Saturday, 6 June 2009

careful what you wish for

In England, the education system barely allows its full-time students a month's holiday every summer. I know that this is different from a lot of other countries; part of this is probably to do with the year-round sameness of the British climate. In the countries where many of my relatives or foreign friends live, the heat means that they simply cannot work past the end of May.

But this year, it's different. As soon as the exams are over (in two weeks!), you are officially of school leaving age and you can go do whatever the hell you want. No army, no more compulsory education, although you do have to start giving your money to the government. Aware that however much fun a couple of weeks off work is, 2+ months of it can easily lead to boredom, I started looking for ways to fill my summer a while back.

A long, exotic holiday in a continent I've never even set foot in sounded nice. It also sounded impossibly expensive.

An educational, constructive summer course sounded nice. It was also impossible to get into one.

A job in a nice environment, like a bookshop maybe, sounded nice. It also proved an unlikely possibility.

Eventually, last week, I was offered a month, maybe more, of work! This time last year, I was preparing to start unpaid work experience in a theatre, an area which I am passionate about. My main motivation for this placement was that I wouldn't be working in an office, something which I quickly realised was not true as I sat there franking envelopes with Judi Dench's name on them.

Now read this blog post about that here.

So, I was effectively working unpaid, in an office, which sends letters to interesting people, in jeans. This year I am working in an office again, but it's going to be very, very different. Instead I am being paid for work in an office, probably sending letters to very boring people, but who the hell cares about that?

The aspect I am fretting about, and which I wanted to talk to you about, is the clothes.

I realise that I haven't blogged about fashion for almost a month (the last recorded sighting of my interest in fashion was on the 14th of May when I mused briefly on my tights collection). This is pretty poor for a blog which is often categorised as a style blog. Well, soon I am expecting this all to change as I make a frantic dash for the shops in an attempt to buy something which would be vaguely suitable for a proper office, and after a month, vaguely suitable for a student who will be spending no time in an office. I also don't want to spend my entire earnings on said clothes.

So far, I have thought something similar to the following purchases might be suitable:

  • Grey tapered cotton trousers (these are £30 at Topshop)

And these are £48 at Urban Outfitters.
  • A loose, thin blousey top (this example is on sale at UO for £9.99!)
  • A vest/waistcoat-y type garment to dress up plain t-shirts and vest tops.
Right now, chunky sleeveless blazers seem to be more in fashion and the ONLY one I could find to match this incredibly vague description... £38 at Urban Outfitters:

  • A crisp, cute shirt (Uniqlo seems to specialise in this stuff - I will almost definitely be getting this adorable blouse in at least one colour for £14.99)

  • Some smart shoes; as you know, I prioritise comfort with footwear, but I don't think that will be an issue in an office. Everyone needs some faux-Chanel in their office wardrobe, and the first pair I found are from Office (co-incidence? I think not!) for £50. I'm sure Primark would throw up something similar.

    • Then, of course, there's all the imaginary stuff I can't find at all. How perfect would some navy linen trousers with gold sailor style buttons be for those hot summer days? Or a pair of manageable mid-heels? Some cute skinny pin-striped trousers? A gorgeous tailored jacket which doesn't cost the earth?
    So, experienced readers? What are your suggestions?


    1. Love all your picks, esp the UO trousers. Hmmm, mid-heels... keep looking I think they're on the cusp. I'd have another nose in Office and poss Carvela for something to fit your budget. A mid-heel Mary-Jane/dancing shoe would be so cute with the rolled up UO chino, no?

    2. Of course you need to celebrate! Ok, Solea from what I saw at the Kurt Geiger press day are going in a different direction - less colourful and more utilitarian, I didn't love it personally. But if you get in there now-ish, as you're planning to, then you'll probably get lucky with sale stuff. KG might also have something suitable, although Kurt Geiger I fear will be too costly, no? x

    3. Great picks.... I want some pants similar to those first ones!!!


    4. I am so not looking forward to having to dress for an office job. The pants look pretty amazing, though.

    5. Lovely pieces--I think they will work very nicely.
      I went through the same thing last summer. I just pulled out my longer skirts and tried to keep things more sophisticated with blazers, vests to add the illusion of tailoring, and heels (when I could bear them).
      Also, I dressed very conservatively the first week, then as I got a feel for what was appropriate in my particular office I relaxed more into things I was slightly more comfortable in.

    6. I'm useless when it comes to casual workplaces -- I only ever wore suits!