Ann’s Office Outfit Makeovers: Let’s start with Tanner Kent

When Tanner Kent asked if I would write about spring fashion for the March issue of Mankato Magazine, I think his agenda was truly more like, oh my God, Ann Fee, will you please tell me what to wear to work?


Tanner Kent in his premakeover habitat. Photo by Robb Murray.

Tanner sent me this photo with the following reflection: “Observant spectators will note my post-industrial, pre-pragmatist flannel-lined jeans (perfect for starting a car in winter, or starting a dance party at the disco!) as well as a tastefully chosen undershirt for my red plaid button-up.”

Ann’s Fashion Tarot readers will recognize this as smack in the grip of The Chariot, the card that says great power comes from yoking together forces outside yourself. Unlikely forces. Forces you maybe thought you were mocking, with your funny little graf, but actually, you know, it works. The notion of a signature style that’s combo car-starter/dance party suddenly seems basic, obvious and critical. It’s spring. We need these things. Tanner, it’s time to yoke.

ambience tanner

Keep the flannel, but let’s go silky underneath. Silky! Travolta silky. And let’s get serious about the neckwear. If you’re wearing something up there, be bold. Be aggressively sparkly. Bury your puka beads in the snow like so much last season’s trash, and go with gold. Are you seeing how that works with the flannel, with the cap? It works.

Also, would it kill you to use some bronzer? Clinique makes some for men. Clinique Non-Streak Men’s Bronzer. It works well in a nonmakeupy way that wouldn’t threaten your flannel or the hat, Tanner, not at all. It can only make you stronger. And sunnier!

Your new glow will complement the lava lamp, which you’re going to steal from your neighbor’s cube, and the giant candle, which you can probably get from wherever you got your flannel-lined jeans. Mood lighting is the new focal point of your new simplified workspace, which is the dark spot under your desk. Kick the recycling bin or whatever out of the way, and take the candle and the lava lamp, as well as your phone so as not to miss important calls like people asking if the magazine could please have more fashion guidance. Grab those things plus some writing utensils and get down there. Get yourself some ambience.

I’m not saying the natural state of a Free Press cubicle isn’t charming, I’m just saying, Tanner, it’s spring. Or it will be, soon, once you take some risks. Once you yoke together a little silk, a little flannel. Once you just please do the newsroom and the town the favor of starting up the very post-industrial/pre-pragmatist dance party we need.


Mankato Magazine‘s March issue, featuring my fashion forecast “What’s Hot for Spring is Spring,” comes out later this week. Many thanks to Tanner for asking for it and for considering bronzer.

Next makeover: Stripmall mystic Cindra Kamphoff.

11 comments on “Ann’s Office Outfit Makeovers: Let’s start with Tanner Kent

  1. Donald & Louise Brown says:

    Now I feel better, even if you don’t call me! 😎

  2. rachaelhanel says:

    Love this series! Great idea!

  3. Thanks Rachael! I think your book cover sketch was really the first in this series.

  4. Dan says:

    Great stuff. I tend to make fun of him for wearing too many shirts at once (he surely has at least one layer under that T-shirt, and as many as three), but this is way better.

  5. Crystal Kent says:

    This was really funny. I as well tend to make fun of him for the number of layers he wears. (Coming from the one who does his laundry.)

  6. Amy Kortuem says:

    After you’re done with this town, it’ll be cubicle Heaven.

  7. Lynn Knifong says:

    Great article….and a “Travolta Silky” is a wonderful suggestion!!

  8. Tanner Kent says:

    Thanks for taking it easy on me, Ann. I wholly trust your eye and advice — so expect the new, silkier, dancier, bronzier me coming soon. (Strangely, you’re not the first to suggest it wouldn’t kill me to use a little bronzer …)

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