I work in a gov’t office, it had a “casual Friday policy” when I joined, and about 8 years ago they went to “business casual” all the time. It was great at first: everyone in khakis and nice shirts, or cardigan or sweater sets with (comfortable) nice looking skirts, or the like. soon, the jeans started creeping in, then they got rattier. the support staff started wearing belly shirts and bedroom slippers. (really!!) men in birkenstocks and board shorts. (i do not want to see your unmanicured hairy feet!)
Then, the support staff wonders why they don’t get as much respect. and junior employees wonder why they might not be getting promoted?
BUT the management refuses to specify a “dress code” that spells out what is, and is not appropriate. A few years back they put out a memo basically saying “you are all professionals and growns ups and we don’t have to tell you how to dress.”
But now, I work at home, so anything goes!! When I do go in for meetings, it is always the dressier side of business casual for me.
Is it fair to judge people or treat them differently b/c of how they are dressed? No. But it happens. Every so often when a new female employee is under my direction and is dressing inappropriately I tell her (unofficially and not as a management type reprimand) that while she can wear what she wants, she will get farther in the job if people are listening to what she says and not staring at exposed cleavage.
PS- for those who have trouble finding suits etc for small sizes- I usually took all my “good suits” to be altered to fit me exactly at the local tailor/ dry cleaner. Well worth the $45-$50 to me. I know that isn’t an option for everyone, but if you are paying $200+ for a good suit to begin with, it ought to fit perfectly!
just my 2 cents…