Work appropriate clothing is a funny thing.
I am very pleased that my life no longer involves uniforms, staff clothing allowances, or the need to wear clothes that you don't mind if bleach splashes against it. This may not sound like much to you, but it's important to hold onto the little things when it comes to a new job.
There are probably jobs out there where you can wear exactly what you want 24/7, but I don't have one of them. This is mostly because on a day to day basis I have been known to wear naught but pajamas, or a replica Star Trek uniform. Both of these are probably not great for my slightly customer-facing role. Besides, it's nice to have a 'work' side to the wardrobe. It means that I don't have to think too much about what I'm going to wear that day, know that I look appropriate for my role, and also be reasonably comfortable. The culture of my office is one less of smart-casual and more of smart-comfortable, simply because there is a manufacturing element to the business I work for and sometimes you need to head into an industrial area and sensible shoes and high-visibility jackets are the order of the day.
See that woman up there? That's what I assumed I would be wearing in my graduate life. Instead it might well be a blouse like that, but with jeans, or smart trousers with a jumper. Still, I keep on thinking that one day I will be a Professional. My interview suit – jacket and trousers and yes, it's from Marks and Spencer – hangs forlornly in my wardrobe, and the other day I went mad in Primark and bought a pencil skirt.
Imagine, then, my delight, when I found myself selecting for a Very Important Meeting outside of the office. Okay, not that delighted, but still – I could wear my new skirt! On the morning of the meeting I shuffled myself into skirt, heels and strode out into the morning before promptly failing to get into my car with any dignity of grace. This experience continued throughout the day, particularly when I attempted to get up stairs. Hilarity ensued for my colleagues. Less so for me. A pencil skirt, for those not in the know, creates a sleek silhouette, with a higher waistline and lower hemline, with a tightening towards the knees. In practical terms, it means you can't move particularly fast.
One day I would still like to have a role where I get to wear Office Clothes, but I think I need more practice at the business suit thing. Apart from anything else, I always feel it's important to be able to run away as fast as possible when the zombie apocalypse comes and the only way I would have been doing that would have been to do that would have been to strip first, which frankly no one needs to see at the end of the world.
In conclusion: business suits take a ridiculous amount of practice. Who knew?
(On the bright side, the meeting went very well and I only fell over once in the car park. Success!)