Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Too Sexy for the Office?

Oh my sweet Lord! We are still debating about what is appropriate to wear in an office environment and how women have to “dress appropriately” and not be overly sexy as it distracts males. Really? Read today’s Globe and Mail and the story of Debrahlee Lorenzana who was allegedly fired for distracting her male co-workers who complained about her sexy attire. Citibank fired Ms. Lorenzana citing poor work performance, she contends it was because of her provocative clothes. You be the judge.

Where the story really irritates me are these so called puritan “business etiquette experts” who are quoted in the article. A Ms. Blake and Ms. Linda Allan have views on women’s business dress that come straight out of the civil war era. According to these two women, we ladies should be buying clothes two sizes bigger, no high heels and not show any skin. Yes, I like looking like a schoolmarm at the office. Let’s throw in a dirndl skirt and Amish shoes too. Watch me get clients looking like that.

Let’s get real people. Offices have dress code policies to follow (we do here at Maverick) and both men and women should just use common sense when getting dressed for the office. Too much cleavage, too much leg, too much make up ...too much chest hair showing .... too much anything .... is no good.

Now how come men never seem to make these articles? It’s always women who get attacked and outed for the way they dress. Over the past 20 years I’ve worked with a ton of men who could use some “dress for success” advice. A few of the men I’ve worked with have had all kinds of attire infractions. Like the guy who used to come to work in a wool cap? It looked like he had gerbils living in his head. The guy who wore the same dingy corduroy beige pants to the office, I’m sure when he took them off at night, they stood up. I had a senior guy whose shirts had frayed cuffs and collars... was he waiting for the last fibres to just fall off his back before he splurged for a new K-Mart shirt? My simple advice for men ... no sandals, no khakis, no spandex, invest in deodorant, wash your hair daily, shine your shoes, pop a breath mint once in awhile and always keep a dress jacket in your office in case of important meetings that just suddenly come up.

When men look dishevelled or unkept, the remarks are always, “Oh, he’s got his own style.” “He likes looking that way.” “He’s the nutty professor around here.” Women ... we get attacked and frowned upon, or worse, get fired. A double-standard I can’t stand and don’t put up with.

Let’s get over this dress code stuff and get back to work ... or back to shopping ..... whatever.

No comments: