I’ve been working part-time at an industrial supply wholesaler for a couple months now. It’s been very different from any work experience I’ve had so far. Along with the usual admin data-entry and small projects, I’ve been doing a lot of IT stuff and it’s possible I’ll be in charge of payroll soon. (I’m not sure how my boss ever got the idea that payroll was something I’d be remotely good at, but whatever.)
The other huge difference is the environment. The office is pretty much a warehouse, and everyone dresses accordingly in jeans, sweaters, fleece, etc. Even the CEO, when he’s in, wears just khakis and a button-up shirt. He tucks it in. That’s about as formal as things get around here.
If you’re familiar with my preferences for work attire, you’ll understand that this has been somewhat challenging transition.
Since I started working here, I’ve worn a skirt or dress maybe three or four times. The rest of the time I’m in one of my two pairs of “nice” jeans, or a pair of slacks with the most casual top I can bear to wear in an office setting. Why don’t I wear skirts? Because I have anxiety over looking elitist, overdressed, out-of-place, too feminine, etc. The other women who work here are all older than 30 and I’ve yet to see any of them wear heels, even the ones who work at desks rather than on the floor.
It bugs me that what I wear for this job is such an issue for me. Average Fantastic and Already Pretty – and pretty much every fashion blog I read, actually – are all about being yourself, wearing what you like, etc. I like wearing skirts and tights and heels that make me sound intimidating. I like wearing fierce boots and chunky belts. I don’t like having half of my wardrobe hanging unused in my closet. I don’t like being afraid of what people will think of me. I don’t like picking what I wear according to what might prompt an inappropriate comment from a male coworker, or a passive-aggressive comment from a female coworker. And I don’t like that what I wear or don’t wear is inducing anxiety.
What I wear to work shouldn’t matter, but that goes both ways. It shouldn’t matter that I wear what I prefer to wear, but it also shouldn’t matter that I calm the heck down and just wear jeans and an old sweater like everyone else.
To stop me from wibbling (as much) about this, I’m going to get back into self-portraits.
1. Wear more skirts/dresses (weather pending, because it’s a warehouse, and it’s winter)
2. Wear bolder accessories – more chunky belts, more exciting jewelry, etc.
3. Remember Accounting Girl at my office. She wears all kinds of trendy stuff – knee-high boots, patterned tights, dresses, even a jumper – and as far as I know, nobody’s complained. It’s easy to get inspired by fashion blogs and then wimp out, but if I see her every day, hopefully I’ll be able to use her as a concrete example of warehouse-chic.
I’ve been kicking this theme around for a couple weeks, and I have to admit I’ve taken a few photos retroactively while I’ve worked out the wording for this post. Now, though, we can hit the ground rolling, with a nice stash of photos to sustain us!