Tuesday, November 23, 2010

About Corporate & Gothic & Appropriate Dressing

Working from home the rest of this short, holiday week -- no more outfits, so just bloggy blather from me! You've been warned...

Recently, Mina at Sweetly Caustic said: "Where you work matters more than your subculture." Which is so true! And it's not just about what you "have to" wear at at work, it's about how you're perceived at work.

Many Silicon Valley tech companies (like where I work) are casual & don't have stated or perceived dress codes. But if you're giving a presentation or in an important meeting, you want to dress to impress, not distract.

That's why I like to combine corporate with gothic. I feel this mix gives me a professional edge. Sure, I could wear bustle skirts to the office, but I'd have to work harder to be seen for my talents (OK, & those skirts would get caught in the rolling desk chair, which already happens if I wear a long skirt at all ;-). Being more subtle about my style shows I'm creative but not unapproachable, which fits well for a writer & editor who has to interact with a wide range of people inside the company.

Reminds me of a post going around the fashion blogosphere recently on appropriate attire by Freeda. I can't agree more with what she said! The art of dressing appropriate to the occasion seems to be a bit lost today, & people will show up at weddings in skimpy clubwear or funerals in T-shirts. Wrongity wrong wrong.

What's just as bad is the Left Coast casual trend, where people think jeans are appropriate for any occasion. No, they are not. You should not wear jeans to the opera (sorry, Steve Jobs, as much as I adore your products, you can afford a tux).

While my company specifically tells interviewees to dress casual -- a suit here would be outlandish -- there is such a thing as too casual for the office. I'm not a fan of shorts & flip-flops at work unless you are employed on the set of "Baywatch." Micro-minis only belong in job settings that serve cocktails, especially in Las Vegas. Yet I've seen both at my office. *sigh*

We once interviewed a woman who wore jeans & a tight knit top which struggled mightily to contain her rather voluminous chest. All of the interview panel were female, & while we were uncomfortable discussing the topic of the candidate's clothes, we eventually did mention it. Frankly, her style was distracting, & we were concerned that it didn't show attention to detail -- a quality crucial to a copy-editor. By the end of the interview process, her editing skills showed to be lacking compared to other candidates, which seemed to back up our first impressions. It comes back to how you're perceived -- you don't want your choice of clothing to plant seeds of doubt in people's minds at an event as important as a job interview.

Clothes make a statement. That's why we should think before we dress.

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