Every morning on the metro (yes, I use public transportation. Don’t judge.) I see women in adorable pant suits or pencil skirts, with perfect hair, make-up and jewelry. The odd thing is that these women are wearing flip-flops or tennis shoes, and carrying high heels. Ok, so this is not that huge of a phenomenon. You witness this in every city I’m sure, after all, as every woman knows, it’s only practical. It makes me wonder though, why do we wear heels to work at all?
I’m sure there are theories connecting the male-female height difference and power dynamics in the work place. There are probably some feminist as well, who would say heels are just another burden society places on the women trying to make it in a man’s world. Yet think about a professional woman in D.C. Chances are she’s not exactly the June Cleaver type. She’s ambitious, independent and successful. And still, she wears heels every day. I haven’t reached a conclusion about this incredibly fascinating and vitally important subject of footwear. I just love when two topics which I find captivating (shoes and woman’s role in society) seem to have even some tangential relationship, and I have to call attention to it.
While I’m on the subject of fashion, I would like to pose a question. I would be eternally grateful to anyone who could shed some light on the ambiguities of the “business casual” dress code. At one of my internships, this guideline has led to quite an array of clothing. During a staff meeting last week, I glanced around the board room and saw a man in a polo, jeans and TEVAS (!!!), a girl in a strappy tank top with a sufficient amount of cleavage, a guy three piece suit, and everything in between.
In this specific office, it makes some sense that the dress code is not too stringent, as there is little face to face interaction with clients. However, sometimes I feel like it makes a more professional or focused work environment when you dress the part. Thus, I tend to err on the side of over dressing rather than under dressing. There are times though, when it is about 90 billion degrees outside, and I’d really like to wear open-toed shoes or a sleeveless top.
So, my question is this: what is never O.K. to wear in a work setting with the dress code of “business casual” ?