Sunday, April 7, 2013
You want them focused on your skills, ya know?
(4blackyouth.com) Are low-cut blouses or spike heels a part of your work wardrobe? Unless you work at a night club, dressing too sexy on the job or at a job interview could hurt your chances of professional advancement. You undoubtedly want your boss and co-workers to recognize you for your work ethic and not your curves, but taking the concept of "business casual" too far could end up distracting their attention away from your job-related skills. In fact, studies have shown that wearing sexy clothing in the workplace makes it harder for people to take you seriously.
According to research carried out by psychology professor Peter Glick at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, sexy clothing and high heels are viewed as inappropriate for managers and receptionists, but even more so for those in managerial positions. The results of Glick's study show that female managers who dress in sexy clothing are seen as less competent and intelligent than their conservatively-dressed counterparts.
The mass media seems to encourage women to flaunt their sexuality, but in the office, being too sexy will make it difficult for you to earn the respect of your co-workers and get promoted. To put it simply, dressing provocatively at work will make you look incompetent and inexperienced.
Being too sexy could even get you fired, as in the case of Debrahlee Lorenzana, who was purportedly fired from her job at CitiBank in 2010 for being too hot. According to Lorenzana, her bosses told her they couldn't concentrate on their work because her appearance was too distracting. They forbade her from wearing pencil skirts, fitted business suits, three inch heels, and even turtlenecks. Lorenzana's case may be extreme, but it goes to show that dressing sexy in the workplace can be hugely problematic, especially if you happen to be well-endowed.
The results of Glick's aforementioned study also demonstrated that people even assume that a sexily dressed professional woman went to a less selective college and had a lower GPA than her conservatively-clad peers. To ensure that you aren't unfairly judged and that people will value your contributions in the workplace, dress in a way that reflects your professionalism and credibility.
How to Dress on the Job
Dressing sexy may get you positive attention at a night club, but in the office, it could inhibit you from achieving your professional goals. There's nothing wrong with wearing clothes that are flattering and fashionable, but avoid showing too much skin. Blouses should cover up your cleavage, shoulders, back, and midriff, while dresses and skirts should be no shorter than one or two inches above the knee. Pants should be fitted, but not tight enough to show off panty lines. Dresses should offer full coverage and not be too fitted. Shoes should not be open-toed or have heels higher than two inches. Other things to avoid when getting dressed for work include sheer or shiny fabrics, exposed bra straps, and low-rise pants/hip huggers.
Remember: what you wear affects how you are perceived, for better or for worse. So, before you leave your house for work, stand in front of a full-length mirror and ask yourself: do I look like I'm ready for a night on the town, or do I look like I'm ready to work in a serious, professional environment? If it's the former, change your clothes. When in doubt, err on the conservative side because no one will be offended if you dress modestly.