The Vagenda

How Your Suit Is Holding You Back

So I was on the tube this morning, and I came across this little baby:
Thanks, Wardrobe – no really, thankyou. While the feminist movement has striven towards breaking down barriers in workplace equality – including issues such as the 30,000 women forced out of their jobs for being pregnant or pay discrepancy between those doing the same job – we forgot to look closer to home. The monsters (of sexist oppression) were actually lurking in the closet all along.
Of course, I think it’s fair to say that the glass ceiling doesn’t exist for women who don’t have to wear suits, but for the rest of us there is now no excuse for floundering. How long have you spent running around with Wardrobe’s pointy stick of equalityspeak, eh? That’s right: too long.
Remember that time at that networking event where all the men scooted off to a strip club, or when you were mistaken for your own secretary? Perhaps that other time when you made a point and were ignored, only for another man to make the same one and be given all the kudos? Don’t even start with all that ‘blah blah blah, the intern pinched my bum and told me to fetch the coffee but I’m the CEO’ malarky.
That was clearly all your own fault.
Remember, ‘how you look is half the battle’. If we are ever to break down such a rigid and enduring barrier as the glass ceiling and the restrictions placed on us by our own gender, we must reinforce the notion that our appearance is our most important asset. 
So pipe down, lady. If your skirt suit was from Primarni, then you’ve only got yourself to blame.

2 thoughts on “How Your Suit Is Holding You Back

    • I’m a bit on the fence with this one. I understand and completely agree that it’s horrific to imply the gender gap at work is because women are *dressed wrong*, or not dressed well enough. That is awful.

      However, in the same way that it is a problem that men and women on GQ covers look like this , I believe it is a problem that the expected dress code for men and women in offices is often so different. I’ve worked in more than one office where men usually wore shirts and suit pants, and women usually wore cardigans over dresses with boots (pastel colours common) – and if I turned up wearing a shirt and suit pants (i.e. identical clothes to the man at the next desk), people looked at me like I was overdressed.

      Obviously, I think there should be absolutely no correlation between your clothes and your workplace success. But I worry that the unspoken codes of dress make women look less professional than their male counterparts. If the individual women in question simply prefer floral dresses and pink cardigans then that’s obviously fine – I just feel it’s really important that women don’t dress cutesie in the office because “suits are for men”.

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