Opinion: What can Women Wear in the Workplace?

By Kate Klosno

By now, we’ve all been given a lesson on what is and is not appropriate to wear to work. For as long as I can remember, all the talks are pretty much the same: boys should have their shirts tucked in to nice pants and girls should look presentable and modest with appropriate hair and makeup. So why has the conversation of business attire for women been such a hot topic lately?

Some professionals believe that it is inappropriate for a woman to wear a dress for any business professional setting. I had never heard of this until recently, and it sparked my curiosity. So, I asked people from my generation and generations before what they thought business attire for women meant to them. I thought there might be a possibility that because just a few decades ago, people dressed much more modest than now, that maybe that influenced what people believe to be appropriate in the modern workplace.

The Verdict:

  • The young college women found it completely acceptable to wear a dress or skirt to work as long as it came to the knees and the shoulders were covered. Otherwise, wearing a nice pantsuit with closed-toe flats or short heels would do the trick.
  • Two professionals from the baby boomer generation, a male and female, had the same thoughts on what business professional for a woman meant to them. They both agree that dresses and skirts are okay as long as the hemline isn’t too short. In their eyes, pantsuits are also a great option as long as the pants are not too tight and the neckline doesn’t fall too low.

From the opinions that I heard, it seems that most people are still going by the same guidelines that we learned back in high school. What are your thoughts on business attire? Do you agree with the opinions above, or do you think it’s inappropriate for a woman to wear a dress to work?

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