Dress to Distress

Dear daughter,

Tomorrow I have my first professional interview for an actual big-girl job.

I won’t complain about how I filled my entire day both today and tomorrow with things I’m not ready for, but I’m feeling a little more than stressed. I’m having flashbacks to my internship last year and getting an “average” review on my attire because I couldn’t buy professional suits for a business-ambiguous environment. Somehow dressing appropriately is the most stressful part for me in any professional situation.

In America, the number of companies requiring business professional dress wear has decreased steadily since 1998. Of course there are pros and cons of requiring formal dress, and the choice of whether or not to do so often depends on the goals and atmosphere of the company.

There’s also the rise of “Casual Friday,” which allows office workers to wear jeans and hoodies after a week of suits and heels. An article from The New York Times asserts that the current discussion on gender and fluidity is also speeding up the idea of a more casual workplace.

Protestors from GetEQUAL protest in Washington, DC in 2010. -Alex Wong/Getty Images

The NYC Commission on Human Rights released a set of guidelines in 2015 that defined what was considered discrimination for gender non-conforming individuals in housing, business, and other situations. For workplaces, this means that forcing a man to wear a tie and a woman to wear a dress or skirt is discrimination because it is based on gender.

It’s interesting to think about how different workplaces may look even in the next five to ten years because of the changes in society. Personally, I don’t enjoy wearing skirts or dresses, and being able to wear pants at work will not only allow me to feel more comfortable, but also more confident.

Here’s hoping for a good interview tomorrow (and finding something to wear)!




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