All Dressed up and Nowhere to go

I kind of miss getting all slicked up and going into an office to work.

No, I’m not retired — I work for myself. Out of my home.

And while there are a gazillion-and-one positives, the slicking-up thing is one I miss.


In my early career as a newspaper journalist, casual pants and a blouse (or sweater, depending on the weather) were my “go-to” uniform. My makeup was subdued; my hair wash-and-wear. That’s it. I had to be ready for whatever the day would bring, whether it was covering a fire or a meeting or interviewing some official.

Male reporters wore slacks, a dress shirt, and tie (no jacket, unless you were an editor). Some donned jeans; the sports department got away with shorts (or sweats) and T-shirts with team logos.

The female reporters dressed pretty much as I did. Any time one of us appeared for work in a skirt or dress, the others in the newsroom never missed the opportunity to rib us and ask where we were heading that day to require getting “all gussied up.”

After I changed careers and became a pharmaceutical sales rep, I had to purchase a completely new wardrobe. Suddenly I needed suits with matching skirts or slacks, hosiery, heels, a briefcase. My makeup had to be perfect; my hair properly styled; my fingernails manicured with polish. Every day.

When you’re sitting face to face with doctors or pharmacists, promoting your product in big-city convention halls, or working with your manager, you want to look your best. Your company expects it; everybody else looks like a cookie-cutter version of you.

But now I’m a self-employed Web designer. I work from a home office; I wear what I choose.

Outside-the-office meetings with clients or potential clients find me dressing up a bit, but most summer days I’m in shorts, T-shirt, and sneakers; my jeans come out when the weather cools. Who really cares what someone is wearing when they’re working on a computer all day? But I haven’t shaken the habit of putting on makeup, keeping my hair styled and my fingernails polished!

The point is, Now it’s my choice.

Still, every so often, when I’m walking my dog early in the morning and I see cars pass with slicked-up people going to work, I find myself longing to be slicked up, too.

Well, maybe just a teeny bit.

Do I miss it enough to give up self-employment?

Uh-uh. No way.