Many women are guilty, without even realizing it, of wearing the wrong choice of clothing in the workplace, and it's this lack of awareness that can sometimes lead to them being overlooked when it comes to promotions. According to the experts, one of the biggest fashion faux pas made by women in the workplace is showing too much cleavage, which is perceived as being distracting and inappropriate.
Dressing to be taken seriously
According to a study taken by Professor of Psychology at Lawrence University in Wisconsin, Peter Glick, dressing to look sexy can affect how those you work with perceive you. The study revealed
that high flying women who dressed in an overtly sexy manner were considered less competent despite their skill sets, and consequently they were overlooked for promotion on a more regular basis than female workers who wore modest clothing. So if you're looking to get a foot on the promotion ladder, then you'd better swap that low cut top for a turtle neck!
So what are the rules?
If you're a little confused about work wear etiquette then you're far from being alone. If you're due to start a new job, then there's no harm in asking beforehand if there's a dress code. You don't really need to consult a company manual to see what is appropriate clothing. Instead just take a look around you to see what everyone else is wearing, just take a look around you. Are the female VP's walking around with bare legs in the summer? Does your manager leave her jacket on most of the time or does she lean towards wearing skinny jeans and short skirts? Marketing and IT companies tend to have much more relaxed attitudes to work attire than a law firm for instance.
Common mistakes made by women
Typically there are looks that women in the workplace should avoid at all costs. An almost sheer maxi dress is just one item and any item that shows a bra or panty line should also be avoided. All sheer fabrics should have a lining to preserve your modesty and you should also steer clear of micro mini skirts.
The summer months are those that tend to lead to more fashion mistakes for women in the workplace. Clothing to be avoided includes spaghetti strap tops which show way too much flesh and gladiator sandals, which again should be avoided unless the dress code is ultra relaxed and even the directors are walking around in flip flops.
So is wearing modest clothing the key to promotion? Well according to Professor Glick, not necessarily. It's not a bad thing to err on the side of caution but it doesn't hurt to assert a bit of individual style and personality into your clothes, to get you noticed and to boost your confidence.
You can wear modest clothing with a fashionable flare that gets you noticed for the right reasons. Pay particular attention to accessories such as shoes and jewelry, and really own the look.