Work it

6 Feb

Pity us poor style icons in the work-place.  As if getting dressed for the office wasn’t complicated enough without the advent of dress down Fridays.

I’m used to dressing-down at work, in the charitable sense, costing £1 towards a chosen appeal.  A bit like non-uniform day at school, it’s really a balance of looking acceptable (not being sent home), portraying the ‘I have a life outside of work’ image, while avoiding the “what is she wearing” gossip at the water cooler.

For charity fine, but every Friday?  Less a perk, more an inconvenience.

We all know that style at work is a challenge at the best of times.  If it’s not a ‘stepping out of a lift and leaving a stacked heeled shoe behind’ remorse, it’s dunking a cute, cream cuff tie into your tea along with the digestive or having to remove all bangles and chunky watch to stop them clanging and bashing against the keyboard.  Not to mention the stunning pearl ring that catches on any fine and loose-knit garment I own.

My first job after uni was in customer services and despite being non-facing and completely phone based, we had a uniform of red jacket with gold buttons, white (and transparent) blouse and navy skirt.  Trousers for women had only just scraped it onto the dress-code after the threat of industrial action by a brave female finance manager.  Those were the days!  And we’re not talking 1950s here! (Late 90s since you ask).  Because of this bizarre, apparently tax avoiding (can I say that? Just have), obligatory uniform, again a bit like school, our personal style came out through our nail colour, shoes and hair styles.

While restrictive and old-fashioned, I have to say it saved time in the morning.  Especially as the polyester garments came out of the machine practically dry and crease-free.  Classy.

Not that I wish those days back you understand.  I do though like to keep work and home separate.  I like dressing up for work, I like heels and pencil skirts, which let’s face it look out of place anywhere but an office.  The magazines try to sell office-wear as though we all work for a Conde Nast magazine or a high profile PR company.  Although ultra chic, city shorts and Jimmy Choos just aren’t always right (or accessible) for re-stocking the photocopier or charging round the building delivering payslips.  But equally my lounge-about-the-house/ dog walking/ traipsing up and down supermarket aisles – wear is just too far removed from work and I’m happy to keep it that way.

So at the risk of looking like the one who didn’t receive the dress-code party invite, you won’t see me walking through those revolving doors in jeans, jumper and trainers on a Friday.  Or ever.

Wrong Trousers Day, part of the Wallace and Gromit’s Children’s Foundation, is on Friday 24th June 2011 and raises money for sick kids in children’s hospitals and hospices throughout the UK.  Get involved style icons!

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