Dress Codes That Expose Sexism


I know I’m really late on this story but I just had to get some thoughts out. It seems the employee was sent home for violating a dress code that does not include the clothing that the store itself sells as office wear. Reading this story I could sympathize with the employee. I myself have never liked dress codes and had issues adhering to them. I won’t say they are all unfair or ridiculous but I’ve found that many are. For example the cafe chain I worked at once that did not allow facial piercings or showing tattoos. I don’t see the point, I assume most people don’t really care what the person serving them looks like, other than clean. But at least it was pretty standard across the board for all workers.

But I’ve also had experiences where it was an obviously unfair and discriminatory. An office job I once had didn’t allow women to wear shirts that showed cleavage. While I found it odd to phrase it that way instead of just advising against low cut shirts, especially coming from a female supervisor. But I didn’t think much of it until she suggested a company loan for me to purchase more appropriate clothing and offered to come along to advise me. I agreed, naive and young enough to think she knew better and was looking out for my best interest. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised since I can’t tolerate shirts with a high collar and as one of my friends put it I would have cleavage in a turtle neck. It wasn’t until she pointed out a particular shirt that would be inappropriate I realized how ridiculous and incredibly wrong the policy was. After pointing out a low cut shirt, she commented that it would be okay for our intern, who was less endowed, to wear it but not herself or me. Since it was one of my first professional jobs and I didn’t want to lose it I kept my mouth shut.

Looking back I probably should have said something and today there is no way I would have went along but that’s now. I didn’t last long at the job, the dress code was the least of their problems. It worked out better for me in the end anyway.