Unwritten Workplace Dress Codes

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.

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Companies To Opt Out Of Giving Personal Information To

(Unless You Want All The Catalogs)

Generally, medium-to-large-sized businesses will want to sell your information to someone.  It’s lucrative enough to help struggling clothing businesses stay afloat: according to a 2011 Wall Street Journal article, catalog companies charge about $110 per thousand mailing list names per mailing.

Figuring out how to opt out of letting them sell your information saves you irritation and helps the environment.  Opt-out information is usually located in companies’ privacy policies.   CatalogChoice is a good option for if you forgot to do that and want to opt out of mail you’re already getting.

However, I’ve definitely experienced a couple of worst offenders, and I wanted to share those with you so you could extra avoid the trouble.


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Monthly Roundup: Useful Links

Here are a few especially useful or especially interesting a few things I’ve found within the last month or so!

 10 Fashion and Beauty Brands Expanding the Definition of ‘Nude’.  Because seriously, not everyone is beige-colored.

To this list, I’d like to add Meow Cosmetics, an indie mineral cosmetics line that has the widest color range of foundations that I have ever seen. I absolutely guarantee they have a perfect color match to your skin– and they offer samples, so it’s easy to figure out which one it is.

JCPenney Launching New Plus-Size Line In New “Boutique” Sections In Stores, Online. Not sure how I generally feel about JCPenney, but now they’ve put an actual famous plus-sized person who is actually experienced with plus-size design in charge of designing their plus clothing.  Cool move, JCP.

Hard Water And Your Hair.  This one especially helped me this month!  I always love Science-y Hair Care Blog.  I apparently live in a place with enormously hard water (like, 2x the limit for ‘very hard water’), and the suggestions in this post have helped change my hair from “what the hell is happening” to “mildly grippier than my ordinary hair.”

How To Let Go Of The Guilt Of Letting Go.  In order to keep my life even remotely together, I need to keep my stuff to a minimum, but I have a tendency to hold on to sentimental stuff.  Over the years I’ve developed a few strategies for helping with this– create a special closed “memory box” to hold small physical items with positive memories, take a digital picture of larger things before getting rid of them (Justin’s idea)– but sometimes you just need to let go of stuff.  This post can help.

Catalog Choice.  And speaking of letting go of stuff: Catalog Choice can help!  this is a nonprofit that helps you cancel your subscriptions to catalogs and other kinds of junk mail.

The Corporette Guide to Suits. Useful for anyone looking for suits from larger, well-known labels. Also, deeply sorry for the issues with formatting earlier.

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Deep End: Clothing Analytics

Google “wardrobe essentials” and you get: “30 Fashion Staples to Have By 30.” “The 14 Timeless Pieces You Shouldn’t Live Without.”   “Everyday Basics Your Closet Needs.”  Those articles are bogus, guys.  There is no specific article of clothing everyone needs.  People have different audiences, different life experiences, and different personal preferences.  Nothing’s “missing” from your wardrobe if you’ve got enough to suit you.

However, a lot of people don’t know whether they have enough to suit them.  They follow the process I used to: they try stuff on in clothing stores, and if it fits OK and is reasonably priced and they don’t hate the color, they take it home.  And then they feel like their outfits are incoherent and they never look put together.  So they buy more stuff in the hopes that this time they’ll like their wardrobe.

What helped me is to be more analytical.  Here’s the thought process I used to start feeling happy in what I was wearing.


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Internet Shopping: Now With Rebates!

Honestly, when a blogger introduced me to the idea of cash back sites, I thought they were the scammiest thing in the world.  Ebates’ YOU JUST WON THE SWEEPSTAKES! logo font certainly didn’t help matters.

But they really, legitimately do pay you money for clicking through their sites to shop.  Why?  Because, essentially, retailers are paying for the exposure.

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