Excellent comments on yesterday’s Dress for Failure (for Men) post. I only had three ideas for women, which I’ll share below, but I got a slew of tips for women. As I thought about who to put for the image, I could only think of Mimi from the Drew Carey sitcom… who would you have put?
Without further ado, here is the…
Top 10 Things a Lady Can Do To Dress For Failure
- (you’ll have to share the #1 thing a lady can do to dress for failure) _________________________________
- Wear spandex to work. I remember a memo at the FBI where they said no more spandex pants. I didn’t think much of it until I realized the policy was met with wide approval,and most people were grossed out. Even if you are in shape, leave the spandex for other places.
- Wear really, really short skirts. Or even kind-of short skirts. I remember an interviewee that came in once with a very short skirt. My first, immediate thought was “there is no way I’m hiring her – all of my peers (the other managers) would think I was hiring her because of that.” Short skirts weren’t really part of the normal attire at this office, which employed mostly women. Isn’t that bad, that I stereotyped and judged that way? Perhaps it is horrible, but the point is, it lost her the job, and there are plenty of stereotyping and judging people out there.
- Please show me your cleavage. It’s just plain distracting, women talk about it, men talk about it… again, leave it for another setting. See my quote from Erin Brokovich below.
- Wear flip-flops. It’s really fascinating that women can choose from a billion styles of shoes… as I’ve only had like one or two pairs of office/work shoes. But Tracey and Diane both agree… NO FLIP-FLOPS!
- Wear six-inch heels. Staying in the shoe theme, if you want to distract me (not because it’s sexy, but because I’m wondering how uncomfortable it would be if I were wearing those… don’t those HURT??), put on your six-inchers. Oh yeah, the other distraction comes when the brain-in-the-gutter coworker refers to your heels with a phrase that I can’t even write here… trust me, it’s really, really bad. Show up for an interview with those and my sad judgemental mind will not let you through… as I wonder “if she wore that here, what will she wear once she gets hired??“
- Disregard your stockings. I’m likely not going to notice, since I am ignorant in fashion, but Tracey lists (a) a run in stockings, and (b) stockings with open-toed shoes as a no-no.
- Show me shoulder, all the time. Tracey also says it’s a no-no to wear a sleeveless shirt or dress with no jacket. I’d have to agree.
- Been to Victoria’s Secret? Let me know by showing me! Diane says “It’s ok if you want to wear sexy undergarments to work, it’s NOT ok if everyone else can tell you’re wearing them.” Yep. That includes thongs… if you bend over and I can tell you have a thong, you chose the wrong attire.
- Wear ill-fitting clothes. We touched on this with the guys, who I think can get away with a little more sloppiness, but Diane points out that “too tight or too loose gives two very wrong impressions.”
- Bonus: Make sure your lipstick is on your teeth somewhere. I would hate to have to be in charge of all this AND makeup… so I wouldn’t have listed this (I feel bad for putting this list together), but Tracey added this in her comments, and I do remember seeing people with lipstick on their teeth. It is quite distracting, as I’ve wondered “how do I tell you…” and usually opt to just go away.
On Erin Brokovich’s website she talks about how she dressed(es) and what people think of it:
Unfortanely, we live in a world where judgements are made very quickly, and with harsh penalties. Good for you, Erin, for having the ability to see past “the cover,” but I wouldn’t risk a career move on it.
Your turn… what are your tips for women to help them dress for failure?