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‘Because I’m a Woman’ Don’t Tell Me How to Dress!

by Mary Emma Allen on June 19th, 2009

After reading a guest post, Walking the Line at Work: Choosing Appropriate Attire, and the comments at Susan Gunelius’ Women on Business blog, I began to consider how this applied to a home business. Most home business owners don’t have employees, but a few do.  Also, if your business is one where you have walk in customers/clients or you meet them outside the home, you have appropriate dress to consider.

I’ve begun to realize that many women feel, “Because I’m a woman, don’t tell me how to dress.”  You may run into this if you have a dress code, even a very informal one, in your business. I often get the impression women feel it’s a personal attack on them if someone recommends how they dress or if there is a dress code at work. “That’s not me,” women comment.  “It doesn’t reflect my personality.” 

Dress Codes Change

I’ve seen the dress code in most every type of business become much more informal and even become downright grungy, even when the person isn’t doing manual labor.  I’ll have to admit, because I’m from the generation that took pride in professional appearance  (”You only wear jeans for farm work,” my mom admonished, when we had to run to the local general store), I do consider someone who doesn’t take pride in their appearance as less capable and competent in their job. I have to work harder to have confidence in their ability to help me.

You also want to consider the type of job.  Of course, you wouldn’t be doing landscaping for a customer in high heels and business suit.  However, are ragged jeans appropriate?  When I did gardening at an estate, I certainly didn’t wear “Sunday best,” but did wear clean jeans (to start the day) without holes in the knees.

So, it’s a good idea to consider the type of job and who your customer base is, the age, their expectations, their needs, when you’re looking at business dress for yourself and employees.  You want to dress so that you give the impression you’re knowledgeable, capable, competent, and will provide them with excellent quality goods and service. 

Feel Good About Your Attire

This isn’t to say you can’t feel comfortable, feel good about your dress, wear colors that appeal to you, and use attire that reflects your personality…unless you have a specific uniform.  Then try to make it a fun one, too, that reflects your business.

Where do you stand on the issue?

(Disney image at Amazon)

Tags: appropriate attire, dress code, , , , , women and dress,

POSTED IN: Trends, Women

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