You’ve probably seen the articles going around about the reporter turned away from the Speaker’s Lobby because of her sleeveless dress.
I’m pleasantly surprised that they’re working on modernizing the dress code in question, because it’s outrageous and unfair! Hearing about the dress code didn’t surprise me the way it seems to have surprised a lot of people, though. Workwear blogs have told me for years that sleeveless dresses are considered inappropriate in a really conservative workplace, and there’s no workplace in the United States more conservatively dressed than Capitol Hill.
Workplace dress rules are a mess. They all require you to know things you’re never formally taught. Conservative dress codes are classist and discriminatory by gender, body type, and frequently race. Casual offices are a little better, but if you went through the effort of learning the conservative office dress code rules and dressing accordingly, a lot of casual offices will treat you as if you are less competent.
If you’re like me, you just want to get all that stuff out of the way so you can be seen for your merits! Here is what I’ve learned about unwritten dress codes for various workplaces. Eventually, once I teach myself how to make interactive infographics, I hope to make this an interactive infographic instead.