The Style Savvy Feminist’s Guide to Dressing for Work

Anne Hathaway as Andy Sachs in The Devil Wears Prada. Credit: FOX

There’s a “secret” dress code that all style-conscious feminists adhere to in the office and it probably isn’t what you think it is.

What isn’t a secret however, is that a person’s appearance, be they male or female, can impact how they’re perceived on the job. It may be easier for women in an office environment to get away with alternating between different cuts, colours, and textures but ultimately there’s a scrutiny upon women that there simply isn’t with men.

Beyond the typical employer’s concern over whether their staff dress smartly enough, the scrutiny upon women in the workplace can stretch to obscure, exasperating, and even contradictory levels: Does she look serious enough? Does she dress age appropriately? Is she feminine enough? Is she too sexy? Is she sexy enough?

So all-in-all, how can a style savvy feminist cut through the bullshit and exercise their fashion know-how in a work environment? Easy: Assuming you’ve already met the requirements for work appropriate dressing*, stop giving AF about everything else and just make sure you look neat and tidy. Then do your job.

It really is that simple. Do you prefer a sleek black tuxedo jacket over a bog standard blazer reminiscent of your school uniform days? Great, wear it. Want to wear a ribbed, high neck cold shoulder tee with long sleeves as opposed to a plain white shirt? That’s fine too.

Regardless of the office look you prefer, what every style savvy feminist knows is that in the workplace, what’s most important in terms of dress is that you complement your professionalism by taking pride in your appearance. The biggest factors being…

  • Buying the right sized clothing – nothing too loose nor too tight
  • Caring for your garments – iron whatever needs to be ironed (if anything at all) and get whatever grease stains from overtime takeaways taken care of

*If your employer requires female employees to wear heels without the option to substitute them with smart flats, we have a problem.

Words by Lily Niu


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