15 December 2010

Dressing for Success

Graphic designers are fortunate in many ways. One of them is that we generally aren't pigeon-holed into an industry that requires us to dress in any particular standard fashion. Thankfully, we don't have to wear uniforms, nor are we expected to wear suits and ties. A designer's attire can run the gamut from elitist fashion all the way down to working in tank tops, cut-offs and flip-flops. For those who freelance at home, who knows what they wear (I won't reveal my trade secrets there). For me, no matter what I wear, I frequently pad around in my socks rather than in shoes (unless my feet are cold or I am getting ready to go somewhere out of the office).

How you define "dressing for success"--and "success" for that matter as well--is largely dependent on the person and marginally influenced by the environment worked in. I've worked in both casual and corporate environments, and for the most part have dressed according to the norm within those environments. Fortunately, at the ACLD, library staff dress is casual; you won't see a suit around here unless it is a really special occasion. That being said, I'm usually comfortable in a dress shirt and slacks or khakis and loafers, and because of this, I may be one of the more "corporately dressed" individuals among the team. 

But recent developments have led me to--at least temporarily--leave my office shirtsleeves and slacks in the closet in favour for casual attire. Why? Because as winter temperatures have descended down into Florida, my typically balmy room has become a cold trap. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide a beautiful view but are no defense against the cold that penetrates the glass. As a result, my office is infused with the chill of winter. 

This by itself wouldn't be so bad if you have adequate heating. But for some reason, our facilities has set up an ingenious air handling system that links the needs of my room's heating to the needs of other rooms somewhere else in the building. Whichever these rooms are must never need any heat, however, because I sure as heck don't seem to be getting any! Through the computer system they use, facilities can electronically alter which linked rooms--and how many of them--must first call for heat before the system kicks on. But for some reason, no matter what they do my room seems to stay perpetually around 70 degrees. 

Now, 70 degrees is certainly not a bad temperature, really--for the outdoors. But when you're sitting at an office desk all day, not generating any heat, the coolness of 70 degrees eventually sinks in to the bones. And for a body that operates at a 98.6F degree temperature, 70 degrees isn't cutting it--especially for hands. And lately, I find myself thinking as much about how cold my hands are as I do about how much work I can be getting done. That distraction isn't a good way to spend your day.

So--for me--the concept of dressing for success (in the comfort category) has been recently been renewed to include to dressing for warmth in my office. Now, I've lived and worked in colder climates, so I know about dressing for warmth. The key is dressing in layers, a tactic I have employed here in my ACLD office. But you'll be surprised to see how many layers it takes to keep me warm.

For example, above is what I wore all day long yesterday, just to stay warm in my office. Never mind that I also had a small space heater next to my feet that kicked on from time-to-time.

Yes, you're seeing that right. I wore all of these things all day long in my office! Six layers on top, three and a half on the bottom, two pair of socks, shoes, and a winter cap. That includes fleece, flannel and even sweats. I probably would have also worn gloves, if only I could type in them. Insane, I know, but there you are. Now that's dress for SUCKSess!


  1. My coworker says you should take some iron. That might boost your blood. Remember not to wear wool next to your feet; instead wear cotton socks. And if you bought some long-johns made with silk, they would keep your body really warm. I remember a time when you did wear gloves that had part of the fingers cut from; maybe such would help now. And be sure you take a thermos of chicken noodle soup to work, along with a cup warmer for hot tea. I've been there and done all that too. Good luck!

  2. Hm. I wonder if this is learning experience...the lack of heat that is. Maybe some kind of poster that shows the link between the library being a home for the homeless to get out of the cold, yet they aren't really getting out of the cold. I hope you can get your heat fixed!

  3. Hmm...now THERE'S a good idea for a poster design with social commentary!

  4. OF NOTE: Apparently, people are intrigued by my underwear...it's my highest rated blog entry to date.

    So much for a blog on design!

    I'll have to consider to do a "Spring Fashion Show" here when the time comes. =P

  5. Ho-ho! My boss brought in a thermometer from home today to discover that my office has been 62F degrees, not the 72F that one guy in facilities said it was. Touché! Take that, facilities guy! You've been "outed!" I think I'm going to put in a "perpetual work order" either until I get heat from facilities or mother nature in the spring!

  6. Opened the door to my office this week to the view of a facilities worker's legs poking out from the drop ceiling.

    "Hmmm..." he said. "Looks like the heat strips never came on."

    "Hmmm..." I said. "That would make sense."

    It has been warmer this past week in the office, but I'm not sure if it has anything to do with the heat strips or not; the weather has been in the 50s to 70s.

    Heat strips or Mother Nature? It's neck-n-neck between who I should give the credit to.