(Closed) Do some women really not know how to dress at work, or is something else?

posted 4 years ago in Career
Post # 3
8044 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2013

@MrsPanda99:  No idea why someone would think it’s acceptable to wear that sort of thing to an interview!

I’ll admit I sometimes get a bit lax about how I dress. In the winter instead of a smart blazer, I might wear a HUGE sweater since it’s so friggin cold in here. In summer I may wear flip flops if I’m sitting at my desk all day. I guess people get comfortable when there’s not a well enforced dress code and you’ve worked in the same place for quite a few years. I try to dress appropriately most of the time, though. Definitely nothing that could be mistaken for nightclub wear. I (and another lady in the office) have quite ample *ahem* assets, so sometimes cleavage is a bit hard to avoid.. but I think we generally do a pretty good job of it!

Post # 4
3244 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

@MrsPanda99:  Some women genuinely do not know what is appropriate. I’ve been a part of hosting undergraduate events in the past and the undergrads have been instructed to wear their nicest clothes. One girl’s outfit was brown leather with multiple buckles on the jacket (imagine a bit more biker, than interview appropriate).

The woman may benefit from you letting her know that her attire was why she wasn’t hired.

Post # 5
6361 posts
Bee Keeper

Many people, especially people just starting out, do not fully realize/accept (not sure which, honestly), that every workplace has a “uniform” of sorts…I actually tend to think of it as a work “costume.” It is never the place to go to “express yourself” through your clothes…wrong attitude! The more unspoken the given workplace’s uniform is, the harder it is to not commit a workwear sin, as the details will be more subtle as you will be much less directly called on it (but still heavily judged for it). In many ways, being explicitly told that you have a specific uniform would be a lot easier.

Many of us learn eventually that we express ourselves with our appearance when off the clock… but at work we use it to express the workplace, and our specific job role, rather than ourselves, instead. When you get good at it you realize you do have a bit of leeway to express “yourself” as well but it’s much, much, more subtle things than when you’re off the clock.

That said, cleavage and bare thighs? I’m thinking “high school summer interns”… I have a hard time imagining person dressed that way as anything else, though I guess it depends on the industry.

Post # 6
1115 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

Some people honestly do not know what’s appropriate. Ladies at my work often wear leggings with too short shirts, clothing that is several sizes too small. Heck a former co-worker even tried to have a camel toe every day ON PURPOSE.

But I have to agree with canarydiamond. Sometimes a little bit of clevage is hard to avoid when you have a very large chest. 

Post # 7
11274 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

I have been in mid-level and senior-level management, and I know whereof you speak. 

I remember having to deal with this issue with a college intern who was assigned to my office but who owned almost nothing in the way of busines-appropriate clothing and whose only “dress clothes” seemed much more suited to going to clubs. I also had to handle a situation with a good employee who was new to my department who one day chose to wear a particular top to the office that was incredibly revealing of her rather ample cleavage. These situations are terribly awkward for both the manager and the employee.

In addition, I recall having been in a business meeting with a contracted firm, and the woman who was in charge of overseeing our account was wearing a shirt that was completely inappropriate for an office setting.

Post # 8
263 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

Perhaps she was hoping you would be male, lol.

I’m not sure about any real difference between “knowing of” and “convincing yourself of” something. You either think it’s the right choice or you don’t. If she wore it, she felt it was the right choice.

It seems (of course I’m not in your head) like you’re trying to determine whether she is innocent and naive, or a skank.

Post # 9
2204 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I think it doesn’t help that many big retail stores (Express, Limited, Banana Republic sometimes) market clothes that they call “work appropriate” but are way too tight and short. If someone doesn’t have a person in their life that can provide direction, I can see how they can show up in wrong clothes. 

Post # 10
6361 posts
Bee Keeper

For those of you that are accidentally showing cleavage at work, I would recommend a tailor/seamstress. There are definitely good, conservative business tops for women of all body types…and that doesn’t mean turtlenecks at all times.

I have a different problem with my torso, which causes my dress shirts to lie perfectly elsewhere, but do a gappy thing right in the boob area, between the buttons. Like “window to my bra… peekaboo!” 🙁 Last thing I want! 

So I have to get them tailored. If I don’t have time, I have to wear another thin shirt underneath so I’m not risking actually flashing the base of my cleavage at people. We all have our wardrobe challenges but they can all be fixed!

Post # 11
248 posts
Helper bee

I was just thinking this. My FI works in senior management and I brought him lunch today because he forgot it on our counter. The front desk receptionist had on a black shirt with a lace back so I could see her pink bra, a skirt with a side slit that went too high, and flip flops. I couldn’t believe it. Shes a nice woman and according to my FI an excellent worker but because of her attire she isn’t taken seriously. 

My biggest pet peeve: watching women bend down to pick something up and looking at their bright G-String flashing the entire world. I don’t care how skinny you are or how sexy they make you feel. Heck I wear them myself but when I have to look at someone elses butt floss I feel sick. 

Post # 12
115 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

There is a girl at my work who wears TIGHTS/LEGGINGS…it’s so unacceptable considering that some don’t even consider tights a subsitute for pants .. but she wears this to work.  It’s unfortunate.

It also makes me mad to see older ladies wear short-ish skirts w/ opaque leggings and that nobody judges them but when a 20 something year old does it, they’re told it’s inappropriate.  It should be inappropriate whether you’re 20 years old or 50.

Post # 13
1281 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

Also a huge pet-peeve of mine.


I DO think, however, that a woman in the work place can STILL express herself and her style AND be work-appropriate.  It’s all about balance, though.  If I’m wearing a very black, conservative suit, then I will pair it with a bright top or bold accessories.  Conversely, if I’m wearing a skirt suit, I will tone down the accesories and make sure I’m wearing one of my more conservative blouses with it.  

Post # 14
1125 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

Oh boy do I know about this. A girl came into my old job looking for an entry position. She was literally turned away before they would accept her resume or anything, and was told to go home and dress appropriately before returning.

Apparently she was in a like size 3 pants when clearly she needed a size 10, her shorts did reveal the bottom of the butt and where the butt met the thigh and her shirt was a tank top that ended above the belly button, really, in a very professional place. She never came back.

Post # 15
1115 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

@joya_aspera:  I was a size 8 waist with a 32G chest. To buy clothes that ‘fit’ I’d have to go with a size 14. You can’t tailor a size 14 anything to fit a size 8 waist and still look good. Plus, it’s expensive to have to tailor every single article of clothing! I did wear lace camis under all my lower cut tops, but even then, occasionally a hint of clevage would show. (I’ve since had a breast reduction and no longer have this problem, but I can see how sometimes a touch of clevage is unavoidable).

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