Monday, May 3, 2010

work it!

I was once opined at, while getting ready for work, that it was not appropriate for work colleagues to be able to see the shape of my behind. Perhaps if my skirt had been shorter or the top half tighter I might have agreed. But plenty of work skirts, particularly the high-waisted ones of today (and fashions before), are fitting to the bum – slimline. That’s what they look like. That’s the fashion. Opinion wronged.
That person having not worked in an office (... ever?) I’m not totally surprised by the expectation. However it made me think about what is appropriate for work. There are some outfits that could be for ok for the professional environment or outside 9–5, but where do you draw the line?

I wouldn’t call it anything worn above the knees – there’s a certain height above the knees where the categories change – I think it has to be at the wearers discretion, as long as you are capable of making a competent decision about what to wear.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m dubious about shorts and stockings. I have done it since writing that post, but I wouldn’t do it if I knew I had to go down and talk to the boss that day. One time I omitted the tights (it was hot, the shorts were long(er than usual) and we were on a course that day) and my friend said as I walked in that morning “hey sexy legs”. It did not give me confidence in my choice and I wouldn’t do it again. It may have been the shorts + heels combo that tipped it off. Admittedly, I do have very sexy legs, even more so in heels, so she was just stating the obvious; but perhaps it’s not the asset to be highlighted at work. For that I have a brain. With a very modest sense of self, as you can tell...

I find the line is particularly grey on Fridays. I want to wear something that will suffice for after-work excursions if I decide to go out. We aren’t supposed to wear jeans at my work, although it has been done in the past, so my options are more limited. It’s a skirt and top combo, or a dress – but not often – which makes the grade.

As with anything, it’s about how you wear combinations of clothing. With the tight form-fitting skirt I would never wear something on top which was tight or showing cleavage. One asset at a time. My rule is always tight on bottom, loose on top, (and vice versa,) whether it be jeans, skirts or trackies around home. One end must complement the other. If you’re showing a bit of boob, be modest about the amount of leg on display. If people are talking to your chest or women are sniggering as you walk past, rethink your outfit choice.

Women are the greatest gauge for acceptability when it comes to clothing. Female colleagues will always tell you if they think you look nice or your outfit is good. They might not tell you outright (unless they are very good friends) if you’re looking a bit too good for the office, but you might overhear them telling someone else. When I first started working in an office my manager once said to me, “you’re looking very summery today”. I took that as a polite, but covertly vicious, way of telling me I had made an inappropriate choice for work – and I never made the same mistake again.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm. Now rather paranoid about my 'Friday skirt' which i actually wore today (a Monday)....