Friday, June 25, 2010

The Perils of Dressing for Work, Part I

This week I broke a cardinal rule of mine: always wear sleeves to the office.  Even a cap sleeve will do, but  I try not to bare arms while I am working for the right to exercise OTHER rights.

The reason for this is threefold:

1.  I am not sure it looks professional.  It CAN, I think, be appropriate and stylish and tasteful and all that, but should I always hear it as a no-no from "look professional" experts.  Then again, do I actually ALWAYS look professional?  Does it matter? And, yes, of course, professional varies by field, by employer, by job.  For example I work in fundraising for a health care facility.  For the front desk staff, scrubs are professional.  For an educator, a more business casual look is professional.  For my CEO, a suit is professional.  I am coming to realize that in my position I need to be closer to my CEO in "professionalness" of my dress.*

2.  Also, I have a LARGE tattoo on my upper arm.  LARGE.  And it could be construed as either a religious statement or offensive, or both.  My co-workers mostly know why I have it, but I don't get to (or want to) explain it to every visitor to our building.  So, I try and cover it.  Mostly.  Even today, when half of it was visible, that felt fine.  I don't know why that makes a difference, but to me it does.

3.  When it comes to best asset?  The arms ain't it.

So, I tend to have a cardigan or a jacket on, or in the rare cases I get overly heated up, at hand.  But I didn't do it this week.  And it was okay.

But it started my thinking about what dressing professionally means for me.  So you'll be hearing more about this.

In the meantime:  baring (upper) arms at the office?  Yay or Nay?  Can you? Should you?  Do you?

*We do have a dress code, but it doesn't comment on sleeveless.

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