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To think that this is an unsuitable outfir for work,,,,

(25 Posts)
BikeRunSki Sun 08-Nov-09 22:39:37

I work in a large public sector organisation and am primarily office based. We have no official dress code, other than "Nothing with obvious branding". I am a team leader and tend to wear white shirt/T type top, tweedy trouers and flat boots.

On Friday a girl (early thirties) from a different team wore a tube dress (grey) , hold ups that did not reach the bottom of her dress (black lacy) and stilleto boots (black). There was about 4 inches of bare thigh between dress hem and hold ups. I was going to challenge this choice of outfit for work, but couldn't think on what basis, since we don't have a dress code. I might have mentioned it to her own team leader, but he was not it (and may have enjoyed it if he was!).

Am I getting old being unreasonable, or should I expect that people should have an idea of what it suitable office wear without being spoon fed ?

DuelingFanjo Sun 08-Nov-09 22:42:44

Does she meet the public? If she's just office based like you then I think yab a bit unreasonable, though I know I would be a bit hmm about it if it were someone in my office.

Is it the bare flesh you think is unsuitable or maybe more than that... the reaction she got from others perhaps?

marthastewart Sun 08-Nov-09 22:48:09

She wore this to work? I do think that is entirely inappropriate, screams of attention seeking to be honest. Was thinking she may be very young and new to the world of work but you say early thirties.
I think you would be entirely justified in having a gentle word with her about what is appropriate dress wear, however this, as you say, is quite a basic skill which she should have mastered at her age.

LaurieScaryCake Sun 08-Nov-09 22:49:55

It depends if in your office in the summer people wear dresses with no tights and sandals cos what your describing is the winter equivalent ie. a little bit of bare flesh.

Unless your objecting to the shortness of the outfit?

Vallhala Sun 08-Nov-09 22:51:42

It makes me wonder if she had been out the night before and ... ahem... stayed elsewhere before going straight to work from a friends the next morning!

marthastewart Sun 08-Nov-09 22:57:01

But lace, stilleto, lingerie type tights and a tube dress. Jeez I dunno, maybe I'm turning into a neo conservative but that is soooo not appropriate for work.

Am loathe to go down the whole postfeminist debate of "women expecting to be treated equally to men/dressing to be taken seriously" for fear of what may arise but I think it is an issue here to be honest.

MaryMotherOfCheeses Sun 08-Nov-09 23:02:41

If she doesn't meet the public and the only dresscode is "nothing with branding" then she can wear what she likes, surely.

Whether it looks nice or not is another matter.

MadameDuBain Sun 08-Nov-09 23:09:17

Ooh where I used to work we had a woman who dressed like this, but she was a senior manager. Part of me wants to think everyone can wear what they like (as long as it's not offensive or illegal eg racist slogans obviously) - but she just looked dreadful and like she was at a vicars and whores party.

I don't think it's just a women issue though - it would be just as repellent if a man wore an open-to-the-waist black silk shirt, or Bruno-style shorts to work. (Depending on the workplace! - but I mean normal office work)

So YANBU really but I don't think you can or should do anything.

marthastewart Sun 08-Nov-09 23:10:06

But what about standards and ethos of the organisation. I mean could you just turn up in trackie bottoms with bed head hair?

Is'nt it a matter of respect for other employees in the office that you dress appropriately for your workplace whether or not you deal with the public?

I think she is not doing herself any favours in terms of being taken seriously as a professional, at the very least.

MorrisZapp Sun 08-Nov-09 23:11:33

YANBU, it sounds appalling.

But I'm not sure you can do anything about it.

spiralqueen Sun 08-Nov-09 23:20:49

If this is unusual I think Valhalla may be right. If it's not it seems unusual for someone of that age not to have worked out that the outfit is inappropriate. Normally it's the very young girls who can't afford a working and a going out wardrobe who come into work like that. I brought the subject up once with a young girl at work and she said it was "ok because all of the men are past it and wouldn't be looking". Once I pointed out that that wasn't the case and what they were likely to be thinking she rapidly had a rethink (once she'd stopped gagging grin)

spiralqueen Sun 08-Nov-09 23:29:28

BTW I think it's ok to mention it if you are/can be in a mentoring role but could backfire if not. I would say that goes for both women and men who dress inappropriately. At a professional development conference I heard a speaker say that you should dress to the level you want to reach. So if you want to be a manager, dress like the managers in your workplace, then senior staff will start viewing you as management potential. It is actually true and I've seen proof of it numerous times over the years.

porcamiseria Mon 09-Nov-09 08:46:48

This makes me laugh because when I was 20 I was that girl!!! Now I am a 30 something Mummy, I am you!!!! Notwithstanding these young uns do need to learn, so tell her how gorheous the outfit is BUT maybe a but racy for work>?

BecauseImWorthIt Mon 09-Nov-09 08:49:35

How is this your responsibility, though? Even it was against office policy, which it would seem it isn't, she isn't in your team, so you have no right to call her on it.

YANBU to think it's inappropriate clothing for work, but YABU to think you should talk to her!

GrendelsMum Mon 09-Nov-09 10:03:07

Well, it sounds okay to me. A dress, lacy socks over the knee and boots with heels. It honestly doesn't sound particularly outrageous. And we all have days when we put together clothes at home and then look at them half-way through the day and think 'mmm, maybe not such a good look'. I get the impression that you dress rather conservatively (as many of usin the public sector back offices do), and might have thought this outfit was rather more startling than it actually is.

GrendelsMum Mon 09-Nov-09 10:04:29

In fact, if it was Friday, she was probably going on to a do after work.

Ivykaty44 Mon 09-Nov-09 10:15:08

I think you are treading on dangerous ground.....

If it was me dressed like that and you said somthing to me about my dress sense I would ask you on what grounds as what has it got to do with you what I wear to work? I would think about reporting you for trying to dictate to me what to wear - as where in my contract does it say what I should and shouldn't wear?

diddl Mon 09-Nov-09 10:18:10

Did she have on anything with "obvious branding"??!!

thedollshouse Mon 09-Nov-09 10:23:47

I can see your point of view but unless the outfit was obscene there isn't really anything you can say to her as she isn't breaking the dress code.

Personally, I am of the opinion that organisations should have stricter dress codes. I used to work at a university where the dress code was anything goes and the some of the sights were horrendous. One eccentric woman would wear see through bra and lacy top, another time she turned up in a pvc catsuit. hmm

I'm probably an old stick in the mud but I think that if you dress smartly you are more likely to be in the right frame of mind to work.

Gumbo Mon 09-Nov-09 10:31:07

I used to work on a helpdesk where Fridays were 'dress down' days. A woman (30ish) used to regularly wear 'fetish' type gear (eg. black PVC outfits, tiny odd leather dresses with many holes/zips/slits etc). On those days there was an endless stream of men to the helpdesk who had inexplicably broken their laptops or who suddenly felt the need to pop by and ask advice... needless to say nobody ever 'popped by' at any other point.

Nobody ever questioned her outfits - despite them being very obviously inappropriate.

I don't think you're being unreasonable... it's frankly odd that someone would choose to wear something like this to work!

Ivykaty44 Mon 09-Nov-09 10:36:23

My old office manager complained on dressing down friday - when the office clerk ironed creasses in his jeans, aparently this wasn't allowed they had to be uncreased hmm

You can't win with clothes - what one person thinks is ok another doesn't so best to keep mouths firmly shut.

MillyR Mon 09-Nov-09 10:50:01

I think I would have to see the leg wear to judge. You have described them as holdups. If they were holdups her tube dress would have to be skimming her arse for the tops of the holdups to be visible and some bare flesh on display. Showing tops of holdups is essentially the same as showing underwear.

It sounds to me like they were long, lacy socks with a reasonable length dress in which case I do not think the outfit was provocative.

I think you could be on thin ice over sex discrimination if you commented. I did once walk into a meeting and say to my manager (in a previous job) that her knickers were showing. She was wearing a skirt with a very high split up the side. Looking back, I shouldn't have made a comment.

I suspect that dressing like Bet Lynch is the female version of the midlife crisis sportscar.

GrendelsMum Mon 09-Nov-09 11:33:15

I agree with MillyR. I suspect that she was actually wearing over the knee socks like these: gId=19551&storeId=12556&categoryId=140656&parentcategoryrn=124912&productId=1447234&langId=-1

O n the other hand, I think it's worth letting someone know if their outfit is showing more than you think they mean it to be - I was very grateful to the woman that told me that my blouse had slipped and my norks were lookin rather norktastic.

madamearcati Mon 09-Nov-09 13:24:47

If she's on a different team then I am not sure that it is any of your business !

BikeRunSki Mon 09-Nov-09 22:39:44

Milly - No, they were definitley hold ups. Her dress barely covered her knickers. I would say that the top of the stockings was closer to her bum than her knees.

Turns out that she was going out that night - not the night before. But perhaps some opaques for work?

I wasn't asking if I should have challenged her, I was asking if anyone else shared my views on how inapproapriate the outfit was.

Although she is in a different team, she is in the same dept, and used to be in my team. We do have a very open approach in challenging what we think is inaaproriate - H&S issues, noise in open plan office etc. Me questioning her choice of outfit would not have been construed as wrong, if I could have found a reason other than fuddyduddyness!

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