I’m not any kind of fashionista — believe me. I’m generally happiest in jeans, a wool sweater, and the pair of super warm socks that I, um, borrowed from my brother last time I visited him on his houseboat in Maine. But when I walked into my local bookstore this morning, even I, with my “everyday-is-casual-day-unless-I’m-going-to-a-meeting” clothing style, felt a wee bit assaulted by what a clerk was wearing: a clingy t-shirt with a v-necked collar, the v of which plunged pretty much all the way down her cleavage and, alas, kept flopping open to show about one-third of her breast. I mean, you could really see a lot. It was hard not to look. Actually, it was hard to believe that the employee wasn’t either given a sweater to cover up with or sent home to change. ‘Cuz if it was my employee? That shirt wouldn’t be ok.
So I’m going to dedicate a post or two to appropriate work clothes. For today, I’m simply going to provide you with a list of what you shouldn’t wear in the workplace, no matter where you work (unless you work at home and won’t be seeing clients):
- t-shirts with slogans
- anything that bares the belly
- anything with spaghetti straps
- flip flops (unless they’re dressy ones)
- see-through tops
- anything that shows the bare skin of your breasts
- super short skirts (they ride up your leg when you sit down!)
- clothing that is stained, ripped, stinky
- clothing that is clearly too big for you
The issue with all of these? They either a) make you look sloppy (e.g., stains, plastic flip flops, and baggy clothing), which can make people think you have slopping thinking; or b) make you look like you’re thinking about sex, which can make people think about sex when they look at you. A little of that is unavoidable (humans being human), but in the workplace you mostly want people to think about you in a professional, work kind of way.