Let’s Talk about Sex…y Work Attire, or Not

Hey GoGirl readers,

There’s something that needs to be addressed and it needs to be addressed immediately: dressing for the workplace. Here’s what needs to be said: be professional. This goes for all people of all genders and shapes and sizes and the array of differences that different people possess.

I was sitting in a networking event held by a law school (the name of which I will withhold), and one of the organizers of the event (who also works in the office of professional advancement) asked the panelists to please articulate “to the women of the room the difference between sexy and professional.”

Now this got me frustrated. It’s exactly this type of language that creates a situation where women are objectified and considered too sexual and object-like to be taken seriously as a leader in the professional community. Sexy is a perception that changes from individual to individual. How can we label all women dressing a certain way “sexy” and how can we contrast that with professional? This leads to a situation where women simply have another hurdle to overcome in being taken seriously. Who knows what an individual considers “too sexy” for the workplace. This language is vague, unclear, and gender biased.

Instead of focusing on how a woman shouldn’t look in the workplace, let’s present her with images of women being successful in the media. Let’s show her that women can be appreciated as leaders for what they do and not how they dress. Let’s stop criticizing her peers and women who came before her for “dressing too sexy” or “too frumpy.” Let’s stop talking about the bags under Hillary Clinton’s eyes or whether or not Michele Bachman’s french manicure is “tasteful or tacky.”

Instead, if we must discuss what should be worn in the workplace, let’s talk about cut, let’s talk about shape, and let’s talk about FIT of attire for both genders, not how “sexy” it is on women.

Fabulously yours,

J

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