I'm working a half day at Huge Financial Company while every administrative assistant in the place is off at some year-end luncheon. After the Cargo Pants Incident, I'm making an effort to be SuperTemp and taking no chances. I made sure to go to bed early so I'm functioning properly, showed up five minutes early (it helps that I didn't have to arrive 'til 11:30), and I'm wearing a tie even though I'm in a more casual department. I was even planning to stay off the internet, since you need a password for it and I didn't want to risk using one from an old client, but the woman I'm filling in for left Explorer open for me so I'm free and clear. I'd brought my holiday cards to do instead, and thinking about this the "logic" of temping and huge corporations just baffles me more than usual. For the sake of appearance, isn't it better that I be typing away on the computer than that I sit here and read a magazine or write cards, something which is so obviously not work? I mean, from a distance no one could tell what I'm writing right now, whereas it would be painfully clear were I not on the computer, that I was doing my own stuff on company time.
But that's not what I want to gripe about today: My beef today is that I'm wearing a tie, and I'm banned from another department for wearing cargo pants, but the women in this company can dress like hookers in a Lifetime movie. Now, I realize that a great many women in business still make less money than their male counterparts, so I suppose I'm an ass for bitching about disparities in the dress code, but Trinny and Susannah could do a whole season on this place.
The men are essentially in uniform: Suit and tie or, if it's casual, chinos and a polo shirt. Every single one of us is wearing the same thing, year 'round.
The woman I'm sitting in for today was wearing -- I kid you not -- a gold lamé sleeveless top with a brown maribou collar, and a brown Ally McBeal length miniskirt. In December. I'll give the girl props, she pulled the look off, but at work? There's a woman I see in the elevators sometimes who gives aging hippies a bad name. She wears these muumuu-ish things with the most garish patterns, and sandals in which she shuffles along the hall. There's usually some sort of scarf or shawl around her shoulders, which is held together by the biggest clasp I've ever seen, which hangs directly in front of her crotch. But none of this compares to the hair, which is swept up and back in the most gravity-defying hair-don't since Tracy Turnblad. It goes up, rounds at the top, then swoops back down her back to her waist. The dye job (shit brown, natch) must take hours.
I'm jealous enough of the sundresses and anything goes shoes in the summer (from a comfort standpoint -- I have no desire to wear pretty frocks and strappy sandals) but winter seems to bring out the inner drag queen in every admin (and even a few executives) in this building. I think my favorite accessory is the hideously ugly, lumpy grandma cardigan that drapes the back of every single female assistant's chair year 'round. If it's cold in the office, you could a) have something appropriate on hand to throw on, or b) wear enough damn clothes to cover yourself in the first place!
Yet here I sit, in my nice conservative burgandy Banana Republic shirt and tie, with my black chinos and black leather shoes, because god forbid I should be able to breathe or walk very far or carry anything in my pockets while I fill in for the woman who's dressed like Lypsinka. Wouldn't want to be inappropriate or anything.