The Emergency Outfit: The First Aid Kit of Office Attire
Sometimes life can throw curveballs. Sometimes you stay up too late and sleep through the alarm, and that’s on you. Other times, budget can get in the way of cleaning things on time. If you’re a single parent, you may have completely forgotten to do a load of laundry so you would have something to wear—and you don’t realize until 7 a.m. the following morning it’s just too late to make up for this oversight. And then there are natural disasters, lost clothes at the cleaners, freak accidents with pets deciding your clothes are a bed or a bathroom, and on the list goes. Regardless of what the issue is, it is always smart to have an emergency outfit (or two) on hand.
Just like you keep Band-Aids, a fire extinguisher, or aloe vera sunburn gel around, an emergency work ensemble can put out a fire that could have otherwise had you calling in sick. So what should you do? Well to begin, you obviously don’t want to pack away your favorite gear, but conversely, you don’t want to throw a heap of “this will kind of get the job done” into a grocery bag and toss it into the trunk of your car. Your list of goodies doesn’t have to be top of the line, but it needs to be good enough that no one at work asks any questions.
Your essentials should include a nice button-down shirt or blouse, a decent pair of slacks (perhaps your favorite work pants from the days of yore that you have just taken out of rotation because you have purchased new ones?), and on the off chance that you endured a flood or something that would otherwise disable you from reach your bureau, a pair of work socks is a good call.
Here’s the an important note: Once you have picked out your emergency outfit, you don’t just want to toss it into your gym bag next to your workout clothes or into a Trader Joe’s bag you happen to have hanging out in the back of your car. In order to keep your emergency wardrobe stash intact, you will want to use a garment bag. You can get a garment bag on the cheap from Wal-Mart and most other mass retailers. It doesn’t have to be a leather bag or anything special—it just needs to be able to store clothing on hangers, fold in the middle, and be storable wherever you deem is the most appropriate for your potential workplace wardrobe emergency situation.
The bottom line is, you will want to be able to reach into that garment back if the occasion arises and dress from head to toe with as little stress as possible. If that also means you have to throw a pair of simple flats into the bottom of the bag, all the better. In this way, you can ensure that if you happened to be wearing stilettos the night before, you won’t have to awkwardly saunter into the office wearing them the next day with an outfit they are completely mismatched with.
Do you have an emergency work ensemble in the event of a housing emergency, a late night out, or any other random reason? If not, put one together—better safe than sorry when it comes to your career!