This is the second company who e-mailed me an appointment for a job interview, specifying in the e-mail that I was requested to “dress professionally”, wearing “appropriate business attire”.
Halifax fashion is an oxymoron. Women walk around mostly wearing flip-flops and cut-off stretch pants. Many look as if they have walked out in their pyjamas. Sometimes you see women wearing ill-fitting jackets with short tight skirts WITHOUT tights, which do not look sexy and glamorous, merely sluttish and unhygienic. Coming from a country where women use style and fashion to make a political statement and push for human rights, (at least, so says the BBC!) and coming from a fierce office where colleagues made comments if you wore the same thing two days running, this sort of slobbing around was at first restful. My suitcase full of office-wear lay in the back room, untouched.
Then, I began to miss dressing and making up in the morning. I began to feel a bit sick wearing the same army green cords and red sweater on cold days, and blue tee-shirt and brown capris on fine days. I began fantasizing about what I would wear to job interviews before I even had any offers…The e-mail injunction to dress professionally was welcome.
I wore a sharp white pressed blouse, tucked in at the waist and with pointed collars, which I had got last year at my Mecca, Istanbul. A black velvet-cord A-style skirt just below the knees, with one big pleat in the front. Thick opaque black tights, and Italian court shoes. A small pink and cream flowery silk scarf knotted round the neck. Make-up: light green eyeliner framing the eyes all way round, with some black kohl on the inside of the lower rim. Sparkly dark pink (kashmir) eye-shadow. At the last moment I added mascara. Pinky-orange lipstick. Big silver and mother-of-pearl earrings and matching ring on my right hand. Typical outfit I would have worn in my old office in Tehran if I had been having a meeting with outsiders, but a bit too fancy for a regular office day. I listened to French rap (K-Maro) getting ready, and I really enjoyed myself. In fact, Ièm enjoying myself now.
And I enjoyed myself also on the bus, going for the interview. I enjoyed the feel of the sharp clothes- the underwired bra, the broad white cuffs matching my ring, the constricting hug of the waist of the skirt, the view of my feet in the lovely shoes. I felt more defined, and it was nice to wear these office clothes but not be in that office, riding on a bus in downtown Halifax, looking at the Atlantic.
Anyway- the recruitment was a huge thing, with groups of people coming in for tests. Ièll have to write about those tests later- such a joke. I was doing tests in a group of three. The other two were young men, wearing faded torn jeans and sloganned t-shirts. I donèt know whether they didnèt read the e-mail properly, or whether this was their professional dress. One of them had long hair falling into his eyes, the other one had a shaven head. One of them had tatoos on his arms (no-not as extreme as H.I.M). But I was the misfit. Most of the company staff (it was a big company, with about a hundred small partitioned cubicles in a huge area, with head-setted people crouching over computers) were dressed like that. Some of the women were wearing beige or cream cotton pants- that was about as professional as it got.
I didnèt complete the job interview. They needed teams for weekends and evening shifts, and I couldnèt do that. Plus, I donèt want to spend my summer in a cubicle looking at service plans for clients. But- it was an interesting vivid little exercise in different interpretations and that sort of thing.