A faux pas…on fashion friday

dress code

I started my first ‘proper’ job  when I was 26.  The office was a  chic, caffeine fueled sort of place.  People worked long hours, had dark rings under their eyes… when asked how they were, they claimed one of two things.

Either they were  ‘UP THE WALLS!!’ or ‘UNDER PRESSURE!’

I watched, I learned.

Nowadays, I would identify the prevailing dress style of my colleagues as designer casual. At the time, I just felt it was all a bit nondescript. Boring even. The one thing everyone had in common was spectacles and those dark rings.

I drank lots of coffee and worked on my own dark rings.  After a while I was asked to attend an evening meeting with some colleagues from another research centre. It was a Friday night.

After the meeting, I planned to hit the pub  with my  buddies. The pub we frequented was a biker joint. Lots of loud music and long-haired bikers. My usual pub attire consisted of  Dr Martin boots, black leggings and a mini skirt. On this occasion I decided to tone it down, on account of the meeting.  I settled on a black vest and harem pant- probably the most respectable outfit I possessed at that point in my life.

I wasn’t exactly late for the meeting, but I wasn’t early either. When I walked in, everyone looked up. My immaculately groomed and dressed boss beckoned me to my seat and introduced me to all the other immaculately groomed participants as his research assistant. Needless to say, they were all wearing suits….

After that episode in humiliation,  I was consumed with longing for a BRIEF CASE.

I located, ‘the one’ after much searching.  Of course it was beyond my budget. A small obstacle, I threw caution to the winds and blew my savings.  Then I blew some more savings on shoes and a suit. The shoes were a novelty. Proper lady shoes complete with little heel.

By the time the next meeting came around, I was ready.

OH YES.  Never again would I turn up to a meeting in harem pants. How ridiculous! What could I have been thinking of?

This time the meeting was about drug prevention.

I had to fly to Amsterdam. ON MY OWN

It was a big deal. The stuff of stomach ulcers (sadly, I kid you not)

After a sleepless night in my hotel bed, I got up. Showered. Put on my spectacles, and sombre black suit. Stuffed my paperwork in to my new briefcase.

Ah the gravitas of that bag!  Seriously grown up.  Deep breath.

LOOKING GOOD, GIRL!

I strolled into the meeting room, intentionally early and fiddled with my paperwork.

Twenty minutes later, there was no sign of anyone.  More deep breaths.

Eventually my colleagues filed in. They were assorted youth workers, night-club owners and people recovering from addiction.

This time,the only suit in the room was my own.

Everyone else was pierced, tattooed and colourful. Mega cool. In fact, they’d have fitted right into my pub of preference back home.

Personally, I’d never felt so uncool in my life. Wrong footed AND those bloody lady shoes were killing me.

I would like to tell you that was the last time I got it wrong, but I would be lying. On a more positive note, I don’t have to worry much about transgressing dress codes nowadays as I live on a farm.

So that’s it for fashion friday. Have you ever made a fashion faux pas?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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27 thoughts on “A faux pas…on fashion friday

    1. I often feel the same. I must say I used to love the clothes show by Trinnie and Susanah- they really had a knack of finding great clothes for women of all different shapes and sizes. Everyone looked amazing in their hands.

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  1. I am a walking fashion faux pas, I suspect. Years ago I just gave up worrying about whether my outfit was perfectly in-tune with the rest of the group. I’m a jeans/t-shirt/flats kind of girl, with minimal make-up + accessories. Plus, my hair is curly, which instantly makes me the personification of unprofessional. To which I say, whatever.

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    1. I don’t know- I always had a hankering for curly hair! I even had a perm at one point. Can’t be doing with much fuss these days though, so I’m with you on flat shoes and I’m just too lazy to bother with make up!

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  2. My mother was relentless about how it’s better to be overdressed than underlooked, and I’m still abiding. Now and again, I’ve been accused of putting on airs. I recall going to a baby shower in a skirt, blouse, sweater and heels, to arrive and find everyone else wearing jeans and hoodies. I felt terrible, but it’s the only ‘as you are’ baby shower I’ve been to in 20-some years, so I think I had it right and they had it wrong 😉 lol
    When I was young, I worked in an office where a dress code was strictly enforced, and as a result of my low salary, I learned to appreciate consignment and thrift shops. I hate high heels. Now, I won’t wear anything but kitten heels and wedges.

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  3. I think someone else already said/wrote this, but it’s true for me too. My entire life has been nothing but fashion faux pas after fashion faux pas. The one that came to mind immediately was an invitation to a bridal shower back in the 1970’s when we were all wearing hippie clothing. I had been living in The South (South Carolina) for about a year or two, and I was unfamiliar with southern traditions such as formal dress (with hat and gloves) for a bridal shower. I showed up in my usual patched jeans, a t-shirt, and probably sandals. Everyone else was dressed to the hilt in true southern style. It would have been nice if they’d included the dress code on the invitation. Ah well. Now I no longer care if I’m in or out of fashion or dress codes, and I’m enjoying that freedom. 🙂

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  4. It’s so great that all these things matter less as we get older and more OK with ourselves. Am smiling to picture you in your cool gear at this formal shower. Once baby comes, formal clothes go out the window!

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  5. I’m a man. So my clothes are to keep out the weather and save me getting arrested for nudity. G. K. Chesterton, author of the Fr. Brown detective stories, needed his wife’s help to get dressed. I’m not quite that otherworldly, but my recent clothes shopping would not have been possible without my sister Monica’s guidance around the maze that is Dunnes clothes department in Douglas. If you asked me to close my eyes and describe what I’m wearing I probably couldn’t.

    ‘UP THE WALLS!’ or ‘UNDER PRESSURE!’? So work did not cause their dark rings. More likely it was the rock climbing and deep sea diving…

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  6. Oh my goodness! It’s like you couldn’t win for losing! No matter what you wore it was the wrong thing! You poor thing!

    At least now you can wear pretty much whatever you like, so that’s good. 🙂

    Those were great stories, Marie!

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  7. Haha – I love it – thanks for putting a smile on my face! Oh the ‘business suit’ – I know the feeling of being ‘burned out’ and at the moment mine is temporarily put to one side – sadly not permanently! x

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