One of the hard things about my current mailroom job–aside from the sheer physical exhaustion–is that I don’t get to dress up. I’m on my feet all day, and the packages are not particularly clean, so I have to wear clothing that’s easy to move around in and that I don’t mind getting stained. This leaves me with a fairly small set of options.
It might seem like such a little thing, but I really miss the everyday, low-level dressing-up that comes with the office jobs I’ve had.
This outfit is from my last office temp job, in the registrar’s office at a university. It was near a lovely park that was perfect for taking outfit pictures on my lunch break.
Tank top and cardigan: Lane Bryant, skirt: vendor at a dance festival, shoes: Naot, necklace: So Good, earrings: CoupCoup Designs (aka my college friend Emily), hair flower: vendor at a local arts festival
For me, dressing up for an office job–at least one with a not-too-restrictive dress code, which I’ve been lucky to experience at most places I’ve worked–is a small, everyday form of creative expression. A chance to play with color, shape, and pattern within certain comfortable limits.
It’s can also be a form of social currency, a means of connection with other people, especially other women. I’ve always enjoyed exchanging compliments with my coworkers over dresses, shoes, and accessories. (Of course, the gender politics of this sort of feminine bonding can get messy–especially in predominantly male workplaces, or for women who dress in a masculine manner or have no interest in fashion. I recognize that what’s an easy and safe form of social connection for me isn’t always that way for other people, and I wish that weren’t the case.)
And it’s just plain fun.