At work, I wear a uniform. Every day, I put on a white hair net, a white hat, a white long sleeve shirt (albeit with a shocking stripe of fluorescent yellow reflective fabric slashing through the center of my chest and running from wrist to shoulder), white pants, and tan shoes. It’s all very… Functional, even down to the fabric, which is designed to handle harsh detergents and a copious number of weekly washings. Designed as it was for utility, it’s also not flattering in the least and definitely not the comfortable yoga pants you’ll find me in almost any time I’m not in the uniform. My ability to fulfill the responsibilities of my role is not in any way predicated on the wearing of the uniform – the mandate to wear it is nothing more than a coincidence based on the location of my workstation, situated in a windowless interior room of a rather large manufacturing facility.
I’ve been gainfully employed there for almost a decade (whoa – really?!?! yep) but the uniform is a recent change, only within the past sixteen months or so. The relationship we have is complicated, the uniform and me. On the one hand, I pretty much just need to show up clothed then I can change immediately. In the summer, I can wear shorts or capris or skirts or dresses or whatever and flip flops and as long as I remember to bring a pair of socks for inside the reinforced-toe shoes, I’m good to go. Workout clothes? No biggie. Hair a wreck and hidden under a baseball or stocking cap? No issue. Third day this week in the same jeans? Not a problem.
But the waistline on those pants? Oy vey! They ride into my throat.
So the question becomes how do I delight myself rather than sink into despising the rough, coarse, unpleasant uniform? By carefully cultivating a wardrobe of outfits that fit beneath the uniform! Of course, the uniforms are designed to be perfectly appropriate with naught but simple, standard undergarments, but in truth, it can get quite chilly and that’s what originally gave me the perfect excuse to start building up a variety of clothing I could easily layer and be more comfortable wearing.
The real joy here, though? It is under my plain outer clothing that I wear my true colors. All the colors. And they help me be more… ME. I wear long, wild, and/or colorful socks. I choose shelf-bra tank tops because, pssht, bras are for formal occasions only. I wear t-shirts I’ve gotten from work. My undies are… Well, hey, you don’t need to know EVERYTHING, do you? Suffice to say they’re comfortable and don’t ride up.
The one garment that’s my absolute saving grace? Leggings. I don’t particularly feel like doing product placement at the moment, but there’s a certain brand of legging that has a texture that’s so soft, so touchable and smooth, that I adore them with a passion. I bought SIXTEEN PAIRS of them. The pair I’m wearing today are red and gray, which sounds mild enough. But the pattern is cascade of cupid silhouettes. I didn’t zoom in closely enough when I went to purchase this pair and was flummoxed when they arrived – I didn’t want Valentine’s themed leggings! But now that they’re mine, I find I like them quite as much as any of my others. I’m a quirky, passionate sort of person (and I kind of think most people might describe themselves in similar terms) but these are not normally among those that I wear out of the house.
Yes, I do wear leggings as pants.
Yes, I am over 40.
Yes, I am larger than a size 8.
No, I don’t always wear a shirt or sweater long enough to cover my bum.
No, I will not cease and desist until such time as wearing them no longer brings me joy.
Back to my cupid leggings… I wore them to work today because they were the last clean pair and it has been near freezing for the past couple days, something we’re not really used to here in Georgia, and I couldn’t face the day without my little buffer. My comfort objects. My knowledge that I have my simple silliness and plenty of color beneath the surface.