Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wardrobe Malfunction

The recent business trip spanned Sunday to Monday and included air travel. Having been a few years (ok, I’ll count it – 15 years?) since my last business trip requiring a plane, and a year since my last overnight trip of any type, I am out of practice. Consequently, omissions occurred. Poor choices were made.

During a ‘normal’ week at the office, with hours spent sitting (in a chair that happens to be really fun to spin in), the wardrobe features skirts with high heel boots, dresses with heels, pants with heels … basically lots of stuff with heels. My general philosophy is to dress every day as if a client will unexpectedly drop in for a meeting. (this rule developed after a client dropped in on a casual Friday when I was dressed what felt a bit too casually.) Weekends are spent in jeans or cords with boots (if I am going out) or sweatpants (if I am not).

I haven’t dug out my fall/winter clothes yet and can’t even recall what I own or where it is located, so the wardrobe choices are a bit slim right now. There was every intention of shopping Goodwill on Saturday for the monthly ½ off sale, but a nap won the time slot instead.

Once upon a time (my first job after college), I worked three months without repeating an outfit. For reasons no longer understood, it was important enough to require planning outfits in advance and a shopping trip to prevent the horror of a repeated outfit. Life was a mix of emptiness, high balance store credit accounts and an absence of actual problems, and my coworkers on the teller line were impressed by the absence of repeated ensembles.

This is no longer the case, nor has it been for the past several years.

Currently, wardrobe decisions are based on a two part quiz: 1) Did I wear it yesterday? and 2) Does it fit today? Two “yeses” yield a winner.

For the trip, black pinstripe pants, a charcoal gray jacket and a blue long sleeve shirt won the lottery and landed in the suitcase, along with a patterned tie to use for a belt, and an actual belt in case I changed my mind. (Sadly, the belt was accidentally left behind at the hotel.) Comfort while touring a facility was a key consideration. After hearing a weather report that it had snowed at the destination on Friday, an apple green cashmere sweater was added in case it was cold. Pajamas were remembered. I planned to wear my black boots both days. There was room to pack my client notebook and the paperwork Boss 1 of 3 asked me on Saturday to go to the office to retrieve. The netbook went in, as most hotels seem to have wi-fi. These all proved to be good decisions.

Halfway to the airport I realized I had not packed deoderant. The contact lens storage solution problem (only had the hal-gallon "small-village size" bottle and no travel size) was  resolved by packing a new pair of lenses and chucking the pair I was wearing at the end of the day. I skippped packing my Estee Lauder foundation, because it is the kind-of a liquid variety possibly too large for carry-on, and too expensive to have confiscated at the security gate. People would just have to deal with me pale and freckly. Usually all the health and beauty stuff is in my checked bag when I go home for the holidays, and therefore not an issue.

On Sunday, also known as travel day, Boss 2 of 3, dressed in khakis, a sweater vest and leather jacket, picked me up at the appointed departure hour. We picked up Boss 1, who was decked out in black pants, a plaid shirt and a black windbreaker. At the airport, we met up with our client, who was in khaki cargo pants and a sweater. The guys all looked pretty sharp – casual, professional, comfortable. At the hotel, we met up with someone else from the client’s office. She was decked out in black pants and top with a sweater.

And me? Let’s just say it wasn’t one of my best fashion moments, and it left me feeling more self conscious than I have in years.

When choosing clothes for travel day, I donned my classic leather double-breasted trench coat, a long sleeve turquoise tee shirt, my black low dress boots. And jeans. Not the dark, new jeans (they failed question 2), but faded, slightly worn, secondhand jeans. So much for my work wardrobe rule. I felt like a schmuck. Nobody said anything (out loud), but I could imagine the Bosses thinking “wow, we thought she had more style sense than this.” Now I remember why I have so many rules about things – it’s because they work. At the hotel check-in desk, I had to ask the helpful young man at the counter if he had any deoderant available. Thank goodnes he did, or I would have been asking our host to stop at the WalMart Supercenter next to the hotel on our way to dinner.

No comments:

Post a Comment