Reading fellow fashion blog Catwalk Queen I read a post about the fab Patricia Field and her comment on how woman dress to the office like men, or they used to prior to Sex and the City.
This got me thinking… in my current and past two places of employments I have suffered from a variety of fashion critique and disdain- from sly comments on how casual I am, remarks on my patent shoe boots, faces at my black nail varnish to outright rudeness.. I think I have bared the brunt of a fair amount of clothing bitchiness! Just because I choose not to wear a suit or bland black trousers and a blouse does that make me too casual for the office? I don’t meet with clients, I merely sit at my desk tapping away with my wee lunch break where I pop out… is a power suit and the works really necessary? I understand that denims and scruffy clothing is off limits but I dress to make myself feel better and surely confidence in the workplace is all that matters??
I did a little research to see if perhaps there are some office rules that I am unaware of them… there doesn’t seem to be any specific rules but I did find a charming website for an American company which lists a set of clothing rules for casual Fridays… I think I break the majority of them on your average Monday! The main premise is: do not show any signs of your sexuality or personality- no outfits that would be deemed more appropriate for a picnic… no sandals…no tops with bare shoulders…no form fitting trousers… the list goes on. This is an American website so I won’t take it too literally but the message is clear- stick with suits.
Contradicting all of this is The Independant who states that formality is all dependant upon the job and office within which you work. In most cases the more formal options such as a suit and tie can in fact inhibit job performance and end up looking the more scruffy; and they ranked appropriate make up, accessories and personal hygiene as equally important as clothing. The Independant’s main advice is to wear clothing that reflects your personality, make sure you are well presented but throw in a bit of ‘you’ to make sure you get noticed.
In conclusion I completely side with The Independant, dress for your position and reflect your personality when doing so. I still believe that my floral dresses, fitted trousers, chiffon blouses and cocktail rings are okay, but I do now see that my jewelled sandals and wife beaters were maybe a bit too casual for an office… the key being to balance casual and smart together succesfully.