Rocket's Gorgeous in the City

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Power dressing for business success

I just hate the way women are dressing themselves these days. Women have never had anything to wear to work. You can wear a dress, a suit (usually sans tie), a skirt-suit, a vest, pinstripes, the list goes on and you'll never be sure you're doing it right. Here in Canberra, the home of the red shirt/blue tie public service fashion, women go to all sorts of trouble to dress badly.

I blame magazines. The writers for Cosmo are always going on about the cool things they wear to work and how trendy they are. They put together spreads suggesting a colourful skirt, an unusually cut top (in the latest mode) and dozens of accessories make suitable office wear.

It's not that the clothes themselves are ridiculous - although I think most of them are. It's just that they create such a bad impression at work, that anyone wearing them is just begging to not be taken seriously.

First of all, these styles suggest a youthful attitude - they're geared towards teenagers and grown-ups who want the carefree lifestyle of teenagers. Frivolous clothes are fun because they are frivolous. But if you're going to dress frivolously at work, your colleagues have every reason to assume that you have a frivolous attitude towards your work.

If you're young, wearing party clothes at work says "I'm very young and really haven't stopped partying yet." Your boss will be much more interested in the girl across the hall who looks serious at work. She doesn't display any particular signs of being a party girl (even if she is) and thus seems more reliable.

The next thing to realize is that fad items tend to be cheaper than well-designed classic items. Unless you're spending thousands of dollars on top-name boutiques, chances are you're getting your fad items at low quality. They look cheap. Fad items are always made out of cheap, transparent or blatantly plastic, shiny fabric, with a very low-effort finish. They often have something scrawled on them...

Dressing in cheap clothes says something about you. Dressing in expensive clothes made on the cheap says about the same thing, so don't get the wrong message here. If you dress in badly finished clothes, you are not grooming yourself very well. Your clothes should fit well and be of a good quality. Your appearance at work is a matter of grooming, and grooming is a way of showing everyone just how important you are. Having clothes that don't fit or drape strangely, hanging from the collarbone and blooming out at the waist, for example, only tells your colleagues that you don't respect yourself enough to appear neat and tidy for work. And if you don't respect yourself, why should they?

Fads are here to stay, but when you're at work, it's important to keep them in perspective. If the fad is for polka dots, then you can probably wear a well-fitting polka-dot dress or shirt, depending on just how serious the workplace is. But if the fad is for polka-dot mini-skirts or a transparent fabric or a big silly flower, then just save it for the weekend. You're not at work to show your colleagues how trendy you are - and you're certainly not there to be sexy! If you want to make an impression, impress them with your grooming and neatness.

To finish, I want to remind you not to over-accessorize. A big plastic bangle is still just a piece of plastic, even if you are stupid enough to pay $35 for it. And while it might suit your navy slacks, you must remember that less is more! Otherwise, you're only going to look like a little girl playing dress-ups, adorning herself with every bangle, string of beads and hair-clip in the dress-ups box.


  • At 10:29 AM, Blogger shrover said…

    Hmmmm. I like the way APS women dress, least in my department. The only ones who look silly are the new grads and occasional EA who haven't worked out that party/ultrahip/flirty clothes are not for 9-5, regardless of how much male eyes may appreciate it (you're right about male managers taking a cue about reliability and personality from clothing).

    I once had a colleague/friend who said her ambition in life was to wear a blue suit to work. She didn't say what she was going to do once she fulfilled that ambition.

  • At 11:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Good you'll be lecturing about shoes... *sigh*

    Look, the way the Real World works is that you're female, you're eye candy.

    Fat chix get nowhere, so poke that chest out and you'll get lots of overtime, just don't get uppity and you'll be fine.

    Now don't you worry your pretty little head over all that toots.

    A story.
    A manager decides he can only keep one of his three assistants as times are getting tougher, but which one to keep?
    He decides on a little test...
    On payday he "accidently" gives each girl an extra $500 and then calls each one into his office the next week to explain what she did with it.
    The first girl says " I spent it all on clothes"
    The second girl says "I put $250 in the bank and spent the rest on clothes"
    The third girl says " I got the extra cash, invested it in the short term money market, doubled my money by buying and shorting astutely, put $250 in the bank, spent $250 on clothes and here's your original $500 back"

    So, which one got to keep her job?

    The blonde with the big tits of course!

    here endeth the lesson.

    As always, I give this to you pro bono


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