Don’t judge me by the length of my skirt

Sometimes, I take fashion advice from my other half. This is a bad idea because:
(a)  it will usually involve high heels that will have my feet screaming bloody murder by the end of the day,
(b)  it’s often ludicrously tight, and
(c)   I have to spend the rest of the day tugging my skirt down self consciously

You’d think I’d do myself a favour and just not ask anymore. Or banish all such options from my wardrobe so they aren’t even a possible selection (the obvious problem being, as soon as I go shopping again I’m influenced by his overly enthusiastic response to the high-waisted shorts that are borderline hot pants). Basically, I’m a sucker.

But I’m one that cares about looking presentable. And who sometimes needs a second opinion. And if I’m asking a boy about what he thinks looks good, I can hardly get annoyed that he hasn’t factored in my level of outfit comfort when he gives me honest answers.

As a result, I have a wardrobe that is part sensible (hems to just above the knee or lower) and part “easy going”, shall we say (hems from two inches below butt cheeks to two inches above knee).

I remember one of my ex-colleagues, a female, commenting that she remembered when I started and I was all “short skirts and tanned legs”. Although the reminder of my once fabulous tan did make me sigh with longing (disclaimer: tanning is VERY bad and you should not expose yourself to the sun without a good sunscreen applied), I was a little concerned that she remembered me by my hem length. And I definitely got the feeling that although she meant it in a nice way, as in “I thought you were just a tart then I discovered you’re actually great to work with and more than capable at your job!” I had been judged from the get-go based on the length of my skirt.

Did that mean I had to work a little harder to gain the respect of my colleagues? Particularly the female ones, who, as we know, are always the quickest to judge? Probably. Should I have had to? Well…probably.

What you wear certainly doesn’t have any bearing on your ability to do a job, and your capabilities shouldn’t be judged. But if people deem you to wear something inappropriate in the work environment, in front of clients, or to meetings, then that means they have questions about your ability to interpret a situation correctly.

A guy who showed up for an interview without a jacket or tie, even in this day and age where corporate casual is the norm, would have to work a little bit harder to impress me – because my first impression would be that he’s potentially not as professional as other candidates who have shown up in the “right” get up.

Similarly, a lady who gets her rack out every day and who gets promoted quickly through the ranks would unfortunately have to work harder to prove to others that she is capable and deserving, to stop any rumours about her only getting promoted because of her assets.

It’s a sad fact that we don’t always assume the best of situations and people – but that’s life, and we can’t walk naively through it thinking that everyone thinks the same way we do.

I’m no closer to understanding how short too short is for the workplace. Black tights, which are in force in the UK 70% of the year, seem to allow you an extra inch or two of latitude. Too much bare leg, however, and it seems that all your good work might just come undone. But trust me when I say, I’ll get the job done.

* Image courtesy of stock.xchng


One thought on “Don’t judge me by the length of my skirt

  1. What timing! I went to a Women in Leadership luncheon today and one of the speakers is the CIO of a listed Australian company. She was saying, in terms of your personal brand, what you wear to work sends out a message to your colleagues. You determine what you want that message to be – “I want to find myself a husband” or “I am a professional and you can take me seriously”. Very true!

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