A co-worker of mine just got sent home to change. His crime? Wearing jeans on Friday. Apparently it isn’t allowed in my office, which strikes me as strange, as it’s a very casual dress office anyway. Hearing of his expulsion another co-worker slipped out to change – she too was wearing jeans. Mind you, these aren’t inexperienced workers either, nor are they low on the food chain. It may be Friday, no VIPs visiting the office, everyone starting to leave for Thanksgiving break, but there are “no exceptions” to the rule.
It’s made me think about the changing dress code of DC offices. I remember going on some of my very first interviews as a callow youth (back before the New Economy made khakis acceptable) and being told quite plainly that in Washington, many offices outlawed pantsuits for women, and I would be wise to adjust my attire. My Yankee blood boiled and I vowed never to work for such an organization. Had they never heard of Katharine Hepburn? How about Marlene Dietrich? Later, as pantsuits broke through the glass ceiling, the rule to break became the “always wear hose even in the deadly DC August heat,” which I found to be insanely backward. My personal rule has always been, if you are dressed appropriately for the occasion, the day, and the season, it shouldn’t matter about the “rules” – they are certainly different by region and by country, anyway.
Any similar experiences with the office fashion police?
What do you think is acceptable/unacceptable?
This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs