You'd think with the scarcity of jobs today, people would "dress the part." But employees are continually downscaling their dress, say employers, either because of their shrinking clothing budget or shrinking respect for the job itself.
Scarce though jobs might be, employers continue to issue memos admonishing workers not to wear jeans, shorts, T-shirts, tank tops, undershirts, sweat pants and workout clothes to the office.
They also remind workers not to wear bare midriffs, "excessively low-cut or revealing clothing," clothing that has "holes, tears and a ragged appearance" or that is "obviously ill-fitting." Many also ban leather jackets, sunglasses, "special colors" and "club insignia" (they do not mean drum and bugle corps) and hats, bandanas and "distracting" headgear. Employers also nix "visible underwear," low risers, tattoos, "inappropriate jewelry" and "extreme hair colors and styles."
Nor do they forget the feet, banning tennis shoes, boots, sandals and of course flip flops which are a kind of people's sandal.
Still there are many loopholes. At what point does a do-rag become a bandana? Is a tissue weight, see-through halter dress "excessively low-cut or revealing," "obviously ill-fitting" or "visible underwear"?
Is a tube top a T-shirt or a "bare midriff"? Are cutoff yoga pants "workout clothes" or "shorts"? Are cotton leggings sweat pants or underwear? Are shiny leggings workout clothes or "special colors"? (Or "obviously ill- fitting" if they are tight?) Are Crocs "clothing that has holes" or "special colors" thanks to their neon orange and pink hues?
To a certain extent, the fashion industry has capitulated to a comfort oriented population. Pencil skirts and tight waistbands are outre' and many garments are now 3 percent Spandex and Lycra for ease of fit. And speaking of ease, few women have to wash garments out by hand anymore or--perish the thought--iron them.