wonderwoman.jpgCome on all you wonder women out there, admit you have worn a tight skirt to work and were unable to easily move around. How productive were you really? You looked good, but feeling uncomfortable and probably a bit self conscious, your productivity was surely diminished.

There’s a funny story in the Wall Street Journal’s Style section today that talks about how young attorneys are breaking all the rules when it comes to their attire, and the old legal guard is getting sick and tired of it.

A decade after the dot-come boom made casual Friday a week-long event, many people under 30 have never witnessed a suits-only office.

And when they wear suits, the article goes onto say, it’s the tiny, sexy kind:

Winston & Strawn brought in a personal shopper from a local department store last year to address associates on how to shop and dress for work. Mr. Mills says that when some associates do make an effort to dress up, they seem to base their look on Hollywood. “You get the TV-woman lawyer look with skirts 12 inches above the knee and very tight blouses,” he says. “They have trouble sitting and getting into taxis.”

I can cast stones because I am guilty of this type of attire. The sexy, butt gripping, uncomfortable kind. Looking back now, I realize how it may have derailed my work success on those particular days, when I poured myself into that chic, though impractical, suit.

Can it really impede your career?

This from Diversityjobs.com:

According to a recent sexism study conducted by Lawrence University professor Peter Glick, dressing sexy for work can have very negative effects for women as they climb up the corporate ladder.

Glick’s study found that while dressing provocatively on the job is viewed as inappropriate for women on all levels of responsibility, female managers who chose to dress sexy for work were perceived to be less competent and less intelligent. On the other hand, women in lower level positions who chose to wear racy attire were not perceived as less intelligent or less competent.

Also suggested by Glick’s study was that women who wear sexy outfits are perceived as using their sexuality to move up in the professional ranks.

The study actually contradicts the myriad of print, television, and Internet advertisements that encourage women to emphasize their sex appeal in all arenas and professional levels. In reality, the study suggests, women in higher level and high power jobs may need to dress more modestly and conservatively to win the respect of their colleagues and coworkers.

And unfortunately, dressing provocatively is not a protected category:

Dressing sexy at work can even result in being fired. But even if you are fired or denied promotion for dressing sexy at work, you might not even be able to legally seek any damages.

Hey, I’m all for freedom of expression of yourselves in the workplace. But why do we women sabotage ourselves? Why do we try so hard to fight sexism but still fall prey to society’s desire to keep us down by squeezing our big buttocks into little outfits?

Can you look hot but still keep up the heat on work? Or should work be the priority?

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