Wednesday, June 29, 2011

what to wear

In the near future, I will be attending a meeting to start off a big project. We'll meet the various bigwigs and the local contacts and their bosses. An agenda has been circulated. There will be several separate meetings. Formal introductions. And a site walk.

So what should I wear?

The whole "meeting with the big bosses" suggests I should wear nice business attire. The "site walk" suggests something more...practical.

I'm not a big fashionista - I tend to buy and wear only what I really need. My work wardrobe has been segmented into the following separate tiers by default:

Level 1: Interview/presentation suit. This is only for super formal occasions and is relatively fancy (nice fabric, tailored-looking). I suppose I could dress down the pants with a blouse and use the outfit as a fancy "regular" work outfit, but I'm afraid of getting the pants stained or something and having to start over with a new matching coat/pants pair.

Level 2: Standard office attire. Nice pants in a neutral color that can go with lots of stuff, a blouse or button-down shirt that's not transparent or super low-cut or a hideous color (quite a tall order, I know), nice shoes that I can wear all day.

Level 3: Business casual: jeans or non-damaged field pants. A t-shirt (long or short sleeved) that's not too tight, transparent, low cut, etc. Probably the same shoes as level 2.

Level 4: Field gear. Steel-toe boots.

So, the site walk would indicate steel-toe boots, right? But there's really no way for my steel-toe boots (seriously broken in, humungous) to work with any other level of businesswear. If I were a guy, it would be easy - steel toe boots, jeans or khakis, and a button-down shirt. Maybe I should do the same? I'm concerned that it's not quite formal enough for the bigwigs.

Any suggestions?


Anonymous said...

*Never* compromise your personal safety for the sake of the bigwigs. Steel-toe boots, if that's the standard for a site walk, and then the non-damaged field pants. You can then pull the level up with a nicely ironed collared shirt - always gives things that extra shine.

And more importantly, contact the bigwigs yourself to remind them of the field walk and that *they* need to be wearing appropriate gear. (I have memories of a tunnel walk that turned out to be in a foot of water, and the guy in the business black shoes. They were, of course, ruined.)

Silver Fox said...

Not really - unless you can change before the site walk, or if you had a casual jacket to throw over jeans/shirt the way some guys at meetings do. Or a vest of some kind.

C W Magee said...

If you go jacket and just-past-knee business skirt and open shoes, you can slip your shoes off and put boots on in the car at site, and the only thing that gets muddy is your legs, not your office pants.