Dresscode: Casual

I start my new job tomorrow. And I have a problem.

Actually, I have multiple problems. I’ve been out of work for 3 weeks. That in itself is a huge change of pace. I’ve kept a routine and made sure I’ve been getting up early (although the odd afternoon nap may have crept in). But I’ve been eating when it suits me, doing what I want, reading blogs, reading books, sitting in the sun, planting my balcony boxes, visiting family. All stuff that will come to an abrupt end tomorrow.

Another problem is the travelling. My old job was a commute of 8 miles total per day. My new job is a 60 mile round trip. That means a complete change of morning routine, leaving home earlier, and getting home later. Couple that with the fact that husband has also changed jobs recently, working closer to home, and that means we will clash. He’ll be at home getting ready when I am. That has never happened, in the whole of our 10 year relationship. I foresee arguments!

And food! In my old job I was able to pop home for lunch. Working 30 miles away makes that absolutely impossible, so I’ll also have to factor in making and taking food with me.

As well as the usual “will I be what they expect?”, “will I be good at the job?”, “will I fit in?”, “where are the toilets?”, “how do I change the photocopier paper?” worries.

First world problems or what?!

Anyway, back to THE PROBLEM.

What to wear?????

Being vain and shallow and pathetically self conscious (in a good way, obvs), clothes are a massive part of being me and being confident. But I’ve been thrown a curve ball. My new workplace has a casual dresscode. WHAT??? I’ve never worked anywhere with a casual dresscode. I can’t crossover my work and non-work wardrobes. They have to stay separate. If I wear work shoes out of work it messes with my head. I can’t use a non work bag for work. I’ll have none of this “make your clothes work hard for you”. I don’t want double the wear for my money, I want to compartmentalise my life. Work clothes for work. Casual clothes for outside of work.

Of course, as has been pointed out to me, I don’t have to conform. But being the new girl (I use the term girl loosely; birth certificate says otherwise) is enough to set me apart, without turning up in my usual work attire of towering heels and dresses.

I’ve reached the conclusion that flat shoes are one of the differences between smart and casual. I’ve never EVER worn flat shoes for work. Apart from on casual days (the irony). And I can’t do ballet flats. As much as I like them on other people, they just make my feet look like boats (they’re not, they’re feet). I’m only a size 6, but they look wide and long and just weird. Plus I’m very much back into pointed shoes at the moment. But even before then, ick. Also, I’m slightly smaller than a 6, actually. I step out of most court shoes. So straps are generally a must for me to keep shoes on my feet.

These from Matalan fit the bill perfectly for me. Pointed, with ankle straps, and reduced to just £8 per pair.

Red flats Black flats

I’ve actually been wearing the black pair during my time off this week. Which defeats the object of work vs non work wardrobe. I like that they show a bit of toe cleavage (I know that’s a no-no for some people, but I’m a fan).

Usually I would have bought these for casual wear. And I like them for that purpose. But obviously, because of my own rules, I now have to make that decision between work or non-work.  Or get over my own own rules.

While I realise these have heels, I think these boots bridge the smart casual gap (I’m not sure I can do full on casual all the time, and I need to keep my calf muscles in practice so can’t wear flats all the time). £25.

Beige boots

And the other key to dress down is basic tops that I can add jewellery and scarves to for interest (grey £8 / khaki £7)

Grey pocket t-shirt Khaki top

And I suppose jeans will have to feature. This goes against everything I’ve ever known. This may be my one concession to keeping work and casual separate. ‘Cos jeans are just jeans.

I’ll be repurposing existing work clothes in a different way – crepe shift dresses with chunky biker boots, jersey midi skirts with flat sandals.

So what will I wear tomorrow? I have no bloody idea! And I’m trying to put off thinking about it until I really have to. Because that’s when the real world kicks in. Eek.

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