power jam

costumes. costumes are a productivity tool.

this morning, on my way between breakfast and the bank, i saw a business man running full tilt down the street. a business man like from a children’s book: in a conservative, navy blue suit and tie, with dress shoes, holding an open umbrella upright above his head. running fast, with long steps making his trousers flap. his tie might have been over his shoulder, but that seems like an embellishment that i would add.

i used to want to organize some kind of annual soccer game where everyone would wear power suits. navy vs. brown (i.e., bankers vs. car salesmen), or white shirts vs. blue shirts. (i also like camping in skirts and mary janes, or just generally taking control of my office wear.)

but the connection that made me realize what an excellent, if obtuse, productivity tool was available to me in costumes was remembering, when i saw the business man running, how much better i like doing housework if i’m wearing a tiara and carrying a wine glass. the glass could be full of water or hot tea for all i care, but carrying it around makes dusting or scrubbing a fun time. an event.

i’m sure you understand right away, what it is like to do housework in a tiara and carrying a wine glass (or a martini glass), because i tried explaining all of this at the sara marreiros show tonight and everybody caught on right away. “you should get some of those slippers with the fluff on the front.” and the thing is, i had some and i ran them into the ground doing housework. we are all on the same page here.

i’ve been thinking about running stairs lately anyway, because it seems like a weird and efficient urban exercise option, and i think if i got a washable power suit i could really get into running. you can wear running shoes with a skirt suit, i think. that’s a classic commuter move. nylons would be best but i have to draw the line somewhere (and they look really weird with my furry legs).

a lot of self-employees and telecommuters make a point of getting properly dressed to work at home, because it gets them into productivity mode. i do that too (my key items are a bra and real pants). i’d like to figure out a home office costume that goes one level further, not just into productivity mode but into like, titan of industry mode. what is the word for one of those pillars of society who wield massive business powers yet are admired for their philanthropy and preferably also some type of artistic skill? genius? character? sarah’s imaginary friend? i want to get into like, gomez addams mode. mon sauvage!

contenders for my new work outfit.

  • a clerical cloak of some type
  • a green bookkeeping visor and crisp shirt
  • power suit
  • my old default: the tiara and the wine glass
  • sassy underwear (possibly combined with the clerical cloak?)
  • dresses with hosiery and jewellery. and footwear.
  • cleanroom spacesuit.
  • specialized garment, like a lab coat or a utility belt
  • monochrome outfit of any kind

i think part of what is holding me back from my ultimate productivity-sauvage costume is that all the glamorous titans of yore were dudes, and the lady workers did not have cool 3-piece suits that suggest timeless power. this is an unforeseen feminist battleground.