This Could Be The One Thing Ruining Your Career

When you choose your office attire do you think about the message you’re giving? I know a lot of Career Girls who pull their office attire from the top of the clean pile (myself included!). But according to some studies, the way you dress could affect the way you are perceived.

According to Business Insider “…the sexier the person, the less perceived power he or she has.”

Some news articles suggest the more skin you show at work, the less influence you have. They say a corporate executive is unlikely to be wearing an off-the-shoulder top unless she works in a creative environment. If you turn up in a cropped top and mini skirt, apparently you aren’t a major player in the office.

Personally, I disagree but it does create conversation. If you had a company and your employees came in with shorts and off-the-shoulder tops would you mind? Would you judge their abilities by the amount of skin they’re showing?

If you are in charge – will showing skin make others less likely to listen to you?

I’ve worked in big corporate spaces before where multiple magazines owned by the same company were on the same floor. There was no dress code, but you could spot the most important people. They were power dressing while the rest of us wore jeans, leggings and whatever else we could grab.

When it comes to flashing the flesh, there was a time when wearing a skirt with no tights to work was a no-no. In the hot summer, you have to bare some skin just to survive. My main concern is how pale I am, not that people might think I’m unimportant because my calves are on show.

Yet there are limits, I would never wear a mini-skirt or my favorite Mickey Mouse crop top to work. As a rule, anything you would wear to a dive bar is unacceptable for work. But I’ve met some inspiring and powerful women who rock a short dress to the office and still look cool in an off-the-shoulder shirt.

I think the times are changing. It’s not unacceptable to wear a skirt without tights. Office fashion is getting with the times. Of course, many places have a dress code that might forbid certain styles. But it’s even acceptable to wear a choker these days!

What do you think? Is showing flesh in the office a sign of weakness? Do the more powerful women cover up? What is your dress code?

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Managing Editor

Beth is the Managing Editor of CGD. She is a graduate of the Penguin Writer's Academy, has published a short story and loves to read creative writing manuals in her spare time.

  • Naomi-Chaya Tsion

    My work outfits are always thought through. I believe that the impression you make is very important. However, dressing for work doesn’t always have to be boring.

  • Paula Reid

    I always wear a dress or skirt, just above the knee to maxi, no shorter. When someone enters the room, I want them to know who’s in charge.

  • Lauren Ramos

    Working with an attorney who owns her own practice, I have to say that her well tailored outfits really make a difference. She told me that when she was just beginning her career she realized that men were less likely to ask her to get them coffee if she was wearing a blazer. It is the sad truth that we are looked at based on what we wear and how we wear it, none of this effects our ability to work, but it does give others reasons to doubt your intelligence or position in the company.

  • Ana

    i think that it does not have to do with the skin you show but with the style you wear. A short but really elegant looking playsuit combined with chic sandals might look more professional than a denim mini skirt. :-) so its not about how sexy it is, but instead if you dress pricey looking or sluttish :) Interesting topic! xx Ana

  • Palesa

    I believe that we are now more at liberty to play around with colours as opposed to before. However, I stand firm in saying that wearing black always makes a statement. But it should not be drabby, baggy or too revealing. It should fit just right – No one wants to look bigger than what they already are. And I believe too that cloth shows respect – for yourself and those around you.

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