Workplace (double) standards about dress

What you wear reflects who you are, or who you want to be. It’s why you should “dress one level up” for a job interview. That means if you’re applying for a job in a business-casual environment, you still wear a suit to the interview, whether you’re a man or woman.

But once you leave the suit environment, dress codes for men and women vary a great deal. Not because the dress codes themselves are written differently. In fact, a good dress code is gender-neutral. For example. HR expert Susan Heathfield states in her sample business casual dress code,

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5 thoughts on “Workplace (double) standards about dress

  1. I am very happy to have a new job where I work with almost all male engineers. Nobody notices what I wear. Nobody cares. I have decided that I am going to try to go a year without buying new clothes. I have also decided that if I wear the same clothes every week, nobody will notice. That means I need five outfits. Five. That’s it.

    I will spend the money I save on clothes on a trip to Spain.

    1. That sounds awesome. But you should do a trip to Switzerland instead.

      Although, I suspect Spain has better food than Switzerland.

    2. Personally, I don’t get why people have to vary their outfits for work. If someone wears the same outfit for an entire year, I wouldn’t care, or notice.

      I work at a fairly progressive place and the dress code is “whatever”. Mine is just a bunch of $5 department store tshirts and chinos (or cargos, I can’t really tell).

  2. Ever notice that among groups who wear uniforms — the military, law enforcement, fire fighters, etc. — there’s usually greater transparency and fairness when it comes to pay? Men and women are paid according to rank and responsibility, and those are earned through skill and time, not physical looks or ability to charm the boss. I wore school uniforms for 12 years and noticed that kids who came out of similar school environments were way ahead of their peers who didn’t, both academically and socially. Wearing a uniform every day helps you focus on what’s important and polish your personal skills rather than rely on your looks and clothes to get noticed. Many women DO adopt a business “uniform” similar to men, by their limited choice of styles, fabrics, colors and accessories — even makeup and hairstyles. When their colleagues notice them and their work instead of their costumes, then the “uniform” is a success.

  3. It’s a clear dress code: but doesn’t fit our culture in New Zealand, particularly the weird aversion to open toed shoesin an office. Similarly plenty of people look smart in sleeveless shift dresses. It’s all in the styling.

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