Recently, a London receptionist made headlines when she challenged her temp company, which demanded that she wear two- to four-inch heels as part of a "formal dress code." If you're reading this in the U.S., and think something like that could never happen to you, think again: generally speaking, in most states it's legal for employers to impose one dress code on women and another on men, as long as it doesn't require more formal attire from one gender.
Dress codes are one thing, but even those of us who are lucky enough to work in places where the policy is something along the lines of, "Please don't come to work naked," can't escape the added pressure professional women face to look "groomed" – in other words, to wear makeup, to blow-dry their hair, and in many cases, yes, to wear high heels. In a recent column in The Huffington Post, Emily Peck invites us to consider, for example, the difference between the day-to-day attire of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
When we talk about dress codes in the office, the focus is often on women. Whether this is because women's fashion offers more variety, or because our culture places more taboos on their dress, is up for discussion. But men should also strive to make a good impression at the office. Below the cut, you'll find a few examples of what not to do.
Today's office is a pretty casual place. Nylons are nearly extinct in most industries, and wearing a necktie is a good way to announce, "I have a court date." One thing that hasn't caught on: sweatpants at work. But a new company is hoping to change all that, by introducing a yoga pant ... for work.
We would all like to think that we're above such mundane things as looks and presentation, but the fact is, appearances count -- a lot. The good news is that this doesn't necessarily mean that we have to be supermodels to get ahead.
If you work for a company with a business-casual dress code that doesn't allow jeans, you have a dilemma on your hands: what to wear that looks professional, is comfortable, and goes with just about anything? Many women solve this problem with black dress pants. At least one style expert would like us to stop.