When getting dressed for work yesterday, I channeled my JCrew roots and pulled out the classic, crisp look: plaid button-down, white cotton pants, and crayola-colored flats. I felt comfortable all day long and maybe even imagined myself walking through the streets of Milano (although in reality I was making my way through the hospital). It got me thinking about what’s deemed appropriate attire at work, because in the back of mind I reserve white pants for more festive activities during summer nights. However, since I like shaking up the status-quo every once in a while, I put them on without looking back.
The evaluation of white pants got me thinking about something more noteworthy and relevant in today’s workforce: to what extent do we as women, allow our attire and physical appearance to demonstrate personal style, cultural identity, or even religious beliefs? I came across an article in Marie Claire’s March issue which highlighted the role of cultural diversity in the office environment. It was a fascinating read as it addressed the dichotomy between women wanting to be taken seriously and evaluated based upon knowledge and skill set, and preserving important parts of one’s heritage/culture/religion through their clothing, hairstyle, or name. In 2009 there was a poll administered to female managers and business owners, and 98% responded that appearing professional was a direct correlation to their success on the job. 1 in 5 admitted they’d withheld promotions and raises from subordinates based on how they dressed. Wow, I hope my future employer is a fan of white pants!! The article further explained that bosses and HR hiring crew take note of accents and even clothing accessories when considering someone as a potential hire for their company/organization. Lesson learned: conservative typically wins out.
Personally, I am no fan of the pantsuit, I maybe own one pair of nice slacks, and the closest thing to wearing a jacket is something to the effect of this. In trouble I am! Don’t really see myself working in corporate because I feel like it would strip away everything that my low-key/liberal/go-with-it self is about (but I also have no experience in the corporate world). Once someone mentioned whether I had any concerns of how my last name may come across on job applications, because it’s lengthy and hard to pronounce, and would taking on Dr.Love’s more American-sounding name make things easier for consideration. Hecks no, I adore my name, not only for what and who it represents, but it makes me, ME!!
So what say ye friends? How much does your own background play a role in how you dress and present on the daily at work? Do you think you’d have an opinion on someone coming in with dreadlocked hair, a sari, or a religious headpiece?