Archive for Young professionals

Confusing business casual

Posted in Business Casual, Wear to Work with tags , , , , on April 12, 2011 by Jessica

Apologies for my lack of blogging this week. A few of my colleagues are taking vacation this week, so the rest of us get to pick up the slack (no complaining – I hope my colleagues will happily cover for me when I get to take some vacation time).

Anyway, I had to share this fascinating article from USA Today – “Business casual” causes confusion. Basically, the premise of the article is that business casual is a very fluid concept  and one that not everyone agrees on. Fair enough. Every office and dress code is different – different industries and different regions have different expectations as far as dress.
What I loved most about the article was the attitude of the article’s subject – a 24 year old woman working in public relations. She stated:

“Each generation seems to have a different idea of what is acceptable in the workplace, and in this situation I was highly offended,” says Cohen, who works at a marketing firm in Philadelphia. “I was actually not allowed to attend a meeting because my attire was deemed ‘inappropriate.’ People my age are taught to express themselves, and saying something negative about someone’s fashion is saying something negative about them.”

I’m just going to be honest here (because what is a blog for, but for expressing your honest opinions). This attitude annoys the crap out of me. Just because you and your generation have some idea of what’s appropriate, doesn’t mean it in fact is. And as a member of the same genereation I totally wouldn’t have found her outfit to be at all appropriate.

My message here is simple – if you wanna play with the big kids, you need to look like you fit in with the big kids. And that means dressing like the big kids. Obviously, by big kids I mean those in power such as the managing partners and executives. Just because you’re obeying the dress code doesn’t mean you can’t express yourself. I love feminine looks, bold colors, and funky accessories and I still incorporate those things into my daily workwear. And no one has ever or will ever tell me that I can’t attend a meeting or go to a hearing because I’m not dressed appropriately.

If you want to read a little more on this subject (and have a few laughs), I suggest you check out the Corporette open thread on the USA Today article – What NOT to Wear to the Office.

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