Like most of my girlfriends, an alarmingly significant part of my paycheck went to clothes. I was on my own for the first time and excited by the freedom I had to buy pretty new outfits for work and parties. I recall a tissue-wool mulberry skirt that gently skimmed my calves. I wore it with a romantic cream chiffon blouse with wide leg-o-mutton sleeves ending in cuffs with two pearl buttons apiece. I remember several novelty sweaters with feminine details such as embroidered yokes and knit waist ties...and a winter coat - a sweeping nutmeg balmacaan, lined with burnt orange satin as slippery as mercury.
The seven engineers were not impervious to my wardrobe and would often have something to say. But they were innocent casual remarks, such as "I like your shoes". For the most part, they talked boisterously among themselves and left me to order supplies and type reports for them in the background.
One lunch hour, I ducked into a small shop - an old iconic place in town. It was there that I spotted a beautiful silky green dress as fresh as a lawn of lush summer grass. The knowing and grandmotherly saleswoman insisted I try it on and when I did, I was a goner. Its chaste puffed sleeves belied a curvaceous line and beguiling teeny buttons ran from neckline to hem. The moire silk winked with a now-you-see-it-now-you-don't allure and it made a faint but fetching swishing sound when I walked. It seemed a very rare garment and I bought it.
When I wore my new dress to the office the next morning, I noticed my engineers were uncharacteristically subdued. After removing the plastic cover from my typewriter, I glanced behind me to see if they were actually in the office. Startled, I saw seven pairs of eyes upon me. Just as my face registered growing confusion, one finally spoke with a voice uncharacteristically thick with uncertainty. "Are we in green today, Miss Macdonald?", he quietly asked.