Women are not going to get ahead in knee high boots!
I don’t understand. She’s getting dressed for work and while looking through her closet, she pulls out a fantastic outfit. She takes one last look in the mirror, tells herself how great she looks and heads to the office. This is when she walks by my cube. My co-worker always tells me I have facial leakage. While I hate this term, I can’t argue that you would definitely want to sit next to me at a poker table. Sometimes I point with my jaw open. How did she look in that mirror and tell herself she looked great? Maybe for a Saturday night, but a silk t-shirt dress hovering 9 inches above her knees with 5 inch stilettos? How could she possibly think this was appropriate for work?
My office is generally somewhere between business casual and business professional. We work in a building with another firm where their dress policy most certainly must state two things: Sperry’s paired with any color pants except black or brown (bonus points for anything neon); or your typical clubbing outfit complete with knee-high boots.
Every time I see knee-high boots on a woman in the office, I cringe. Apart from Condoleeza Rice, no woman has ever been taken seriously in the office wearing them. Don’t get me wrong, I love them. I recently bought a pair. Unfortunately, I had to return the too-big teases. But I would never wear them to work.
I should admit I have a problem, a serious problem. I, like many women, am addicted to shoes and purses. However, this problem goes a step further; I’m addicted to Louboutin’s and Louis’. My obsession for expensive shoes and bags is a joke around the office, but not on my bank account. With the amount of money I have spent on those two gentlemen, I could have already made a down payment on a DC condo. I wish I were joking.
I mention all of this to show that I am not estranged from wanting to look fashionable. I adore stilettos and wear them every day to work. However, I would never consider wearing something I wear on the weekend to work. I wear a suit every day which I understand most folks don’t do.
We are told from the start of our careers to dress for the position we want and not the position we are in. Sometimes this advice seems expensive so we ignore it; I certainly did during my first job. That is until I was told to go home because I was wearing capris and a tank top… in a Cabinet Secretary’s office. That’s when my attitude changed. As a 22 year old, first-generation college graduate moving to the big city, my rent was more than my bi-weekly paycheck. So my clothing allowance was miniscule. That’s when I discovered that Target sold suits for as little as $40. Of course, they were by no means Chanel quality and couldn’t last as long as a baseball season but they fit the bill, in more ways than one.
I have heard women in business complain that they aren’t treated as equally as men. It always takes me aback when said disenfranchised woman has a top down to there and a skirt up to there. How do you expect to be taken as a subject matter expert in fishnets? Your appearance does matter, especially in the office. If you want to get ahead in your career, don’t dress like a junior staffer. Dress like the CEO.
It is possible to be fashionable at the office while still looking professional. I love a sensible pant suit. Pair it with a great shirt and a chunky necklace. And rock your stilettos. Work the pretty! Just leave your fishnets at home.
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