Cecily, Motley co-founder, catches up with her friend Elie, civil servant, about dressing in the work place, what makes her feel confident, and the best advice she’s ever been given.
Does how you dress matter in your workplace?
Not officially. In the civil service, many people dress in varying tones of Kafkaesque greige, but occasionally you will catch a glimpse of something less uniform; a green polka-dot silk dress swish around a corner; a glitter heel discreetly tucked under a conference table.
How do you express your individuality in the work place, if at all?
Through humour. Work life has so many absurdities that require pointing out and giggling.
What does work / life balance mean to you?
The absence of panic.
If you could do one thing to change the civil service, what would it be?
Hmmm. I fear Sir Humphrey would say that I am not supposed to answer this question.
The ‘power’ pose is regarded as inspiring confidence in its poser. What do you do to bring you confidence in the working day?
Preparation. Whilst I’m not averse to winging it, I feel much more confident if I’ve taken the time to fully prepare. Embracing my superstitious side and wearing my favourite lucky jewellery also gives me comfort that I will be well-dressed that day, if nothing else.
What are you most intimidated by?
The audiovisual technology in my office meeting rooms, which is bafflingly complex…
What are you most proud of?
My friends, who consistently amaze me. At this very moment, my friend Cecily Motley, who has the best eye of anyone I know and who averaged about nine jokes per second when doing this photo shoot to make me look less startled, more ‘relaxed’.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t be afraid of failure. This is something I aspire to, but fail to live by every day.