Hi! I am the Director of Public Relations/Community Liaison for a non-profit counseling center in Wyoming. I am a young(in my 20’s) professional female with a college degree and a passion for what I do. Recently I was pulled aside by my Executive Director and Clinical Director and given a lecture on my dress.
I dress in very professional business suits and dresses that are no shorter than knee length with business heels everyday, and I have worked hard and enjoy wearing designer clothes(Dior, Prada, etc). I was told that I needed to tone it down and think about wearing jeans, etc because I was dressing too professionally and that coworkers had complained that it made them uncomfortable. They then continued that donning designer shoes/bags/dresses makes my coworkers feel like I think that I am better than them. I was told that this is Wyoming and business is casual. Am I nuts or does this sound absurd to you? Thanks for your response!
You’re nuts. Heck at my office, people pay $5 to be able to have the priviledge of wearing jeans once a year in order to raise money for March of Dimes.
Sorry. If your co-workers and boss (especially the boss)are wearing jeans and you’re wearing a Prada suit with heels, you are inappropriately dressed.
Not that I would recognize a Prada suit if it bit me (I’m way too old and fashion challenged, plus a little bit cheap), but there are times it is inappropriate. I don’t know much about Wyoming’s dress code (does a state have a dress code?), but I did grow up in a town where suits were known as “marry ’em or bury ’em” clothes. Someone in a suit was out of place in most settings outside a church.
Now, I’m not one to criticize your sense of style and as long as your armpits aren’t showing I’m fine with whatever you are wearing. However, there are consequences to all of our actions. The consequence for dressing up is that you co-workers feel uncomfortable.
They may be irrational. You may be the only appropriately dressed person in the entire place. It doesn’t matter. Perception is reality and their reality is that your outfits make them uncomfortable.
As a commmity liaison, you should understand the importance of being able to communicate with your community.
Now, you don’t have to dress exactly like everyone else. That might be a little creepy, because it’s not your style. Dress like you would dress for business casual.
If your suits are too important to you to give up, fine. But, there will be consequences to that choice. Since the leadership at you company doesn’t approve, a consequence could be a lack of career growth. Take a hint from your bosses and follow their leads.