英語グレイゴBLOG (NHKラジオ講座ディクテ)


S: Our current vignette starts off talking about A&A's new dress code. Does your office have anything like that, Heather?

H: No, not at all. We're a highly diverse bunch when it comes to clothes, especially among the women. We range from a few people who are considered our fashion leaders, always very stylishly dressed, to people on the other end of the spectrum like me. My fashion philosophy these days is "Hey, this fits!" I pretty much wear jeans and sweaters every day. Of course that's in the office just interacting with other staffers at the paper. When I have a visitor or go out to meet someone I make more of an effort.

S: So what are your fashion guidelines at times like that?

H: Keep it professional and keep it simple would be my motto. A good rule of thumb might be "Would I feel comfortable wearing this to a first meeting with a boyfriend or a girlfriend's parents?" So not too big or flashy with the accessories, for example, and not too many of them.
When I was a girl, my mother used to advise me "When in doubt, take something away." So usually one or two focal points of an outfit are enough, like nice earrings and an interesting patten on a skirt, or a colorful scarf and a bracelet. Not standout earrings, big necklace, firery colored blouse, patterned skirt.

S: Well, as mentioned in the vignette, there are different standards for different industries, of course.

H: Oh, certainly. A banker should always be thinking look responsible, look like an island of calm in all storms at sea. But someone in interior design or fashion would want to emphasize creativity, individual style. So daring is probably a better look for them. But even then I think you can be bold or unique without being overdone.

S: What do you think about the financial company's ultra-strict rules?

H: They do sound over the top at first hearing but I can understand the company wanting to avoid certain faux pas. There are a lot of people out there, for example, who could use advice about how much perfume to put on. I have sat on the train just dying at times because the person next to me had on so much my eyes were watering and my nose was running.

S: The vignette also mentions how standards have changed over the years. It's hard to believe pants were once scandalous for women, isn't it?

H: It is. I've mentioned the etiquette columnist that I'd admire in the States. She once got a letter from a reader who was complaining about that very thing. He didn't like the pantsuits being worn by some of his female employees. He called them "close to indecent." Then he mentioned that some others were wearing nice skirts and blouses and asked how he could encourage others to do the same. Pretty sexist, right? His concern should be how well they do their jobs, not wether their fashion choices meet his personal preferences. The columnist answered "Appoint the women in skirts to executive positions where they can serve as role models for the others." She wasn't trying to get the women out of pants. She was just tongue-in-cheek trying to get him to treat his female employees like employees, not decorations in his office.

Collins says people like their colleague Wu often wear athletic-like clothing but take care to make it appropriate for work.
Grace admits that casual clothing has become standard in American business but says image consultants remind people that looking professional is important in getting ahead.
Collins warns that inappropriate clothing can get people gossiping, and Grace says a person has to look good to succeed.

show disrespect to
H: Display a lack of respect. Grace could also say "That would be disrespectful to your workmates."
And disrespect can be a verb as well. We tell our kids things like "Don't disrespect the police." Or "Don't disrespect your elders."
S: disrespectというのは動詞としても使うと今ヘザーさんが言っていましたけれど、そのdisrespectを短くして、disというのも最近の若者が使う俗語ですね。to be rude to someone 「失礼な態度を示す」というのがdisです。

H: Well fitted to the body, not too tight, not too loose. We also say tight-fitting and that means tight, very close to the body. That's how I knew a colleague had gotten pregnant once. She always wore tight-fitting dresses but then suddenly started wearing loose clothes.

H: One of the many fun ways to say bottom. We also have rear-end, tush, tuckus. "I slipped on the ice and fell right on my tush." Or "The bee stung me in my tuckus."

H: Something used or enjoyed constantly by many people. A standard constant part of something. "Rice is one of Japan's staple foods." A fundamental constant component of Japanese meals. For many Americans beef is a staple part of our diet.

image and wardrobe consultant
H: People who give advice on your overall image and what to wear. You'll see articles with headlines like "Inexpensive Ways to Add Elegance to Your Wardrobe."
In Britain, a wardrobe can mean a free standing tall cabinet where you put clothes and such. We don't really use it that way in America, though.

H: We have forget used two ways here in quick succession. One is fail to remember, not keeping your mind. The other is basically telling someone don't do it, give it up, it won't help you, there's no hope. "Forget trying to make a reservation during Golden Week. You won't find anything."

flip-flops and cut-offs
H: Flip-flops are those beach and pool sandals. They're named for the movement they make as you walk in them. And cut-offs are called that because they're cut off from longer jeans or pants.

turn heads
H: If we turn heads, we get attention for being attractive, unusual, showy. It depends on the situation. "He's so handsome he turns heads every time he goes outside." Or "He wears such bright colors he turns heads every time he goes out."


H: Here they are three elements but criteria is often used to mean a single standard or rule. "Yearly income is the single criteria for this tax break." Or "Product X doesn't meet this criteria for an eco-friendly rating." I don't encounter criterion much in spoken or written English. I think criteria is a lot more common.
S: criteria、基準。この言葉は複数形なんですが、単数としても使います。

Grace says companies have made a great deal of progress since the 1950s, and describes what dress codes back then required men and women to wear.
Lyons says work and home used to be more clearly divided.
And Ueda says different people have different opinions on what's appropriate clothing.
McMillan shares a confusing expression that was used on an invitation he received.

get bad publicly
H: Get a lot of negative attention from the public. "Company X got a lot of bad publicity for its sexist hiring policies." Or "They got a lot of bad publicity over the unsanitary conditions at the factory."
It's sometimes said that all publicity is good publicity, meaning that even criticism is good because it means you're in the public eye, it means people are noticing you. Not sure that's always true.

H: In this case conservative means reserved, sober, not flashy or provocative.
"She's in banking, so she always dresses conservatively. You know, dark colors, no flashy jewelry."

unfeminine and scandalous
H: Unfeminine is not feminine, not womanly. Lots of things used to be considered unfeminine: women working, women having an opinion. Be careful with this term, though. It's often discriminatory, implying that women are supposed to behave this way, and if they don't, well, they're not real women or they're not nice women.
S: 日本語でもそうですけれど、「女らしくない」「男らしくない」という言い方は差別的だ、というふうに言われることがありますね。
H: Scandalous means disgraceful, shameful, shocking. The idea is something angers us or shocks us because it seems wrong. "That company was using low-quality material in its products. That is scandalous, lying to the customers."

boundary between
H: He means the dividing line, the point where one thing becomes another. "This river marks the boundary between two states."
S: 「国境」という意味では border も使いますね。

whatever that means
H: We often use this about statements and slogans that don't make sense to us, or that are vague and hard to define. "I want to have a fulfilled life, whatever that means."
S: そうですね。よく意味が分からないけれど、こういうふうに言われている、書かれている、といったような時に、whatever that means、と使いますね。

give something a miss
S: This means pass on something, not go, not attend. It's dismissive, like "No, um, er, I don't, I'm not gonna go." So be careful how you use it. Never use it to turn down an invitation. "Would you like to come to my birthday party?" "No, I'll give it a miss." That would be shocking.
It's better for things like "You know, I don't really like horror movies, so I'm gonna give that one a miss."

draw the line at
H: This is too far. This is the point where someone says no. "Other people can give me their opinion. But I draw the line at rudeness. I don't want people to be rude to me." Or "I'll do some overtime but I draw the line at every day. I won't do it every day."


as far as someone is concerned
H: In that person's opinion. And there's often a nuance here of regardless what other people think. If I say "As far as I'm concerned, this tax cut is a terrible idea." It sounds like "This is my position even if other people disagree."

Collins talks about when she first heard about dressing down. And Grace says some companies have eliminated dress codes entirely, believing that freedom of dress boosts creativity and attracts young talent. In contrast, Lyons describes how a large financial institution put out a highly detailed dress code for employees, covering such details as shoulder pad width and the proper amount of perfume. 

H: This is the state, the act of being non-standard, unusual. To use the adjective, you could say things like "He always wears unconventional clothes to the office. Pink jackets and red shoes." Or "That company likes unconventional marketing ideas." 
S: 反対はconventionalですね。常識のことをconventional wisdomなんて言いますね。

in some quarters 
H: In this situation, quarter means a group or a person. "There was criticism from some quarters but most people like the new logo." Or "Susan hasn't given us her feedback yet. We still haven't heard from that quarter." 

lay down the law 
H: When we lay down the law, we firmly tell someone what they will do. We say "This is how things are going to be." Like we're saying "This is the law and it will be obeyed." For example, "Our boss laid down the law. We can't use company computers for private business." Or "His wife laid down the law. He can't bring work home from the office." 

instructions on
H: Directions, guidance, how to do something. "This brochure has instructions on how to bathe at an onsen." Or "Where are the instructions for assembling this bookshelf?" 
S: instructions、複数形で使いますね。
H: The idea being that there's going to be multiple directions. It wouldn't just be one thing like turn on TV. 

shoulder pad width 
S: この最後の単語、width、発音がちょっと難しいですね。
H: Right. The D is almost silent. Oh, and here's something. People ask me this about measurements, like, say, we're talking about a bookshelf. We say the height, the width, and the depth. How far back it goes, how deep it is is the depth. 
S: それぞれの頭文字を使って、H、W、Dと表すこともあります。

have a field day 
S: field dayというのは運動会のことですね。
H: A field day is a time of great enjoyment, opportunity. So if we have a field day, we get a lot of pleasure out of something or we take advantage of lots of opportunities. It's very common to say like the press had a field day, meaning they reported a lot about something and they joked about it, criticized it. You could say "The press had a field day with the insider trading scandal. The company was heavily criticized." 
S: The press had a field day. 「マスコミが大騒ぎした」ということになります。


back in the 90s
H: In some past period. It can be long ago. "Back in the 18th century, men wore high heels." Or more recent. "Back when I was a kid, CD players were advanced technology." 
S: back in the 90s「90年代に遡る」ということですね。back in 何々、過去のことについて使いますね。back whenというフレーズもよく使います。「昔は何々だった」ということ。

H: It's more allowed, it's more tolerated. Ueda could also say considered acceptable. "That kind of clothing is considered acceptable in places like Silicon Valley." 
S: accepted、「一般的である」という意味ですね。

H: Have you heard the expression "like fingernails on a blackboard?" This means something very unpleasant, annoying and it inspires...kind of reaction. "I hate it when he cracks his knuckles. It's like fingernails on a blackboard."