I work in a pretty professional environment in a field where what you are wearing matters to some.
And I like fashion and looking nice. So you would think getting dressed in the mornings would be easy for me.
But the problem is, most days no one sees me. And I am an incredibly lazy individual. So most mornings I stay in bed, negotiating portions of my routine with every slap of the snooze-button: I won’t wear something that needs to be ironed, I’ll grab breakfast at Starbucks, I won’t wash my hair, I don’t need to put on make-up. Zuzu can get a short walk this morning.
And so, some days I showed up to the office sweating (from running from the train to the office) in yoga pants, a sweater and flats with no make-up and barely brushed hair. The result: I look like I just woke up next to an empty bottle of wine or an empty bag of chips (or both) in an unairconditioned room.
On these days, my boss wouldn’t say anything about my appearance. In fairness, on these days, I hadn’t expected to see her.
On days when I knew I would see her (or anyone else), days when I had meetings, for example, I would make some effort. Sure, there were still morning negotiations, but they went more like: I can wear that jersey dress, bring my heels, and put on eyebrow powder and mascara at the office.
On these days my boss would tell me I looked nice. If I had put on a full face of make-up (or dried my hair) she would add that she loved my dress.
However, my days of yoga pants are in the past. My office was moved and now I sit where I see a ton of people and so I must dress like a grown up every day.
One Friday, I was wearing a striped, knit pencil skirt, a black sleeveless top, and silver necklaces. My hair was done (I must’ve had plans after work) and I was wearing heels. My boss came by and said I looked edgy.
Edgy? Almost everything I had on was purchased at Ann Taylor Loft. Not exactly known for their edginess.
This was an interesting new layer.
A couple of weeks later, I opted to wear jeans, even though the office policy on such is not really a gray area (they are firmly an antijean establishment). But I am sure I had a very good excuse for wearing the jeans that day, even if I can’t immediately recall said reason.
Later in the day, my boss again commented on how edgy I looked, and so I had my answer. Edgy equals not work appropriate.
Then, last week, I woke up feeling really good about myself. I’ve been training for this marathon so my legs were feeling strong. I’ve been waking up after only hitting the snooze button twice (maybe three times) and so I have had time to even make my bed. Also, the humidity in the city was below 50 percent so I didn’t even sweat that much on the two block walk into the office.
Translation: I was wearing a shortish skirt, my hair was done and most of my makeup was still on my face when I saw my boss and she said I looked cute.
I looked down and agreed the skirt I chose was cute. As were the booties. The sweater was pretty neutral. I smiled.
Later that week, I was leaving the office wearing bright orange capri running pants. I changed into them so I could go for a run after work. My hair was pulled back and I was fiddling with my iPhone when I bumped into my boss (also leaving the office).
“Don’t you look cute?”
Cute. In running capris.
That makes two recently purchased skirts I can no longer wear to work.