In a recent article, a London woman claimed that she was sent home, and her job in jeopardy because she refused to wear heels at work. Nicola Thorp, a 27 year old temp was told the dress code at the firm required heels. She isn’t taking this to court, but she took it to the court of public opinion, and the online community seems to support her stance that she should not have to adhere to their standards. But is that the best idea?
What you wear on an interview says as much about you as your resume, and I write about this in my book “The Comeback”. However, it is just as important that you present yourself in a professional way at work no matter what station in life you find yourself, so that you can guarantee a raise or a promotion. That is just reality.
Casual Friday can be too casual, and I’ve seen this trend start to creep up after the technology bubble. When I was a reporter in San Francisco during the dot come bubble, I saw these 26 year old tech pioneers doing crazy thing like buy wineries, restaurants, and hotels. Those ended up to be bad investments, and taking the casual attitude at work too far can be a bad investment as well. Casual Friday does not mean flip flops, t-shirts, and baseball hats. You must always maintain a professional look.
Your friends are wearing it, but don’t wear it to work. I love to see what other women in New York are wearing, but I could never wear most of it to the office, and you should not either. The fashion industry is a multi million dollar sales tool designed to convince you that you must have that skirt, sweater, or pair of shoes. Just because you saw it in Vogue, does not mean it is appropriate for work.
Attracting unwanted attention can be bad, and hurt your reputation. Let’s face it ladies, there is still a healthy dose of sexism in life and in work, so if you want to feel sexy and attractive, do that in your own time. You are at work to produce results, be smart, and contribute to the bottom line. Who needs some creepy co-worker harassing you while you are kicking corporate booty every day?
I know that it is insulting to feel like you do not have freedom to express yourself at work when it comes to clothes, but sadly, a career is a vehicle to help you provide for your family, and there are some things not worth fighting for. You at work is different than you at home, and that is ok. A job is something you do, it is not who you are.