jeudi 7 août 2008

What not to wear

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?

26 commentaires:

conortje a dit…

hehe I want photographic evidence of these people :-) I've got into a an awfully lazy habbit of wearing jeans every day. I'm going to keep at it until somebody complains. I bet you look great no matter what you wear!

travelling, but not in love a dit…

God bless you Big C.

I'm not sure how great I really do look, though - especially as I'm 'planning my look' at 6am.....

Millennium Housewife a dit…

I think the best thing to do would be to make every day a 'dress like a collegue' day. Pick a collegue and copy their dress sense. Yup, even the russian prostitute. You could run a competition where people try to guess who you're doing, you could even reward them with a little prize as an incentive.MH

Daryl a dit…

A polo short (Ralph or not) with a collar is perfect ... polo shirts w/o collars are too casual except on casual Fridays here .. most wear Dockers or Gap Khakis and 99% wear loafers w/o socks .. infinitely better IMO than sandals w/socks ...

I am sure you will look chic and adorable no matter what you wear ... but I can tell you peer pressure is a bitch .. especially when one is not 20 and works in an industry where everyone IS 20, painfully thin/or perfectly tones and wears Christian Louboutin stilettos!

:-Daryl

Louise a dit…

First, I'm laughing; this post is hilarious! I LOVE your desriptions. Maybe this time is for you to educate by example. And if you don't have it, it's always OK to buy an entire new wardrobe when traveling. Shipping from home costs way more.

But I'm also guessing if you showed up in your t-shirt and shorts, most of them wouldn't be astute enough to notice.

aims a dit…

First of all - can you actually miniaturize Tom Cruise? Isn't he a shrimp already?!

As for the dress code problem.

Those shoes you showed us darlin? Did you bring them? If so - start with them. Anything that goes with them is going to be super fab. Believe me.

I work at home as well...thank God I don't have to put on my stilettos and eyepaint.

But thinking about it - I don't think the Christian Louboutin stilettos would work - do you Daryl?

travelling, but not in love a dit…

MH, I think that sounds like a great idea. And I'll be the first to do the russian hooker outfit!

Daryl, I'm a big fan of loafers / no socks. That was yesterday's footwear selection. After seeing the decil wears Prada, I feel for anyone working in the fashion industry......

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Louise, I could show up in my birthday suit and they'd just say 'that needs ironing'...ha ha,

Aims, he's been minituarised, trust me. He's 5'2" and is sat in the office next to me. So cute! You could take him home and keep him in a drawer....

Mike a dit…

if you can get away with jeans at work then i say go for it. the more expensive the better. labels dear. it's all about labels!

seriously, though, there's a really fine line here in the us as to what's accepted as 'business casual' in the workplace. new york vs la. wall street vs entertainment. louboutin vs nike. it's all very confusing. ;-)

Lewis a dit…

I'm afraid I'm much too casual of a person for many....if it doesn't involve denim and shirts unbuttoned too far, I'm not a huge fan. I'm far more casual than dressy.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Mike, it's absolutely all too confusing. I mean really, what is 'business casual'?

Lewis, you do strike me as a casual kind of guy....although I'm guessing you wouldn't bad in an Armani suit either...

amy a dit…

The pressure! the years I temped in NYC were torture for the very reasons you describe - some people were super-corporate looking, others even padded around in bedroom slippers. Wouldn't it be so much simpler if they just issued everyone prison-style jumpsuits? Then it would only be about the accessories...

alan a dit…

ah, I feel your pain. What's a trendy young librarian supposed to wear anyway? I need to be smart, but I refuse to go down the tweed route.

God bless summer when everyone goes away for their hols I just wear jeans and t-shirts, and today, my white converse trainers.

Awful slouch altogether, I am

I'm sure you've got the dress code down by now though.

Dianne a dit…

I can relate! I run my own business and for the last 5 years it's been from home. I have one or two outfits if I need to meet a client face to face - which I try to avoid at all costs. After that!?

there's funeral wear and an outfit that may make me look like a Russian prostitute - only not as classy.

I think polo shirts with colors and khaki pants or good jeans are fine!

Dianne a dit…

I meant 'collars' not 'colors although a color less Polo shirt would be a trend setter wouldn't it?

Breezy a dit…

Can't you copy Mini Cruise and have your own personal mini me?

aminah a dit…

a sharp white shirt works wonders with a pair of classy well polished shoes, and preferably brown leather and dark trousers..

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Hi Amy - bedroom slippers sound marvellous to me. In fact I've been wearing a pair of loafers recently (so comfortable). I looked down at them yesterday and they truly looked like old man's slippers. Not great!

Alan, I can't believe you're an awful slouch. Those trainers sound great, avoiding tweed sounds like a very good idea!

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Dianne, I think we all have a little russian prostitute in us - however deeply hidden (mine is just below the surface...)!

Breezy, now there's an idea....a mini me would be ideal.....

Aminah, that sounds very stylish - and I have all of that in my wardrobe! Great minds, eh...?

Valleys Mam a dit…

You just cannot beat linen slacks and a black armani plain T shirt.
Or tight black designer jeans with a white linen shirt
I work from home now too and wear odd combinations, but always with make up and some bling.
I bough my husband some great Italian gear at TK Maxx the other week ,amazing jackets at silly prices.
I think its very much the way you wear clothes, but polo shirts oh no not until u are sixty ffs

Swearing Mother a dit…

I think one of the coolest summer looks for blokes is a nice, crisp cotton shirt, cuffs folded back a maximum of twice just enough to show the posh watch and strong manly wrists (could be a little bit hairy, no problem), not too many buttons open at the neck, no medallion, nice linen-mix trousers or posh jeans, not too tight, good belt, posh/trendy/casual leather shoes, maybe a summer jacket from Zara or better still Massimo Dutti and a gorgeous, subtle, sexy non-pervasive aftershave.

Mmmm. Fantasy over.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

VM, I'm glad you always do full bling and make up - I'd expect nothing less!

Sweary - now you've definitely got a point there....and the forearms...lord have mercy!

Medbh a dit…

I know all dudes like the polo shirt in the summer but they just scream douche bag. Every smarmy sexist asshole I come across wears one.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

so that's a no for the polo shirt then, eh medbh?

wontletlifedefineme a dit…

Ah the dark denim jeans... My boyfriend used to resist wearing jeans with a passion, until I took him to the Levi's store and showed him some really nice dark denim jeans that were quite soft to the touch for jeans. He bought them and wears them all the time. I think they should classify as office wear. I mean, there's denim and there's denim.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Marjolein, i've given in. And the dark denim is out and making an almost daily appearance. My boss raised an eyebrow, but she said nothing....yet.