OK, so I work in a bank, in an area that has no contact with the customers. Our area has always has a pretty 'relaxed' dress policy in that as we aren't face to face with the public, we don't have to dress professionally. The guys in my area don't wear suits unless they've got a job interview in another area, and the women don't really 'dress up' unless they've got someone to impress.
Recently, a co-worker got a new wardrobe after losing about 70 pounds. First I have to say, kudos to her, because she lost her weight the old fashioned way; she counted calories and walked her ass off. She's got a new trim figure and I understand her wanting to show it off. But...
Some of her new wardrobe choices are simply not work appropriate. At least not for a bank, even if it is in an area that doesn't have public contact. Let me give you some examples. Last week, she wore a gray, pleated mini skirt, black tights and a tight gray and white shirt. It was a cute outfit, but the skirt barely covered her behind. Today, she wore black leggings with white stars on them, a denim miniskirt, black flats and a hot pink t-shirt. It would be perfect if she were working at say, the mall. It would be a perfect outfit for her 15-year old daughter, because I overheard her tell someone that it was her daughter's outfit, and she's so excited because they wear the same size now. Which brings me to this thought- is there such a thing as 'age appropriate' anymore? Co-worker is pushing 40, even if she can, should she be wearing the same clothes as her teenage daughter?
A few of my other co-workers and I engaged in some catty gossip- Just who does she think she is? Why doesn't management say anything to her? We get the distinct feeling from management that they don't want any conflict from her, because she's the type of employee that has HR on speed-dial if she thinks she's being slighted in any way. But what if someone else wore a really short skirt, or a skimpy top? Would they say something to us?
With the economy and the clouds of doom always hovering nearby as they do these days, are company dress codes on the way out? Do employers even care what we're wearing, as long as we show up and do the job? I don't think some companies are as strict as they once were, but I do think there should be some guidelines.
When you get dressed in the mornings and take a look in the mirror, I think that if you have even the slightest doubt that your clothes might not be appropriate, maybe you shouldn't wear them. Because when your co-workers are talking about what you're wearing, it's not always complimentary. If I were being compared behind my back to Britney Spears (Oops I Did it Again-era) or Lindsey Lohan (current skank era), I'd be offended. And I'd be taking a lot harder look in the mirror.