I have a love/hate relationship with dress codes. I've typically always followed them without question, seeing them as an element of civilized society. With every new job I've always asked what the code is. I think dining in a fancy restaurant warrants wearing a fancy dress. I would rather be overdressed than underdressed in practically any situation.
But as I've gotten older, I've grown to see some of the long-enduring rules of appropriate dress as both antiquated and unnecessary.
As a college senior in the mid-1990s I was required to attend a mock job interview at my school's career center. This included dressing *professionally* as one would for a real interview. As luck would have it, a snowstorm hit the night before my interview. Awaking to find my car utterly snowed in, I put on several layers of clothing and laced up my snow boots for the half-mile hike to campus.
Despite my intelligent answers and professional demeanor, the interviewer at the career center marked points off my evaluation for my "inappropriate attire." I suppose I should have trudged through the snow in pumps. A woman is only as good as her appearance, right?
I later found out that a classmate who had an interviewed the same day was deducted points because the heels on her shoes were deemed "too fat and trendy." I'm so glad to know that our tuition money was well spent on footwear advice.
Ellen Warren is a syndicated writer with the Chicago Tribune, currently producing a weekly shopping advice column. Back in March she focused on new college grads who would soon be facing the job world. Among her Dos and Don'ts was "hosiery is a must." Are we back to this debate again? Have we not come to the conclusion that lower extremity sausage casing does not in any way indicate a woman's qualifications to be an accountant/engineer/doctor?
At a recent job interview, my interviewer walked into the board room wearing jeans and a hipster V-neck t-shirt. "Egads!", the Boomer would think. "Young man, you march back to your room and put on a necktie until you look respectable!" Oh, wait, this man had "director" in his title, and the company is a corporation with annual sales in the tens of millions. Somehow, despite the obvious lack of silken nooses, it was still a professional environment.