Recently, my friend and former colleague, Donna Flagg wrote a refreshing piece for Psychology Today and The Huffington Post. Her article discussed the reality in which we live – that we are judged by what we wear. She had the moral fiber to take a stand against the “politically correct” responses of the masses on the topic of Inez Sainz. Ms. Sainz is the sportscastor who took offense to comments made by Jets’ players after she entered their locker room in less than professional attire. Donna’s words rang true, true, true to me. I will not repeat her article here but it is worthwhile reading: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/office-diaries/201010/business-women-should-not-dress-sex-workers-period and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/donna-flagg/why-dressing-for-business_b_768561.html.
The bottom line of her article and the issue confronted by Ms. Sainz is that our way of dress conveys a message. Some professions require a specific uniform while others have a more flexible dress code. There is a general understanding that certain attire is appropriate for certain occasions and inappropriate for other settings. In order to be taken seriously and be viewed as a professional, attractive but conservative clothing should be worn. For example, a defendant in court will generally wear something conservative to portray an image of respectability. Likewise, if one wants to be respected he/she must dress and act respectfully. Ms. Sainz chooses to wear clothing that universally portrays a message of promiscuity and casualness not professionalism.
We all must understand our profession, the image we are attempting to portray and the acceptable dress code for our industry. As Donna so eloquently put it, “A wise woman once told me that it was best to be attractive, but not attracting, when dressing professionally for work. What a simple and profound concept it was.” The same holds true for dressing for an interview or marketing event. Thank you Donna for your honesty and accuracy on this topic!