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Dusters, Cardigans, and Sweaters, oh my!

Office Fashion: Why Cardigans are the Better than High Heels

I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’ve had to dress business casual for the past decade or if it’s because I subconsciously long to be a librarian, but it dawned on me recently that I’ve become completely obsessed with cardigans. Or really, any kind of duster, throw-over, or sweater that is open in the front.

Prior to entering into the corporate world, my biggest fashion obsession was shoes, particularly the high-heeled variety. The more outrageous the heel, the more I loved them. While not the most comfortable or practical obsession, it was one I knew to be a common side-effect of the female condition.

It’s not that I don’t love shoes anymore but these days nothing excites me like a new knee-length duster. And honestly, I think I’m better for it. Here’s why:

They’re Always Comfortable

High Heels are con artists. They seduce you into trying them on because they look fantastic and the next thing you know they’ve convinced you to put comfort on the back-burner. Even if comfort is something you’re rational about, you won’t be able to tell from the five minutes you spent wearing them in the store that they will be making your feet cry for mercy within two hours of wearing them to the office.

Maybe its just because I’m the ripe old cranky age of 32, but I don’t have patience for shoes that torture me anymore, no matter how cute they are.

Okay, maybe if they’re really cute. The point is, I have lower tolerance for painful shoes.

Cardigans never lie to you. If it’s comfortable in the store, it will be comfortable anywhere else, no matter how long you wear it. They are in it with you for the long haul. I even wear mine around the house over my pajamas some mornings like a house coat.

They Keep you Warm

For whatever reason, every office I’ve ever worked in has basically been an icebox, no matter what time of year it is. Either my co-workers are secretly penguins or the AC has no spectrum between on or off.  I’m leaning towards the penguin theory. But since becoming addicted to cardigans, chilly days at the office are bearable.

In contrast, my heels don’t keep my feet warm at all. Then again my cardigan doesn’t keep my feet warm either. They need to make feet cardigans to go over your socks. Multi-million dollar idea right there.  

They Make You Look Smart

Pair a cardigan with some thick glasses and you will show up to your next meeting looking like you have the answers. Or like you got lost on the way to the library.

I’ve also been compared to a jedi master while wearing my cream-coloured duster. Think about it, when was the last time your shoes made you look like you could kick a storm-trooper’s butt?

I mean, you could wear a suit jacket and some people say that looks smart. But they’re not as comfortable and if you work in a business casual office then it just makes you look like a jerk.

They’re Practical

Today when I was heading out for lunch, someone coming in from outside said to me, “you’re not going to need that sweater, it’s a million degrees outside.”

I smiled and nodded, but my internal dialogue was more along the lines of, “challenge accepted.” I walked out into the blistering heat and proceeded to drive home in my stifling car without ever taking my sweater off. 

Okay, so I guess that wasn’t the best anecdote for this point.  Don’t blame the sweater, though.

Just because I’m not practical doesn’t mean the sweater isn’t.

You Can Still Enjoy Canada Day if You’re Working on July 1st

Today, most kids are rejoicing because school is now done for the summer. Most adults might feel like celebrating themselves seeing as this Friday is a Canada Day, a stat holiday!

Unless of course, you’re one of the poor suckers who’s working on Canada Day.

*Raises hand*

If you’re like me and scheduled to report for duty this Friday, take comfort in the fact that not all is lost; You can still enjoy Canada Day whether you spend the day answering phone calls the from America, or serving refreshments to the more fortunate.

Here’s Why:

Best Commute Ever

If nothing else, you can’t deny that the drive into work will be pure bliss because you’ll be pretty much the only doofus on the road this Friday. Enjoy the fact that, because of this, you will arrive to work twenty minutes earlier than usual and can get a head start on all your favourite duties.

Lighter Workload

Unless you work in the foodservice industry, in which case, skip this paragraph. And sorry.

For the rest of us, we will enjoy fewer phone calls, sparser emails, and lesser demands in general. If you’re lucky, you might even get to go home early because it’s so dead.

The Compensation

You should be getting some form of additional compensation for working a stat holiday and will either be making time and a half, or you’ll get an extra day’s vacation in lieu. More than a fair tradeoff, I’d say, especially in the latter scenario. I’d rather bypass some random crappy Monday than a holiday Friday with a light workload.

You Can Still Go to the Fireworks

Unless you have a night shift, or work on Saturdays… In which case, move along, and sorry again.

Otherwise, rejoice in the fact that you can still enjoy the fireworks because unlike most Canada Days, which seem to always fall in the middle of a work week, this year it’s on a Friday! For once, you can join the cultural celebration of sitting in gridlock traffic for an hour while getting to and from the local park. That’s right! This time, you get to celebrate Canada properly by sitting in a cheap lawn chair and fending off mosquitoes, because you don’t have to worry about getting up for work the next day!

Although, you could decide not to bother with the fireworks and go straight home to don your PJs and pass out at 9pm.

Not that I know anyone who would do that. 


Make Monday Suck Less with Just 10% More Effort

One Monday morning not so long ago, I left for work in damp pants, in a car that was perilously low on gas, ten minutes after I was supposed to be already out the door. I gazed longingly at the Starbucks as I drove by, but the drive-thru line was so long that I knew I would have both run out of gas and been late for work had I got in line.

I arrived to work barely on time in my cold clammy pants and turned on my computer to find a slew of emails that I would have to face without the crutch of caffeine.

It really did set the tone for the day.

Perhaps you have had Mondays like mine. If so, know that with as little as 10% more organizational effort, you can make your Monday morning, and the afternoon that follows, a less wretched experience. Here are my best tips for making Monday suck less, and I’ve even broken it down by the exact percentage of extra effort required.

And yes, these are very scientific percentages brought to you by the school of Corrie’s Stories.

Get Something Done on Friday Afternoon – 3% More Effort

We’ve all been there: You get back from lunch on Friday to hunker down for another four hours of work, but your brain has already checked out and gone home for a beer.

It can be tough to focus when you’re that close to the workweek’s finish line, especially if your Friday afternoons tend to be a bit slower at the office. But have some discipline and get at least one or two significant things done. I’m not talking about starting that giant project that got plopped on your desk at 3:45. I mean that easy, but mind-numbingly boring weekly report. It may not even take that long to do, but if that crappy report is still waiting for you on Monday morning, you’re going to be overly dramatic about it and spend at least twenty minutes just moaning about it. (And then you’re just making your colleagues’ Monday suck too!)

Get Your Act Together on Sunday – 4% More Effort

In my experience, Sunday night can lead to a bit of lethargy and denial that Monday is coming. That morning I left for work in damp pants was because I left my laundry until the last minute, and threw everything in the dryer right before I went to bed. Then I learned that Sunday night lethargy can affect even your appliances because the next morning my clothes weren’t all too dry.

The lesson being, you need to make a weekend chore schedule for yourself and stick to it. Sort your clothes, breakfast, lunch, and whatever else you need in advance to make the ride through Monday as smooth as possible. It’s really not that hard, it’s mostly just making a point of getting off the couch before 9pm on Sunday night to do it.

By the way, Getting your Sunday night act together also includes going to bed at a decent time instead of stubbornly binge-watching Netflix until 2am.

Get Out the Door Ten Minutes Earlier on Monday Morning – 2% More Effort

Get out the door even just ten minutes earlier and you will be rewarded with fewer gray hairs. How do you accomplish this? Get up earlier. (Because you went to bed at a decent time, remember?) Make doing your hair a timed event. You get three tries at that cute braid you saw on Pinterest before you need to abandon the idea and settle for a ponytail. Shave off additional time by making breakfast a labor free endeavor with something simple like fruit and yogurt. Any of these little adjustments that can get you out the door a little earlier will result in a less stressful commute.

If you get out on the road and traffic is flowing, then great! You can either get a head start on your emails or wait in the car outside your office and doodle around on your iPhone for ten minutes.

Or, if it’s like 90% of all Mondays, you’ll encounter some kind of traffic jam or delay on the road, but you won’t have to stress about getting to the office on time. Not to mention you’re keeping the roads safer by not driving like a James Bond stunt double reject.

Focus on Something You Can Look Forward To – 1% More Effort

This can be something really simple, like treating yourself to fancy coffee or making plans to get lunch with a friend. Make a conscious effort Sunday evening to think about what you have to look forward to the next day. It makes it that much easier to crawl your way out from the cocoon of your bed when the alarm goes off. I picked up this little exercise in mindfulness from yoga class, and although it sounds a bit basic, you’ll be surprised how much it helps!

Bonus Tip: Take Monday Off – 0% Effort

Obviously, we can’t do this one all that often, but I’m a firm believer that in conjunction with taking shorter vacations, at least a couple of those vacation days should be used to bypass Monday. A lot of people are in the habit of taking Fridays off, but if you think about it, Friday is the most decent workday there is. You should take a day off that’s crappier, like Monday. And look at that, Monday is attached to a weekend, just like Friday!

In Summary

Mondays will probably never be your favorite day of the week, but these little modifications can help take the edge off.  So even if you can’t take next Monday off, at the very least you can take comfort in the fact that you’ll arrive to work on time and in dry pants.

Survival Guide to Friday Night at the Grocery Store

It’s 5pm on Friday. You should be filled with joy as this ephemeral time of week heralds happy hour and the start of 48 hours off of work. Instead, a feeling of dread comes over you because you absolutely must stop off for groceries on the way home. And for some reason, Friday night at the grocery store is always a nightmare.

You tried to avoid it, but despite last weekend’s expertly planned shopping list, you’ve run out of a few key staples during the week. You can’t wait until Saturday morning, because the things you’ve run out of include toothpaste, toilet paper, and wine, and going through the night without even one of those things is just uncivilized.

You have no choice but to swap your sanity for sundries. It’s going to suck. But I’m here to help you get through this. Follow these guidelines to make this wretched errand as brief as possible:

Park at the Back

Drive straight to the back of the lot, do not waste time looking for a spot close to the doors. It may seem like a bummer having to walk the extra few yards to get inside, but by the time you wade through the sea of pedestrians with shopping carts and finish waiting for that car to finally back out of their primo parking spot, you could have already been checking out with the goods. Bonus points if you can sneak into the parking lot through a side street and avoid the fiasco at the front all together.

Downsize Your Shopping Receptacle

The point is to grab only the necessities and get out until you can return at a slower time of day, armed with a well-organized shopping list. If you can’t manage to carry everything in your arms, grab a basket. But do not grab a cart, no matter how great the deal is on that jumbo pack of paper towels. The cart is certain doom. You’ll be making your way down the aisle and encounter that shopper who’s carefully scrutinizing the jam selection while their cart is parked diagonally across your path to freedom. You’ll try to go back the way you came but at that exact moment, a grocery clerk will show up with a pallet of cereal boxes and block your way. Suddenly, you’re barricaded in the breakfast isle. The only way out is to squeeze yourself around the obstacle, but not without abandoning your cart. Either that or you’ll have to wait for the jam guy to move along, but we both know you’re too impatient for that.

Avoid the Deli Counter

This is definitely one of the bigger time-sucks at the grocery store. I broke my high score in Agario once while waiting for my turn to get serviced at the deli counter. Listen, I understand that you like a little black forest ham with your Saturday morning Eggs, but take a pass. Chances are there’s at least four people ahead of you, and all of them want half a pound of everything, freshly sliced. There might not even be any ham left by the time they get to you, so just save yourself the disappointment and skip it.

Don’t Forget the Toothpaste

You were on your way to the checkout, weren’t you? The toothpaste is the whole reason you’re here in the first place! Go back and get it.

Beware the Price Matchers

I will preface this by saying I truly admire people who take the time to price match. You can save a lot of money, and it’s a super smart thing to do. But it seems to take forever, and I’m more impatient than I am smart. I’d rather pay an extra 30 cents for my bag of apples if it means shaving 10 seconds off my time at the checkout. If you’re like me, then check to make sure the person ahead of you isn’t wielding any flyers before getting in the checkout line.

And lastly, the most important step of all:

At the Wine Shop Past the Checkout, Buy Two Bottles Instead of One

You’ve earned it! TGIF!


Photo Credit: domit via Compfight cc