I’ve had my fair of jobs that required me to wear a uniform, starting with my very first official job at Burger King. I still remember the stiff and scratchy navy blue pants, the chunky black orthopedic sneakers, the visor that did nothing to keep all the grease out of my hair, and the polo. The heavy, ill-fitting polo shirt. Polo shirts that are three sizes too large seem to be the unifying factor of all jobs in my life that required a uniform. I don’t understand why uniform manufacturers seem to think the minimum weight for anyone in a job that requires a uniform is 150 pounds, but that seems to be about the weight that aligns with the smallest size polo available. Besides Burger King, these jobs also subjected me to this fashion crime.
- Burger King
- Apple Tree 6 Movie Theater
- Darien Lake Theme Park
- Perkins Restaurant
- Domino’s Pizza
- Bedore Tours
I had a few other jobs that had attire guidelines but not official uniforms. Like jobs that said employees had to wear a white shirt, black pants, and black shoes, but within those guidelines we were allowed to buy whatever we liked. In Honduras at Atlantic Bilingual School, we teachers were required to wear white tops and gray bottoms, a fact no one told me until after I arrived. This left me scrambling to find some clothes in the local markets and I think I probably wore the same outfit for the whole first week I was there.
In Russia, no one would have thought twice about my failure to change my outfit. All my students in Volgograd wore the same clothes for a week straight. Clothes were expensive there, so that was the norm. Still, as an American, it was odd for me to see my 20-something year old female students who were very concerned about their appearance and very much into hairstyles and cosmetics wear the same sweater Monday through Friday, wear a different sweater the next week, and then switch back to the first sweater the third week. I never commented on this to them, of course, but that didn’t stop them from commenting on my and my roommate’s ugly American shoes. Russian women have an superhero-esque ability to walk down in four-inch heels down a sidewalk covered in a two-inch thick layer of ice. My roommate and I wore flats exclusively. I know, unbelievable, right? Not giving in to the very real possibility of a broken ankle for the sake of fashion?
Then, in my thirties I had a two year foray into the big-company office environment and experienced the magic of Casual Fridays. Woo-hoo! Kind of sad when being able to wear jeans to work once a week is a Really Big Deal. Still, business casual beats those horrible polos any day of the week.
And now I work from home four days a week, which means my uniform is sweatpants, yoga pants, or running shorts, depending on the temperature and whether my partner is home as well or travelling on business. When he’s gone, there are some days my outfit ventures into serious bag lady territory. But when I do go into the office on Wednesdays, I often dress up. I work with a bunch of guys whose uniform is a t-shirt and jeans but I like dressing up. It’s fun when no one forces you to. And other days when I’m feeling more casual, I wear a shirt with the company name and logo on it. But that’s only because it’s not a polo and it actually fits me quite nicely.
What else are people writing in the A to Z Blog Challenge? Check out today’s featured blog, sponsored by the letter U: Unicorn Bell. A nice site for writers with some great links, including this one to a descriptive thesaurus collection.