Dress not to Stress

Hello Escritori,

I’ve been racking my brains (collectively) to think of a Life themed post this week.

Then the perfect idea hit me: the subtle vagaries of the work-place dress code.

I’ve just started work in a book store chain that acts like an independent. In my old (similar) job although I ran and manned a whole sector of the Web Retail department all by myself – I was obliged to wear the company’s monogrammed polo shirt because the nature of my work often had me in and out of the double doors that led to the inner sanctum of “Out Back.”

Occasionally customers would need my help, or new books would need to be re-priced and put out on the shop floor and it’s just EASIER for them to pick you out that way.

This role is much more front-line, but everyone seems to be a lot more casual. Here’s the thing I need to tell you. I really like dressing formally. There’s a difference between just being dressed and feeling 100% Take On the World like a Boss dressed. I am the last person in the world to call myself high maintenance however. I pull that look out of the bag on occasion but I suppose the easiest way to express it is: I have a sense of the proper. The right thing for the right occasion.


That rule essentially means that I don’t have to think. Hence the reason why I’ve always secretly liked uniform. I don’t know about you, but I just don’t have time to be worrying about what to wear: therefore being now presented with things like “variety” and “options” is somewhat disquieting.

Last week at training I was the most formally dressed person on the till, standard corporate: plain lilac blouse, straight black trousers and a black cropped cardigan with obviously my headscarf as an additional bit of pastel colour.

I did as covert a recce as I could of all the staff (this was hard actually) and I think the majority of the team verge on the nicer side of “smart casual” – so effectively in sartorial terms this means a Casual Friday vibe all week long. I have long lamented to my friends that: My idea of casual is a blazer. I think it’s less uptight armour and more tailored security blanket really. Once I arrived at a semi-professional meeting where I’d done some paid proof-reading work for a friend only to be told I was:

“Looking extremely professional, like you’re my lawyer.”

To which I replied, nonplussed “…This is a business meeting.”

If anyone has any tips about gradually mixing corporate with more relaxed pieces I would be eternally grateful (please scroll down past the like button to the comments box.)

Many thanks!

Keep scribbling,

~ Pola ~


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