The office masquerading as a wardrobe


This hat rack is adorned with two pairs of trousers, one cardigan, one jumper, one shirt, one long black coat and a velvet scarf. Doesn’t leave much room for my colleagues’ coats and scarves, does it?

Ever since I started cycling, my colleagues have taken great joy in ribbing me about the fact I have turned the office into a veritable wardrobe. I have suits and trousers and jumpers and scarves hanging off the communal hat rack, there’s a mountain of shoes under my desk and if I ever get wet on my cycle in there’ll be tights and fleeces and gloves drying on the heaters.

Little do they know I also have a secret stash of clothes (and socks) hidden away in one of my desk drawers, along with a collection of washroom stuff — perfume, deodorant, face wipes and moisturiser.

But let’s get one thing straight: I am no fashionista. All these clothes hanging around are just the consequence of my cycling. I don’t wear my work clothes while riding my bike, so I have to lug them into the office somehow, and if it means keeping them near my desk — or strewn under it — so be it.

I’m fairly fortunate in that our office has a fairly relaxed policy about work attire, so there’s no need for me to get too
dressed up. I can get away with wearing some nice trousers and a smart-looking shirt or jumper. But cycling does mean I have to plan ahead.

I tend to keep several pairs of trousers in the office, both of which are dry-clean only. As soon as they need cleaning I whizz them around to the dry-cleaners — a short walk away — so I don’t ever need to take them home!

Ditto for a smart black jacket, which is a permanent fixture on the back of my chair. I don it whenever I need to smarten up my “look” for meetings or unexpected outings.

But the rest of my “kit” — shirts, jumpers, skirts etc — has to be taken with me. I do this by either taking a bundle of stuff with me on the tube (I catch the tube up to twice a week) or I pack a small bundle in my bike’s carrier bag each day. The stuff I bike in I don’t usually wear that day: I let it hang up in the office so that any creases drop out and then I wear it the next day. So I have a weird little system of working out my outfit one day ahead. See what I mean about planning?

Unfortunately, because I am one of those paranoid people that lives in fear that my clothes might unexpectedly go walkabout thanks to a light-fingered cleaner or colleague, I make sure I’ve got a secret stash locked away comprising a spare pair of trousers and a t-shirt. I also have a collection of jumpers, because our office is notorious for being cold when you least expect it.

But on the whole, I don’t find the clothing thing too much of a problem. Although my colleagues might disagree!


This is my drawer containing spare socks, a few cycling t-shirts, a scarf and a bunch of washroom stuff. I didn’t bother taking a photograph of all the shoes under my desk!


8 thoughts on “The office masquerading as a wardrobe

  1. So I’m not the only one. 🙂
    I have a two drawer filing cabinet behind my desk at work. The top drawer is full of files. The bottom drawer is full of my clothes.
    We have a shower in the building and so once I finsih my morning shower and get dressed I use a couple of hangers to hang my cycling clothes in the shower recess. I have shoes and sandals under my desk. I have a spare towell or two in my bookshelf.


  2. A good cycling commuter always has her clothes organised in advance! Someone I used to work with had to go out and buy herself a new skirt because she jumped off her bike at work with nothing to change into. The funniest thing was that she repeated the same mistake a week later! (Or maybe it just a ruse to go “emergency” clothes shopping.)


  3. When I 1st started I had the clothes theft fear too – Totally unfounded, because I’ve never ever had any problem.
    Kimbofo – You missed out the MOST IMPORTANT BIT! Always, always, remember some spare underwear!
    I quickly learned that to rush out the house late for work and forget a pair, resulted in a reminder which endured the rest of the day!


  4. I’ve never even thought about my clothes getting stolen.
    I keep hangers on the coat hook that’s mounted behind my office door. There’s a dry cleaning service where I work also so I can keep a set of dress shirts at the office.


  5. I have a slightly different issue, having switched jobs, in that I no longer have access to a shower or secure bike storage at my new workplace. What would anyone suggest as the most cost effective way of fixing this? Other, that is than the ubiquitous SPONGEBATH? Oh and I work near Traflgar Square.


  6. Jenny, fortunately I have dead straight hair that I tie up in a pony tail so I don’t have that problem. I do see a lot of women cycling with headscarves underneath their helmets — I assume that’s how they’re keeping the frizz at bay. But maybe another female reader could enlighten us… ??


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