Secretarial: The Temp

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The Independent Culture
THE BRITISH seem to go insane sartorially when the temperatures go above 65; and they forget the old rule that what you wear to work says everything about you.

Last week I was in an office where everyone soldiered on in their daily gear, covered in a sheen of perspiration by 10am and screaming at each other by 11. This week, I am working for a more casual outfit, where a moratorium has been put on power-dressing, except for those who have meetings. But boy, the things people regard as appropriate dress.

As someone who has to go into places and make snap judgments on my co- workers, I've become adept at telling what their clothes are shouting. And with the bizarre things that people are howling around me at the moment, the time has come, I think, to share. Study this list and see if you can find yourself, or at the very least, your colleagues:

Pinstripe suit, white shirt, quiet tie: no one would accuse me of being an original thinker.

Designer suit, ironed white T-shirt: I'm overpaid and I know it.

Tired grey suit, darn marks, frayed cuffs: I'm looking forward to retirement and it's imminent enough not to bother investing in new working clothes.

Novelty cufflinks: I wish I had a sense of humour.

Flowery print dress: I'm afraid that people think commercial success is unfeminine.

Clog trainers: I'm only doing this until I get my big break.

Small gold earring, (male): I'm a rebel. No, really. Sometimes I drink lager after work and everything.

Chunky gold watch (male): play your cards right and you might be wearing one of these.

Chunky gold watch (female): I played my cards right.

Sharp, power-dressing suit, short skirt, shoulderpads: I have no status at the moment, but one day I will, damn it.

Untucked silk shirt, jeans: I am the boss.

Big scarves over plain wool dresses: I am four months pregnant and don't want anyone to know.

Extra-loose dresses with empire waistline: I am four weeks pregnant and want everyone to know.

Multiple plastic bags: I live in hope that one day they'll give me an assistant and I won't have to deal with this insane workload.

Low-profile dresses and co-ordinates in olive, dust, powder-blue, charcoal: I am the Temp. And I'm watching every move you make.

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