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20-40-60 Etiquette-Proper Office Attire?

by Helen Ford Wallace Published: October 27, 2011

QUESTION: A woman in our office, who sits at the front desk and greets customers, wears very low cut blouses.  The customers are obviously distracted.  Shouldn’t the management say something to her about proper office attire?

CALLIE’S ANSWER: I can see this being very distracting. I would not say something directly to the girl if you feel uncomfortable doing so. Another option is to tell management that there needs to be another reminder about office attire.

Remember, she might have no idea how her clothes are distracting you or others. Then again, she might know exactly what she is doing. AWKWARD!

LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: Yes, it’s up to managers to set the guidelines for proper attire in the office. If they haven’t said anything to her already, then maybe they don’t see your coworkers’ low-cut blouses as a problem or haven’t paid attention.

If they are offending customers, you can privately tell the managers about your concerns — that you’ve noticed the revealing tops are disturbing some of the customers and let the higher-ups handle the situation. Keep your comments focused on the concerns for the customers’ well being and the reputation of the business itself, and don’t make personal statements about your coworker’s trashy taste in clothes or anything like that. If you are the only one offended by the revealing blouses, then you’ll have to decide whether it’s a battle worth fighting or simply a situation that you keep quiet in order to keep peace in the work place.

HELEN’S ANSWER: In the workplace cleavage is inappropriate. Women are smart. They know the rules for office dress and they know that they need to rely on their trained skills instead of the way they dress at the office.

Because this woman is a distraction and is at the front desk, management needs to step in immediately. It is their place to make sure the office runs professionally and efficiently without giving the woman more stage time.

GUEST’S ANSWER: Hilarie Blaney: One day this summer I quickly dressed and didn’t realize that my top fit differently.  Due to the summer heat, we ate out almost every night and surprise… I gained some weight.  When I got to work and sat down in my chair, another surprise…my shirt was ill-fitting.

I learned my lesson. Take a quick sit-down before you leave for work to make sure your clothes fit properly.  As for the question asked, we have a dress code and supervisors are responsible to enforce it.  As we all know, there are people that have an accidental mis-dress and some plan it that way.

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by Helen Ford Wallace
Society Editor
Helen Ford Wallace is a columnist covering society-related events/news for The Oklahoman. She puts local parties online with daily updates. She creates, maintains and runs a Parties blog which includes web casts. She is an online web editor for...
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