Watcha Wearing?

November 26, 2008 by The Constant Complainer

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I will be the first to admit that I am not the best dresser.  My wife would probably tell you that I don’t have any fashion sense.  But I try.  And at the end of the day, whether it is for work or play, my clothes match, they look descent, I update my wardrobe and try to fit in as best as possible.  Clearly, in high profile cities like New York or Chicago, I would not fit in.

Anyway, aside from my own fashion deficiencies, more often than not, I find myself obsessing out in public about other people’s inappropriate attire.  Normally that situation involves me questioning if what they’re wearing is appropriate (in general) or if it’s appropriate to be wearing at that time.

Now before you say it – it isn’t that these people are dressing appropriately and I just don’t realize it…

Here’s an example.  I just attended a seminar.  It was a two-day event in Ohio.  The first day I was seated at a table with three ladies.  This was a professional seminar; some people had suits on, some wore business casual, etc.  The woman sitting directly across from me at our table had one of the lowest cut blouses I have ever seen.  Not to be graphic, but to illustrate my point, she was almost falling out of her blouse (if you know what I mean).  She knew this too.  I say that because she kept glancing down at herself, adjusting her top, putting her coat on, taking her coat off and looking at me.  It seemed like she was looking at me to see if I was looking at her blouse.  I started to feel very awkward.

Now, I wasn’t staring at her blouse or even in her direction – I made sure of that.  But the point is that some people, given my situation, would probably just look at her blouse and not worry too much about it.  But in my case, I wasn’t looking.  However, I found myself constantly worried about it.  Meaning, it is a mind game.  I wouldn’t look, but even if I wasn’t looking, I felt it would be problematic if she thought I was looking.  Does that make sense?  So I found myself purposefully sitting and facing a different direction, so much so, that my neck hurt.  Of course, I had to sit at the exact same table, and she wore another scantily clad outfit the second day as well.

So here’s my problem.  Why would this lady spend the majority of her 16 hours in this seminar worrying about her outfit?  She was fidgety, kept looking down at her blouse and adjusting her blouse.  I equate this to the other side of the coin – punks I see at the mall wearing a completely different type of attire.  I just want to ask each of them one thing – why are you wearing that?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but in my mind, there is a clear distinction between dressing nicely and dressing inappropriately.  Is it a self esteem thing?  It is a “do I look hot” thing?  I don’t know.  And I do think there are more examples than the woman’s low-cut blouse scenario I mentioned.  I’m a gentleman and not a pig, so I would sooner inconvenience myself than have had the lady at that seminar give me dirty looks all day (for even glancing in her direction).  But I don’t think I should have to be that accommodating.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

All Posts / Business / Family/Lifestyle / General Moaning Business Attire / Dress Clothes / Fashion / Inappropriate Attire /

Comments

  1. Yes, I know the type and I would definitely agree that this is some sort of personal self-esteem issue on her part. I think the woman acted in an inappropriate manner. A professional person does not come to a business seminar with her goodies hanging out. If you’re at a bar and you want to act like that fine, but at a business seminar? No. There is a time and a place to behave certain ways and it’s obvious from what you’ve said that the woman can’t distinguish when to act like a professional business person and when to act like some sort of hooker.

    That’s my opinion, professional women, women who have an ounce of decency and respect for themselves don’t behave that way.

  2. Mike says:

    Dude??? I thought I told you that when this type of thing happens…hook me up!

    But seriously, the only time I have a problem with this sort of thing is when it’s a girl who is far too young to be wearing revealing clothing. It makes me question where her parents are. For older women, they’ve had whatever self-esteem problem their whole life and nothing is probably going to change it. A better question to ask is, is there anything her company can do if her clothing is inappropriate?

  3. Zane says:

    I work in a professional office setting. I see some female co-workers who dress like this. I agree with you. They aren’t dressing trendy. They are flaunting their goods. There is a clear difference.

  4. I agree Mike. I too wonder where the parents are when I see teenagers dressed like little hookers. As to your last question, “A better question to ask is, is there anything her company can do if her clothing is inappropriate?” is simple depending on how exactly the woman was dressed. For example one time at a childrens birthday party one of the moms came dressed in a TINY skirt and apparently her mother didnt teach her to sit like a lady so her jewel was hanging out. I was the only one who didn’t find anything wrong at all with marching up to her and telling her to act like a woman with class in front of the children and cross her legs while the other women sat there and pointed and talked. I fully believe that prostitution should be legal. I fully believe that prostitution is a necessary service, but I also think there is a time and a place to act like a whore and its usually in the privacy of your own home or the privacy of the home of your pimp. Not a a business seminar or childrens birthday party. Surely you can agree with this…

  5. Mike says:

    I do agree with you Christina, but don’t call me Shirley…lol. A children’s birthday party is different from a work function though. Yes you can walk up to a woman and tell her what’s what at a social function, but it becomes increasingly more difficult with a work function. There are factors of sexual discrimination and legal cases to look out for. People love to sue these days, and right or wrong it could end up costing companies a lot of money. So I think from a company standpoint, is it worth it to say something? Unfortunately I think the bottom line says no.

  6. Yes I see your point, I hate to be argumentative (I do work in law btw lol), but I think if a woman is dressed inappropriately at work it needs to be addressed right away. I don’t see anything wrong with respectfully telling a woman that it is inappropriate and wearing a shirt to work in a professional environment where her breasts are hanging out will not be tolerated. Not saying anything is when the sexual harrassment begins because nothing is done about the situation, after awhile she becomes friendly with people and it is only natural after awhile to possibly make a comment which at first may be ok or simply dismissed until it is a problem.

  7. Mike says:

    I don’t really think you’re being argumentative, considering I think we agree on this. I think you’re correct in that it’s better to say something from the beginning rather than let it escalate into a problem. All I know is that it would be an uncomfortable conversation, and that is precisely why I wouldn’t cut it in HR. It’s almost the same as having to tell a co-worker to focus more on their personal hygiene because people are starting to complain about the strange smell in the office. I guess I’m just not good at telling someone something they should already know…like how to dress.

  8. Tallelf says:

    I have to say, as a trainer… I have run into this situation more than once where there is an uncomfortable moment, not only for them, but for me. There is a business causal code for our company, but some are a little too casual and it does need to be addressed. Besides things like this lead to dating at work… which leads to the rumor mill, etc…etc..etc… so if it gets nipped in the bud so to speak it can eliminate volumes of ISSUES

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