Sunday, January 24, 2010

It's a lot like chess

As I may have mentioned, I work in a very conservative environment. I have to wear a dress or skirt, panty-hose/stockings, and closed shoes (NOT boots) every day. Except for the boots rule (...and, to be quite honest, the stockings in summer thing), I was pretty psyched about this dress code when I first landed my job. I was, in those days, a dress person, even in the winter, if I could manage it.


Not so much. It's not that I hate dressing up every day. It's not that. I kind of like the idea of having a work persona that's so separated from my everyday persona. But some things grow tiring: I barely wear dresses over vacations and during the weekends because I don't want to "ruin" them for work and because I miss pants so much. Also? I really get sick of the sight of my own legs. I am not deformed, nor do I have hideous legs, but sometimes? I want to cover those puppies up. Especially in snowy weather. Also, I get really jealous of really professional-looking young women wearing boots and skirts. I've only done that secretly on crazy sub-zero days when I'm wearing a floor-length flannel-esque skirt that more than amply disguises whatever footwear I may have underneath.

But I digress.

The most difficult issue of the wardrobe is how limiting it is. There's a big difference between pulling out a cute winter dress every once in a while to go hang out with your friends on a Friday night after work with a cute coat and being safe in the knowledge that you won't wear it again in the near future and that your friends won't see it on you, say, next week. It's different when you have to wear the same genre of outfit every single day and when you obviously don't have an unlimited supply of said outfits.

So? On Sundays I make a mental list of what my outfits will be for the week. There are a couple of things to take into consideration: the predicted weather forecast; the last time wearing a skirt/dress/combo in question; stocking choice; jewelry choice; after-school activities; and whatnot. For example, I try to go to the gym twice a week after work and so on Wednesdays and Fridays I try to make sure to wear clothes that I know won't get too messed up by being squashed into a gym bag for a couple of hours. Similarly, I have to stay late a couple of nights a week, so I dress more warmly then, knowing that I might have to wait for a long time in the cold for my bus. Not to mention, I have about four pairs of sensible teaching flats in rotation and I like to mix it up during the week, which is when stocking choice becomes key. Another element? I have a lovely little Ann Taylor Loft skirt that my best work friend also has and so I need to calculate the odds of wearing it on the same day as her. For example, she wore it last week, which means I'm pretty safe for this week.

So, pretty much, on Sundays during my shower, my thought processes scramble for a good few minutes and then lay out outfit plans pretty systematically. For example, after today's shower, my mental list looked like this:

Monday - H & M red-patterned dress [a risky choice, as it's bright and memorable]; grey patterned stockings; mustard-y flats

Tuesday - Ann Taylor Loft grey, black, and white checked skirt; black top [still unsure whether or not to go turtleneck or crew-neck sweater]; black stockings; green flats

Wednesday - H & M tweed skirt; white tee with purple cardigan; grey-brown stockings; green flats

Thursday - black V-neck tee; fancy black skirt; green patterned stockings; black flats

Friday - maroon jersey dress; grey stockings; mustard-y flats

Add to that the whole contacts versus glasses debate and it's a pretty stressful process.

But I'd much rather be doing it on Sunday afternoon than every weekday at 5:50 AM, which is when my alarm goes on.

Heigh-ho, the glamorous life!

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