I absolutely hate most clothes that count as office appropriate. And when I say hate, I mean convincing myself to wear them is an epic struggle – the sort of thing that ends in islands sinking into the ocean and four calls to my mother in the space of three minutes.
One of my favorite things about working at home means that I can work in pajama pants and a t-shirt. I realize that it may not keep me in a work frame of mind, but I’m comfortable, and that’s very important to me.
But I still have several ‘nice’ options in my closet, even excluding the dress I wear to weddings and funerals, including a suit. When do I wear them?
Networking events – If I trying to drum up business, or even connections, I think it’s very poor taste to wear pajamas. I can’t overemphasize that an aura of professionalism can help you bring in business.
Job interviews – At some point you’ll take on a contract, or some kind of short-term job, that you have to prove that you’re a real reliable person for. This tends to mean that you have to show up for an interview or introduction. Pull out the suit and dress to impress.
Face time – You know that interview? You got the job. It’s a bajillion dollars* for two weeks worth of work. But the boss wants your butt in his conference room every day so that everybody else working on the project can consult with you. Buckle down and wear your uncomfortable shoes. It’s worth it.
Conventions, conferences, etc. – Sometimes, people read what you write. Do you really want little Susie, who decided to become a firefighter on the basis of your book** to know that you’re really a bum who writes at home in a t-shirt older than she is?
Give me a moment to discuss the contents of my own closet. In general, people more fashionable than I have decided on many of the outfits I’m allowed to wear outside.
- The suit
- Black slacks and black skirt
- Button up shirts that I can wash at home and don’t hold on to wrinkles
- High heels that have minimum odds of breaking my ankles (I recommend anything with a wide heel so that you’ll still be able to walk at the end of the day)
Gents, I’m sure you can easily adjust this list to your lifestyle. And leave the kilt at home! You know who you are.
One last thing – I know how I dress at home, but I’m still a snob when I’m out. I won’t take you seriously if you show up for something business-y in extremely informal attire. And if you’re in dreads with clothes that look like you grew them on a tree, I may not even speak to you.
* A technical term for a lot of money
** Substitute “Susie,” “firefighter,” and “book” as necessary