Office Dress

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Office Dress

Postby earthmaiden » February 5th, 2020, 2:20 pm

I'm enjoying all the fuss about Tracy Brabin's dress in the House of Commons. Some say that the complaints are sexist, she says people should have been listening to her speech.

My own opinion is that in a position of authority, where someone wants to be listened to, it is best to dress in such a way that the audience concentrates on what is being said rather than wondering if a 'wardrobe malfunction' might be about to occur. This surely, is the point of both 'office dress' and school uniform (when correctly worn).

I would feel the same whether it applied to a male or female and that both would make headlines. Imagine a male MP sitting there in those 70s swimming trunks which frequently 'malfunctioned' :? , I think there would be comment.
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Re: Office Dress

Postby smitch » February 5th, 2020, 4:33 pm

I completely disagree. I hold a fairly senior role in my organisation. Some parts do have a dress code, although it is not particularly strict. Almost everywhere I have worked here has had no dress code at all and people wear a range of outfits.

Generally, I wear a bright patterned dress and black tights although this is mainly down to my health issues. Today I am wearing a blue floral dress, but I also wear stuff with cats, birds and dinosaur prints. I wore the latter last week when the head of the organisation had a meeting with the leadership team I'm a member of. This outfit is normally paired with canvas pumps- I can't manage any kind of heel at all. The rest of the time I wear jeans and a t shirt with trainers. What I wear does not affect my ability to lead my teams, deliver my objectives or otherwise do my job. If someone wants to judge me or take me less seriously as a result of what I'm wearing, that says more about them than it does me.

I definitely think comments on wardrobe are directed more at women than men. I don't think there would have been such a fuss on Twitter if a male MP had been in a crumpled shirt, for example. There is a vast difference between wearing unsuitable attire (swimming trunks etc.) and wearing something more relaxed or casual.

I also completely object to the obsession with very formal school uniforms with blazers etc. Not only is the cost ridiculously high for many families, the fact that some pupils are sent home or to isolation for not fully adhering to it is awful. Many workplaces do not have formal dress codes, or if they do have rules, they are rarely as strict as those in schools. A school near my home doesn't even allow students to wear a winter coat.
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Re: Office Dress

Postby suffolk » February 5th, 2020, 4:37 pm

It’s not an outfit I’d wear to work ... if, as she said, she was going on elsewhere afterwards then I’d probably have worn a jacket with it, but everyone is entitled to make a mistake and I’ve definitely made a few ... and there are some odd outfits seen at Westminster ... silk britches and black stockings etc, and Rees Mogg has an unusual style of dress but somehow it’s more acceptable although just as ‘outlandish’.

I think the main thing we have to be aware of is that the Press Gallery looks down on the Members’ benches and any hint of décolletage will appear accentuated to those up there ... and the idea that one can be both a woman and an MP is still a novelty to some. I think they should get on with reporting the business of the day and not the attire of the members, whatever they’re wearing.
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Re: Office Dress

Postby earthmaiden » February 5th, 2020, 5:00 pm

smitch wrote: There is a vast difference between wearing unsuitable attire (swimming trunks etc.) and wearing something more relaxed or casual.

That's the point. Watching Tracy Brabin's speech, it was easy to be more curious about whether or not her dress would slip and she would expose more breast than is usually expected in such an environment, than her speech. That is what made it noticeable and thus, many would say, unsuitable. If a man had been sitting in a position where one wondered if he was going expose more than we normally expect it would be the same.

I agree that decent casual clothes are comfortable and inoffensive at work most of the time and also agree that in this country the school uniform thing has become silly and needs simplifying. I do think that youngsters should understand dress codes though because they are not gone from our society yet and to know about them doesn't hurt. Our dress code at work was relaxed considerably a few years ago but some of the things both men and women wore in on hot days (to an air conditioned office) were quite distracting to say the least and beyond the 'code'.
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Re: Office Dress

Postby Pepper Pig » February 5th, 2020, 5:28 pm

There's quite a lot on Twitter about the fact that Dominic Cummings isn't being taken to task for his choice of dress (you need to see it to believe it) whilst Tracy Brabin is. Now that is pure sexism.
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Re: Office Dress

Postby suffolk » February 5th, 2020, 5:54 pm

I think there’d probably be less disapproval expressed if an off the shoulder frock had been worn in the H of C by a man ... in fact he’d probably have been cheered as striking a blow for something or other .... this is simply another way of saying that women are unsuitable to be in government :x
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Re: Office Dress

Postby StokeySue » February 5th, 2020, 6:23 pm

The last 25 years of my working life were spent in a company that did have a dress code, though it slowly relaxed

As many of us were "client facing", in my case often at a moment's notice, I could see a sense in not wearing anything that would scare the horses (or clients) but some of the comments people made struck me as daft - when the guys gave up wearing suits and started wearing black trousers with brightly coloured shirts, and usually toning ties I remember some people grumbling about the lack of suit jackets, despite the building being far too hot too actually wear them, and I thought a flock of them looked good

I do remember my boss worrying of I was smart enough for a client visit, early 90s - navy midi skirt, check navy & white check jacket, white blouse, BUT opaque navy tights, white ankle socks, and trainers, because I had a nasty ankle injury and was walking with a stick. The dragon client merely commented on how nice and how fashionable I looked

We did have one director who notoriously wore skirts so many some people were embaassed, but rather hard to drop a hint,
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Re: Office Dress

Postby Suelle » February 5th, 2020, 7:18 pm

Pepper Pig wrote:There's quite a lot on Twitter about the fact that Dominic Cummings isn't being taken to task for his choice of dress (you need to see it to believe it) whilst Tracy Brabin is. Now that is pure sexism.


Dominic Cummings isn't in the House of Commons - I bet if a male MP turned up in t-shirt and jeans he would attract some adverse comments.
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Re: Office Dress

Postby earthmaiden » February 5th, 2020, 7:26 pm

Pepper Pig wrote:There's quite a lot on Twitter about the fact that Dominic Cummings isn't being taken to task for his choice of dress (you need to see it to believe it) whilst Tracy Brabin is. Now that is pure sexism.

I haven't seen DC stand up in the H of C, there has been quite a bit of comment about his standard of dress but (thankfully) he hasn't flaunted any bits yet - though the low slung trousers were a bit worrying. He is somewhat scruffy for that sort of job for sure.

suffolk wrote:I think there’d probably be less disapproval expressed if an off the shoulder frock had been worn in the H of C by a man ... in fact he’d probably have been cheered as striking a blow for something or other .... this is simply another way of saying that women are unsuitable to be in government :x

I'm amazed that everyone sees it like this. The dress really did distract from what she was saying and these days just one comment on social media will then blow something out of all proportion. I hope a man does wear something like that and we'll see.
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Re: Office Dress

Postby Herbidacious » February 5th, 2020, 7:48 pm

Having just seen one shot of her in it, I imagine the problem is that it's regarded as a bit, um sexual. It's not even just the flesh on display. A strappy top, would weirdly, probably not have this affect. N. B sexual is not the same as sexy. Maybe that's a 'problem' too... that would be wear the sexism comes in?

We don't have an official dress code at work. Wearing this might raise eyebrows, but nothing more. One young editor comes in with her midriff exposed. (Brrr...) another colleague is pron to dressing delightfully eccentrically. He has turned up in an Elizabethan ruff, a scarlet boiler suit, a faux tuxedo and a cape on various occasions.
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Re: Office Dress

Postby KC2 » February 5th, 2020, 8:36 pm

Herbidacious wrote:Having just seen one shot of her in it, I imagine the problem is that it's regarded as a bit, um sexual. It's not even just the flesh on display. A strappy top, would weirdly, probably not have this affect. N. B sexual is not the same as sexy. Maybe that's a 'problem' too... that would be wear the sexism comes in?

We don't have an official dress code at work. Wearing this might raise eyebrows, but nothing more. One young editor comes in with her midriff exposed. (Brrr...) another colleague is pron to dressing delightfully eccentrically. He has turned up in an Elizabethan ruff, a scarlet boiler suit, a faux tuxedo and a cape on various occasions.


Herbi, I'm intrigued as to what sort of job you do that one of your male colleagues can be quite so eccentric in his dress!
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Re: Office Dress

Postby Herbidacious » February 5th, 2020, 9:44 pm

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Re: Office Dress

Postby smitch » February 5th, 2020, 9:56 pm

suffolk wrote:I think there’d probably be less disapproval expressed if an off the shoulder frock had been worn in the H of C by a man ... in fact he’d probably have been cheered as striking a blow for something or other .... this is simply another way of saying that women are unsuitable to be in government :x


:tu: I completely agree.
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Re: Office Dress

Postby Rainbow » February 5th, 2020, 10:48 pm

I had to Google to see what the fuss was about - it was only a bare shoulder!! Didn't look like any more was about to be exposed to me - wishful male thinking, I suspect :lol:

And apparently that dress is now selling very fast - so good advertising for the company ;)
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Re: Office Dress

Postby PatsyMFagan » February 6th, 2020, 10:56 am

KC2 wrote:
Herbidacious wrote:Having just seen one shot of her in it, I imagine the problem is that it's regarded as a bit, um sexual. It's not even just the flesh on display. A strappy top, would weirdly, probably not have this affect. N. B sexual is not the same as sexy. Maybe that's a 'problem' too... that would be wear the sexism comes in?

We don't have an official dress code at work. Wearing this might raise eyebrows, but nothing more. One young editor comes in with her midriff exposed. (Brrr...) another colleague is pron to dressing delightfully eccentrically. He has turned up in an Elizabethan ruff, a scarlet boiler suit, a faux tuxedo and a cape on various occasions.


Herbi, I'm intrigued as to what sort of job you do that one of your male colleagues can be quite so eccentric in his dress!


Is that the young lad I have seen on TV ? He never wears modern clothes, all his are vintage of some kind - he looks very dapper :tu:
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Re: Office Dress

Postby Herbidacious » February 6th, 2020, 11:14 am

No. He is not consistently vintage either from one day to the next nor within a single outfit. I think a ruff goes a bit beyond vintage ;)

Jonathan Barnes, professor of ancient philosophy at Oxford, used to wear knee-lengthed britches, a ruffled shirt, or loose shirt with waistcoat and wore his hair in a pony tail. You'd see him cycling around like this. I suppose the britches were very practical for cycling... Now I never realized until now that he is the brother of Julian. I can see the resemblance now I look.
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Re: Office Dress

Postby PatsyMFagan » February 6th, 2020, 11:49 am

Herbidacious wrote:No. He is not consistently vintage either from one day to the next nor iwithin a single outfit. I think a ruff goes a bit beyond vintage


I mean 'vintage' as in any period older than current fashion ;)
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Re: Office Dress

Postby Seatallan » February 6th, 2020, 2:12 pm

smitch wrote:
suffolk wrote:I think there’d probably be less disapproval expressed if an off the shoulder frock had been worn in the H of C by a man ... in fact he’d probably have been cheered as striking a blow for something or other .... this is simply another way of saying that women are unsuitable to be in government :x


:tu: I completely agree.


Me too actually. Well said... :tu:

On the general theme, I was lucky in that I never worked anywhere with a strict dress code. I'd have hated to have to polish up on a regular basis. As it was, I generally only had to do so for important meetings or when repping clients at appeal tribunals or similar. I had a wee 'polish up' wardrobe which I was very happy to donate to various charity shops when I ceased work. :D
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Re: Office Dress

Postby dennispc » February 6th, 2020, 4:44 pm

Twenty one year old granddaughter came to stay recently - same off the shoulder jumper, didn’t seem to be revealing apart from bra strap, but the days when that was a total no-no have long gone.

Being in education a certain dress code was expected, and that no longer applies, being brought up to wear ties, I found it incredibly difficult not to until I retired. I’ve a few trousers still in the wardrobe that rarely get an outing. A jacket went to the charity shop last year.

Mid 1980's visited Community Colleges in America. All male staff were expected to wear suits - found that a bit peculiar as student male dress seemed to be t-shirt, shorts and trainers.
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Re: Office Dress

Postby StokeySue » February 6th, 2020, 4:53 pm

I remember an American student when we were uni age talking about having several pairs of jeans to wear to school in the 60s. An odd concept to one brought up in school uniform
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Re: Office Dress

Postby aero280 » February 6th, 2020, 5:11 pm

School uniforms were originally adopted in state schools so that you couldn't identify the rich kids from the poor ones. Although I think that the old private boarding schools used them to identify escapees!! :)
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Re: Office Dress

Postby StokeySue » February 6th, 2020, 5:41 pm

One thing that always strikes me about old photos, particularly wartime when clothes were rationed but also in the 20s and 30s before that, children wore their school uniform as their regular day wear, I've seen pictures of junior school aged children being taken on family outings in full regalia, they didn't have another hat and coat unless very well off
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Re: Office Dress

Postby earthmaiden » February 6th, 2020, 6:16 pm

It was the same with me and other children I knew. I admit that here I was in private education but I didn't have a different coat, shoes or socks for out of school and the skirt was just worn with a different jumper. I did have home made cotton frocks in summer and a party frock. I used to envy children who had black patent shoes, Easter bonnets and pretty coats! I find it quite noticeable that some people who complain about children's school uniform (I don't mean those who struggle to afford to live) have plenty of other clothes and shoes as well.

Another thing, most of us had at least some secondhand items of uniform.
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Re: Office Dress

Postby Herbidacious » February 6th, 2020, 6:35 pm

StokeySue wrote:One thing that always strikes me about old photos, particularly wartime when clothes were rationed but also in the 20s and 30s before that, children wore their school uniform as their regular day wear, I've seen pictures of junior school aged children being taken on family outings in full regalia, they didn't have another hat and coat unless very well off


They seem to do that in Japan... that or they go to school at the weekends. (Quite possible!)
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Re: Office Dress

Postby StokeySue » February 6th, 2020, 8:02 pm

I certainly knew of at least one private prep school in the 60s that had a rule that if you were wearing the blazer you also wore the cap and the rest of the kit, not mixing it up with other clothes, that rule may have been more common earlier.

I wore the same coat with non-uniform clothes, but not the blazer with the badge, just the plain, but fairly recognisable, grey coat
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Re: Office Dress

Postby WWordsworth » February 6th, 2020, 9:55 pm

I remember being "encouraged" to wear my school summer uniform dress - and blazer - to travel on holiday to Devon.
I was 13 years old and mortified.
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Re: Office Dress

Postby dennispc » February 7th, 2020, 8:26 am

School cap! :twisted: Did a few detentions and lines for not wearing it!
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Re: Office Dress

Postby earthmaiden » February 7th, 2020, 8:39 am

I was telling GD the other day that when I was aged about 5, I used to get a lift home in a car with 3 boys. They used to have quite violent cap fights in the back seat and the mother driving would eventually stop the car until they behaved (no car seats in those days!). I found myself having to explain what a school cap was as well as why they were not in car seats :rolleyes: !
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Re: Office Dress

Postby Herbidacious » February 7th, 2020, 8:45 am

No seat belts in the back, either, I imagine.

Yes I remember occaisonally being packed in - 5 children on the back seat of my mother's mini! She would not let any of us go in the front. She told us it was illegal. Not sure that it was... 'fibs our mothers told us #1'
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Re: Office Dress

Postby suffolk » February 7th, 2020, 8:45 am

We had to wear berets ... not wearing a beret resulted in a Discipline Point and lines. Three DPs in a year could lead to expulsion. I was the only grammar school pupil on the school bus ... in my first year there was one particular lad who used to snatch my beret and throw it out of the window ... then someone would tell the bus driver and he would stop so I could get off the bus and retrieve my beret ... eventually I worked out that I might as well risk a DP by keeping the beret in my pocket, only putting it on when the Modern School lot got off the bus, then I could put my beret on while I rode in solitary state on the bus for the last mile to my school.
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Re: Office Dress

Postby Seatallan » February 7th, 2020, 9:00 am

Oh Suffs.... :hug: :hug:
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Re: Office Dress

Postby StokeySue » February 7th, 2020, 9:16 am

We wore felt pudding basin hats. They started out with a turned up brim all the way round and ended up flopping down all round, St Trinian’s style. On our last day we decorated them and generally trashed them

I still have the hat badge, a brooch, that went on it
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Re: Office Dress

Postby PatsyMFagan » February 7th, 2020, 9:30 am

StokeySue wrote:We wore felt pudding basin hats. They started out with a turned up brim all the way round and ended up flopping down all round, St Trinian’s style.


Mine was a grey one, turned up at the back and down at the front. A couple of the more trendy girls would perch them as far at the back of their heads as gravity would allow, even clipping them in place behind their ears ... these were the 2 who knocked about with Ronnie Wood :rolleyes: :mrgreen:
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Re: Office Dress

Postby aero280 » February 7th, 2020, 9:43 am

Our headmaster stopped the wearing of caps around 1959. But, as he carefully explained, that they would be reinstated if there was any celebration of that fact which brought it to the attention of the school governors!! We had planned a bonfire on the rugby pitch... :o

But as others have said, we had to wear all the uniform when out of school, or none. No going home in sports kit and blazer after a game, etc.
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Re: Office Dress

Postby earthmaiden » February 7th, 2020, 9:52 am

I went to quite a few schools and at some point have had felt hats, straw hats, felt berets and a stylised beret
(with cloth sewn in 'segments' with a button on top and a thin band around the open end). They were very strict about uniform in Australia, the first school I went to had a hideous uniform in what I think of as sick green and brown. It was a co ed school and we had to line up in the playground and have inspection before classes in the morning. The teacher who oversaw it was an ex sergeant-major. Thankfully I wasn't there for long and went on to a girls school with a winter uniform exactly like St Trinians (and worn in a similar way out of school :lol:). Prefects did hat checks as we went through the gates in the morning, very often the same hat was thrown over the wall several times for someone outside without one to wear in. It was berets in winter and straw hats in summer, all schools were the same, just different colours.
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