This is the question I ask myself each week as I look to get my ironing done on a weekend: What to wear to work? The answer I am increasingly coming to is this: dress for your most attire sensitive engagement.
Most days it really doesn’t matter what I wear to work; no one cares. Apart from me. Other days it matters a little, perhaps because I have an important engagement and I choose dress in a particular way to give a particular impression. Recently we had a bishop come to visit. It was noticeable that many, though by no means all, of my colleagues made an effort to dress a little differently that day.There are some days, however, when you may have very different type of appointments in the same day. Deciding what to wear on those days can be tricky.
Recently, I had a day in which I had an appointment in the morning for which I felt the most appropriate attire was something quite informal. However, in the afternoon of the same day I had another appointment for which I felt that to be dressed as informally as I was in the morning could send unhelpful signals. It wasn’t that kind of meeting.I couldn’t think of something that would cover both possibilities. Eventually, I decided to take a change of clothes with me to work. Not ideal. But it seemed the best option available. so part way through the working day I changed. Obviously there are alternative options. Removing or adding a tie, for example, or changing your shoes, can some times nudge an ensemble from formal to informal or vice versa.But what about those times when a change of clothes is not an option? What of those occasions when the gap is wider than that to be achieved by adding or removing a tie or a blazer?
It struck me that there might be a another solution. Dress for the most attire sensitive engagement. This may not be your most important engagement of the day, nor the most significant. But it is the engagement for which it’s most helpful to pitch your attire just right.
So if that means you have to go to your children’s school concert each year in a dinner jacket because you won’t have time to change before the evening engagement with which it always clashes, then you’ll have to cope with looking like James Bond’s stuntman while you cheer your children on.Equally, if it means you are dressed rather more informally for work on certain days because you are going to be spending your afternoon prancing with primary school kids, or visiting a tough inner city estate, then so be it.
On those occasions where you can only select a single outfit for the competing demands of a complex day my advice is simply this: dress for your most attire sensitive engagement. In so doing you accept that you might be either underdressed or overdressed for most of the day, but for the appointment that is most attire sensitive, you’ll be pitched just right.
Try it and see how you get on.