What If I Don’t Want to Dress To Impress?

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Why can’t men wear skirts?

Well.. They can. But they don’t (usually). Much the same way I do not wear a tie with my suit (usually).

Whilst I do understand workplace dress codes, I do not understand..

How ____ can impact work performance; 

Makeup; multiple friends (with good intentions) have recommended that I put in more effort with my appearance. I’m always confused as I turn towards the mirror and reassess my outfit. It’s only then and there that I realise it’s not my outfit they are referring to, it’s my face. For anyone who doesn’t know me personally, there are times when I do not wear make up. There are times when I wear minimal make up and there are times when for whatever reason, I go all out and cake it on. The amount of make up I apply is mainly based on my mood when I wake up and/or how much I slept in that morning. Some days I feel like caking it on and some days I don’t. Apologies in advance, but I will not put on make up purely for work purposes unless you can explain to me how a flawless complexion and embellished features will help me do my job.

High Heels; I’m 149cm and have been insecure about my height (or lack of) since the dawn of time. I do wear heels at work but it’s the same deal as makeup. I wear heels when I want to, not because I feel I should. I do not go to work with the intention hell yeah, I want to be sexy! and this thought definitely does not cross my mind as I update reports. What’s worse? Heels are proven to have a negative impact on feet, ankles, calves, knees, hips and back. So again, unless someone can tell me how heels positively impact my work, I’ll stick to flats for now.

Ties; over drinks the other night a friend mentioned that at his workplace it’s company policy to wear a tie until 8PM. I’m sorry, but if you are not client facing, or even better, if you are literally alone in the office.. Why?! I know it’s probably one of those rules that no-one stringently follows but the fact that there was enough thought and discussion to put that rule in writing amazes me.

Tattoos; the purpose and connotations around tattoos have changed over the years. Whilst I do understand it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, I do not understand how having some ink impacts my work performance. It’s not like I was injected with a dose of rebellion or laced with terrible work ethic. I quite literally have flowers on me and I can honestly say that apart from it affecting my ability to take good hotdog or legs photos, the ink has had zero impact on me.

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And whilst I’m on the topic, why the double standards?

Why it is not acceptable for people of different body types to wear the same clothing?
Think about it, three girls walk into your office. The first is ridiculously attractive, the second was not that blessed in the beauty nor weight department and the last girl is your stereotypical Plain Jane. Now imagine that they are all wearing the same outfit. For clarity’s sake I’ll paint the picture for you; a hot pink v-neck blouse partnered with a bodycon skirt that sits a little bit higher above the knees than your average work skirt. Now, who do you think will get complaints? Girl #1 was obviously distracting everyone from doing their work. She should only dress like that if she’s going out in a social setting. Girl #2 was obviously causing feelings of repulse. She should only dress like that if she’s willing to drop a few pounds. Girl #3, no comments. Different girls, same outfit, different levels of acceptance.

What’s up with it being acceptable for women to wear skirts, but not shorts (of the same length)?
Of course I’m not comparing a midi length skirt to ripped denim shorts shorts. I’m making the comparison between skirts and shorts of the same length. If length is not the issue, then what is?

And lastly, why can’t men wear shorts? 
One of my most annoying traits is providing live and vocal weather updates. Having grown up in Sydney, Australia; my updates ebb and flow from ‘I think I may drown in my own sweat‘ to ‘I wish I was going to the beach‘ as I commute to and from work. I’ve been told between the months of November and March I peak in my ability to annoy. Too engrossed in my own disbelief at the weather, it wasn’t until my previous partner started working in a corporate environment that I had the realisation; males wear trousers to work. All the time. The elderly could be suffering from heatstroke and phones could literally be giving off error messages due to heat.. And men will still be wearing trousers. Why are shorts so blatantly unaccepted in an environment so heavily impacted by the weather?

As I said at the beginning of this post, I do understand the importance of workplace dress codes. Please do not read this post and feel empowered to rock up to work naked wearing nothing but a propeller hat. Instead, think about why you dress a certain way and follow certain rules. Fashion trends change all the time, they just need the supporting shift in perception to kick it off.

**This post is heavily based on personal experiences and therefore skewed towards my own way of thinking. For the purpose of context, I am female and have worked on both ends of the casual to corporate spectrum.

fish lavender


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