Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dress to code

I have great sympathy for the men who received hate messages and were asked to apologize about comments they made in a recent WSJ article about dress codes in the workplace--panty hose and skirt lengths, specifically. I think that if they were setting appropriate standards for their workplace, based on professional needs, and heck, it is their organization that is represented, I think they should have some say in what their employees wear to work--especially if they meet with clients. (original blog post about article)

That said, I can see why women would be perturbed about men still worrying about the temptation rays that come off of their bodies. First, it's a bit creepy. Second, I don't think fashion will curb the problem: for some people, knowing that their favorite gender to mack on is close by, they are just going to dream about a snack.

I also think that dress codes remain antiquated because people don't know what their workers do. For example, librarians climb around under desks, sprint with people to the stacks, they are occasionally asked to wipe up unmentionable goo, and sometimes sparkles, or they have to jump counters or haul heavy boxes. Not all of them, but I have had to do each of those things at least once a week while in the library proper. A skirt and heels won't do it--regardless of how many Jennifer Garner style CIA agents do it on TV, with a little kick boxing on the side.

So please, take a look at your dress code, not in terms of current fashion, because that is too volatile, but look at a dress code in terms of duties and what is safe or not. (Some scary pictures; the scariest one I ever saw was one my cousin showed me about an office worker who lost her finger when her wedding band was caught in a file drawer.)

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