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!