Why Women’s Business Casual is the WORST

31 Jan

One of the most painful aspects of attending an event that’s remotely “business-y”, or entering the world of “professionals” is the expectation to dress business casual (I shiver, readers, as I write the words).

The other day I had the opportunity to attend an event in St. Paul that was smack full of women, and all in business casual splendor. After observing these outfits in their natural habitat (a convention), I was able to piece together just what makes this dress code so particularly sad and a little nauseating.

What Midwestern Business Women Wear

  • Polyester shirts that showcase their impressive back fat
  • Oversized, outdated blazers in bright blues, reds, purples, and tacky black-and-white prints
  • Unkempt, feathered short to mid-shoulder-length haircuts
  • Blouses with ruffles
  • Hair highlights that allow a single head of hair to demonstrate every color on the spectrum simultaneously
  • Bad wire glasses
  • Double-layered collars
  • Fake leather totes in crocodile or snake skin
  • Burgundy things
  • “Vintage” loafers with chunky heels and misplaced buckles
  • Taupe nail polish
  • Black socks
  • Wide-legged trousers
  • Hair extremes—too big or too small
  • Gold, silver, and platinum chain bracelets and watches

In reflection on all of this I would like to ask you a question, readers:

Does it really have to be like this? Why do these women make themselves look terrible in order to network and learn and promote their various causes and visions and businesses?

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One Response to “Why Women’s Business Casual is the WORST”

  1. Hilary Hannon January 31, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    Yes Mcken!

    I once received a warning about wearing a nice pair of black denim while the women around me were clad in ill fitting khakis and cotton tees comparable to pajamas.

    Why do I hate flats? Because the vast majority of flats are terrible and make everything look worse.

    Why are the pants always the wrong length? Too long or too short. Either get them tailored, put some different shoes on, or buy a different pair of pants!

    Basically men have it easy because in order to look professional they must has approximately two pairs of shoes (one brown, one black), pants in khaki, a couple decent suits, a few shirts and a couple ties. They simply make combinations and go. Mens suiting is varied so little (at least for average business-y people) that no one notices if they wear the same suit for the entire length of a trial, just switching shirts ever few days.

    Luckily I have my mom as a fabulous example of what women should wear in business settings. Generally you should be wearing heels. Suck it up, buy good shoes (read: real leather, it’s comfortable) and learn to walk (practice!). I have learned from her that shift dresses are the most versatile garment. Wear them with jackets, cardigans, and shirts underneath. My mother almost never wears pants.

    As a woman you are better off overdressed than underdressed in any business setting.

Do tell.

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