Do Your Clothes Harass Your Coworkers?

During a recent image seminar to a corporate audience. I was struck by how seriously men take sexual harassment and how hard they work to avoid inappropriate behavior and any unintentional behavior that could even be construed as inappropriate. During the seminar Q&A session, several men expressed their discomfort with formfitting sheath dresses and pencil skirts. They were seriously stressed by these garments.

When we talk about sexual harassment, we usually look at the issue from the female perspective. The male point of view isn’t usually considered. Men are under tremendous pressure at work to be on guard against any action that could be perceived as sexual harassment. I don’t think most women are aware of that intense pressure and how their clothing impacts that.

It is very difficult to be in a business setting with people (women or men) who wear tight or revealing clothing. Body conscious clothing poses a huge risk to coworkers because they have to be so vigilant about accidental stray glances and physical responses. I’m talking about professional, respectful people not leering letches.

Coworkers and supervisors (and clients) aren’t going to risk their job. If your clothing makes them uncomfortable, they may avoid you as a matter of self-preservation. How can your great work be noticed or acknowledged if people aren’t around to see it?

Here are some issues for both women and men to consider when dressing for a professional setting:

  • Fit – How formfitting are your clothes? Do they reveal your entire figure/physique? Do seams or buttons pull? Pay particular attention to fit in the chest, arm and booty areas.
  • Skin – How much skin is revealed? Consider necklines, hemlines, pant length and sleeve length.
  • Cleavage – Are any of the three cleavages visible? Chest cleavage, butt cleavage and toe cleavage…they are all sexy.
  • Underwear –Does underwear provide enough support and coverage? Watch for panty lines, bra straps, exposed underwear, visible nipples, camel toes, and moose knuckles.

No, you aren’t “asking for it” if you wear revealing clothing, but it’s completely unrealistic to believe it has no impact on the people around you.

8 Responses to Do Your Clothes Harass Your Coworkers?

  1. This is a great post that individuals need to be aware of in the workplace, and in general. It’s a topic in a book that a partner and I are currently writing for college graduates who are new to the workplace. Being in Human Resource Mgmt for years, this is one area that I found we needed to coach several people on, and I saw first hand on several occasions how one dressed could greatly impact how they were perceived– Great post!!

    • Very nice post Dear:) I love all of them! Well I have to say that my coworkes/colleagues are not rlleay into fashion, they just hmmm wear whatever they have in their wardrobe without sense or taste. Sadly it’s not the first office where I notice that people are don’t care about what they wear to work-all casual but very messy, old staff and everyone keep talking that I must spend all my salary on clothes haha! Well even though, I don’t care:) xoxox

      • Thanks so much for visiting Linda! Having a wardrobe that works is more about choosing clothes that inspire you, flatter you, and are appropriate for the work environment rather than about how much you spend. You can find great clothes at any budget as long as you know what to look for – from thrift stores, discount stores like TJMAX and Marshalls, Target, department store or high-end boutiques.

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