DIS Magazine recently published a series of provoking photographs, showing a topsy-turvy view of office attire, and suggesting it might not always be possible to express yourself in the work-place. This was perfectly timed for me, right now, today.
A friend came over a few hours ago and over numerous cups of tea we discussed the do’s and don’ts of office dressing; she works in a corporate law office, I work in an entirely more fashion-liberal environment. Whilst she was trying on a full-length floral jumpsuit I had hanging out of my wardrobe ready for Glastonbury, she asked whether I would be able to wear such an item to work. ‘Yes’ I replied, ‘though there would be some comments’. In reality, I would be more likely to cause a mini volcanic ash cloud if I turned up to work decked out in a full suit than if I strode in wearing said jumpsuit. Obviously it would not be possible for my friend to roll into the partner’s office in such wild attire, but does this inability to express ones-self through dressing have a wider impact on your career, or personal life?
My parents have always taught me that it is important to be well dressed and well groomed, ‘appearance is everything’. They taught me that if I turn up to a job interview, the employer will have decided within those few initial seconds whether they want to employ me or not. Whilst I can see their point, this surely depends on the opinion of the employer as to what constitutes being well dressed- a corporate lawyer probably wouldn’t appreciate a sailor dress, white tights and brogues, whereas a more creative or fashion focused job would applaud the spirit in which the outfit had been put together. I’d like to believe that appearance is only a part of what makes you employable- I know people who are not smartly dressed but any means, but are bloody good at their jobs.
Anyone who has had the guilty pleasure of watching Lord Sugar and his young apprentices will have noticed that most of them had the same idea- turn up looking like a manchild in a suit. This all makes for quite uncomfortable viewing, especially when the boys start crying in the boardroom. There is one girl – 16 year old Zoe- who has great style, and actually seems quite good (if a little self- important). She’s like a young Lucinda, the berets have started coming out in a multitude of colours- now I just want to see if she can deliver what the Lord wants.