I'm in the middle of a crisis. It's a clothing crisis.
Normally, as you know, my commute to work (on 'office' days) involves getting out of bed, showering and walking to my desk in the corner of my living room. This type of working allows, nay demands, a very casual approach to clothing. I'm not saying I work bare nekkid, but I do veer towards the t-shirt and shorts end of the market.
So now, I'm in the UK head office for a month, sat behind a desk and surrounded by colleagues and I'm expected to wear office-type clothes. Not a suit and tie (oh no, that'd be too easy), but a decent shirt, freshly pressed, and a pair of trousers, preferably not denim.
I've done two days of this so far, and I'm already starting to panic. What to wear? Is a polo shirt acceptable in a 'business casual' workplace? Is it more or less acceptable because it's a Ralph Lauren polo shirt? Are 'trousers' really that much smarter than a pair of nice, clean dark-dye denim jeans?
And it's not like my colleagues are the most elegant of people. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that most of them are 'sartorially challenged'. But just because it doesn't matter to them doesn't mean that it doesn't matter to me.
Oddly enough, the best-dressed of my colleagues is the german guy in the office next to me. He looks like a mini Tom Cruise (if Tom Cruise could be miniaturised) and was resplendent yesterday in a black linen shirt (swoon). Today he's working a very good look in diesel jeans and a crisp white shirt. Meanwhile, the english guy in the next office along is wearing what can only be described as a 'dad fleece' and 'slacks'. Dreadful.
My Belgian colleague (age 28) was also in the office yesterday. He was wearing a shirt with four open buttons (two too many, in my humble opinion) revealing a curious celtic medallion nestling amongst a hairy chest. He had teamed this with a pair of incredibly tight bleached jeans. Amazing. And not in a good way.
And then that leaves the ladies. They are sporting a mixture of looks, ranging from middle aged housewife, through elegant and business-like, to the one who looks like a Russian prostitute working the bar at the Vladivostok Hilton. Quaint, really.
So, being well-dressed amongst this lot is not too much of a challenge to rise to, admittedly, but it's causing me some pain and consternation.
You'd think that amongst the 28 kilos of luggage that I brought with me I'd be able to find something to wear, wouldn't you?