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Lauren Keaton on Fashion in the Workplace
This article is written by guest writer Lauren Keaton. Lauren's fun and insightful wit about fashion gives us all a reason to smile and to take a closer look at the outfit we just "threw together" on our way out of the door.
As stated on Bravo’s Project Runway: “In fashion, one day you are in. The next day you are out.”
For the average American woman, this translates to: you had better pay attention to what you wear and when you wear it-- although there won’t be a written test, you will face judgment.
Personally, I have a passion for fashion-- I love it.
But, even for a reality TV addict who lives for shows like “What Not to Wear,” “America’s Next Top Model” and others, keeping up can be challenging.
I mean, one day you have it under control, getting compliments on your stylish, polished look and the next you’re looking around the room and wondering “where has everyone been shopping and why did’nt I get the memo?”
Although this has happened to all of us, excuses only go so far—especially at work.
The right outfit can speak volumes when paired with a great presentation, but (God forbid) your skirt is one inch too short, there are too many buttons on your blazer or there is slightly too much “v” to your v-neck, suddenly it all comes crashing down.
A personal example of mine is what I like to call the infamous “Bermuda shorts scandal.”
Being quite tall, I have always had problems showing too much leg.
Miniskirts that are scandalous on the average woman are illegal in some states on me.
So, my rule of thumb is that if I put my arms at my side and my skirt hits below my middle finger, I can wear the skirt in public. If it hits me 2 or 3 inches below my middle finger, I can wear it to work.
When Bermuda shorts came into style this spring, I immediately bought a few pairs thinking they were a sassier version of the Capri pant.
Plus, they passed the length test, so I figured I was in the clear.
Sporting a black blazer, black Bermuda shorts and (the cutest!) heals, I headed to work.
For the record, I received numerous compliments that day on my innovative threads.
I assure you these people were correct. Unfortunately, at the office, the powers that be were not so fashion forward with the shorts idea.
Apparently, in the employee hand-book, which I guess I should have read, shorts were against the dress-code.
Excuse me! I guess no one saw NBC’s Today Show when they specifically dubbed Bermuda shorts appropriate for work.
After that mishap, I was confused; how am I supposed to be a fabulous fashionista if the proverbial man is holding me down?
Now, alas, I must stick to the more conservative forms of cuteness.
But, the lesson to be learned here is although a night out with the girls or the man in your life is a great time to take risqué apparel risks, work is not.
Sticking with the simple and classy basics can never be wrong.
When you are in front of a boardroom full of executives, it is important your clothes do not overshadow your presentation- and believe me; too much skin can do that to a girl.
In a world full of limitations and low expectations of the working woman, we must be especially careful to embrace our sexuality but not rely on it.
A plunging neck-line may get you out of a bind with your male boss, but when it’s time for the next big project and he is looking for someone he respects as an employee and as a person, don’t hold your breath.
Ultimately, you can be smart and still be fabulous.
Remember what probably every mother in history has said: “Leave something for the imagination.”
But, in this case, try to keep your male co-workers or boss’ imagination at bay.
And take it from me: study up on the dress code before your fashion endeavors get too out of the box.
Lauren Keaton currently writes for a regional paper in Texas and will join us from time to time to share her fashion hints, tip and trends.
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