I figured out this whole ‘capsule wardrobe’ thing. Except I don’t call it a capsule wardrobe, I call it:
I spent much of my work day, if not all of it, in meetings where we are expected to have our cameras on. Like many people in this situation, I have discovered that nobody can really tell what you’re wearing. Even the color doesn’t stand out much. The only thing that is particularly visible is my neckline.
I’m going with it!
Before All This Started (TM), I knew that I needed to replace my cold-weather wardrobe. I hate shopping, and even more than that, I hate letting go of my few favored garments. It seems that every year, the cuts, colors, and patterns available are more alienating and incomprehensible to me than they were the year before. There’s a sad irony in that I fit in everything and yet I don’t like any of it or want to wear it. What I had were four pairs of pants and a couple of sweaters.
I also had the problem that almost all my hot-weather clothes had spaghetti straps and necklines that were not appropriate for being on camera.
I needed something in a hurry - the on-camera decision was made a couple months after I took the job - and I was hardly in a mood to do a bunch of scrolling and shopping.
I picked out a t-shirt dress, tried it on, and saw that it was good. I ordered four more of the same thing in different colors.
Then the weather got colder. I ordered a bunch of leggings - again, trying on one pair for fit and then ordering variations of the same brand. This was fun because I realized that I could choose the wildest patterns that caught my eye and nobody but my husband and my parrot would ever know.
(She can see 200x more colors than the human eye, so this may in fact be a very weird and psychedelic experience for her).
The weather got colder still, and I ordered some heavy cardigans, what are apparently also known as “sweater coats.”
Keeping in mind that, post-COVID, I now start shaking with cold when the temperature drops to 68 F, I put a lot of emphasis on making sure I had multiple warm layers. Sometimes I still have to put a blanket over my legs and turn on the space heater, but I can get through the day.
The temperature dropped another notch. I found a miracle! Long-sleeved dresses with pockets big enough to hold my phone! This is basically the uniform I’ve been searching for all my life. I bought seven. Plus more leggings to match.
This is my work wardrobe now:
Five t-shirt dresses
Four big cardigans
Seven long-sleeve dresses with pockets
Roughly a dozen pairs of leggings
One pair of fake-fur-lined slippers
The big, dark secret here is that all of these garments are stupidly soft and comfortable. They feel indistinguishable from my pajamas, or in some cases are actually cozier. Plus not all of my actual pajamas have pockets.
My husband is quite envious.
None of these clothes are going to be seen on site at my new job - or, most likely, any job. There are two reasons for this.
First of all, my workplace has a “business professional” dress code. That means blazers and pencil skirts and brooches and pantyhose and all that fussy kind of thing. In no universe would something that feels like pajamas pass for suitable business professional attire.
Second of all, I may never be called upon to go to our physical building in my physical form.
My boss showed up on screen last week in a Ramones t-shirt. I have nothing to worry about from him. When we were discussing the policy change about turning cameras on, I told him, “I haven’t had my hair cut in over six months.” He said, “Neither have I.” Everyone on our team prefers working remotely, and it seems to have a lot of productivity advantages over commuting to the office. It may never happen.
If it does happen, if policy changes and we do start getting called in, I have two plans. Which one I prefer depends on my mood that day.
One plan is just to say, You know what? I’m working remote. I’ma stay right here.
The other plan is to shrug, schedule a real salon haircut, and go on a shopping bender. I have a preferred store that carries my size. I’d just get four pairs of slacks, four skirts, a couple of sheath dresses, matching blazers, and a dozen tops in various colors. I could do it in ninety minutes and get a cocoa on the way out.
All of that is part of the post-vaccine, post-pandemic fantasy in which it’s totally okay and normal to walk around in public again.
That’s the tradeoff. The thought of the world being normal again actually makes it sound exciting to get a proper haircut, go clothes shopping, and even eat in a mall food court. That fantasy doesn’t include the part about having to get up an hour earlier to put on fussy clothes and commute.
In the real world, I have to work in my living room in my tiny little apartment, which I virtually never leave for any reason, and sometimes it makes me climb the walls.
I applied for this job back in April, when I was still deathly ill from COVID, because I believed that the pandemic would last for three years. I knew that if I were right, I would be desperate for something to do! I wanted a way to keep busy. So far, we’re still on mandatory work-from-home status, continuing at least through next spring, and I have yet to be proved wrong.
Weird as the world is right now, unusual as it is to run an office out of our living room, at least I have one compensation to get me through. That is a little thing that I like to call work pajamas.
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.
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