Top ten office dress offences

Last updated 12:08 06/12/2013
Work fashion

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Sometimes I feel really sorry for blokes. In my book, there are few things as inappropriate in the workplace as their female co-workers getting 'the girls' out. In an office, you're often working in close confines. So where are men - and, really, anyone confronted by such a sight - supposed to look?

Yes, this week, we're going to take a look at my top ten office clothing malfunctions.

1. Exposed breasts. The first, as we've already copped an eyeful of, is the women who deem it appropriate to have their breasts on display in the office. It might be fine at home or at a nightclub, but in the office, they need to be contained.

2. Muffin tops. Appropriate office attire, in my opinion, requires you to be completely clothed from chest to knee. Exposing a cheeky bit of midriff flesh is simply unprofessional. If you must get your gut out, do it on your own time.

3. Jangly bling. I once worked in an office where the boss's EA wore so much junk jewellery, you could hear her coming from the other side of the building. It's up to you what you wear, but if your banging bangles distract people from their work, it's time for a re-think.

4. Clothes that are too tight. This one's for both genders. Everyone puts on a little weight from time to time. If you're carrying a few more kegs since you last went shopping for work attire, maybe it's time to re-invest. I'm especially thinking about women whose shirts are too tight, so from the side you can't help but notice a greying bra beneath the straining buttons. I'm also thinking about guys in too-tight trousers. Leave a little to the imagination, for goodness sake.

5. Bandaid skirts. If you have to pull your skirt down when you sit down or risk being mistaken for Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct, your skirt's too short. Ditto thigh splits in skirts. Fine at a cocktail bar, completely inappropriate at the office.

6. Thongs. Both types. I may be conservative, but closed-toe shoes are the most suitable office footwear. (Also I think in most corporate offices, if you're wearing a skirt, wear pantyhose.) Save your strappy sandals for the beach. Ditty the other type of thong. No-one needs to see your whale tail, ladies.

7. Shoes you cannot walk in. I'm as much of a fan of tarty high heels as anyone. But not in the office. Mid-height heels, please, not skyscrapers. Thigh-high leather boots also fit in the 'shoes that should not set foot inside an office' category. As do Crocs and Uggs.

8. Leggings. Also 'jeggings' (combination jeans and leggings). Leggings are for the gym, not for the office.

9. Jeans. Look, I know many workplaces allow jeans, especially creative businesses. And they might be OK if you're not meeting clients. But surely it's hard to get into a work mindset if you're slouching around in jeans? And what happens if you have to unexpectedly go to a meeting?

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10. Playsuits. I can't believe I have to even write this, but I came across someone wearing a short playsuit in an office the other day. It's hard to take someone seriously if they are in a playsuit - the name says it all. I don't care how fashionable they may be.

Ultimately, what you wear in your workplace sends a message about the type of person you are at work. If you keep a neat, clean appearance, people will trust you to do your job, and will give you responsibility. No-one ever got a promotion to a senior role in a playsuit, and I doubt they ever will.

Of course, if you work alone at home, who cares what you wear? Today is Work in the Nude Day, so knock yourself out. There's an obvious joke there, but I'm not going to make it...

What do you think are the most heinous office attire blunders?

- Sydney Morning Herald


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