Situation 14: INAPPROPRIATE DRESS

Mian wears skirts that are way too short. Femsy calls her in for a face-to-face- meeting.

(Click on the pictures to see them in full size)

A great leader:

  • Is self-confident and self-aware;
  • Is seen as a credible and competent professional
  • Matches appearance to workplace standards;
  • Markets herself well and pitches herself to the situation.

How to best handle the situation:

Approximately 55 percent of credibility comes from how you look. How you sound accounts for an additional 38 percent. Only seven percent of your credibility is based on what you say (source: “Nice Girls Don’t Get The Corner Office” by Lois P. Frankel).

Hence the problem with appearance is that it translates to performance.

Inappropriate dress calls for a face-to-face meeting.  Pull the inappropriately dressed employee aside and have a low-key “rules are rules” meeting about company attire standards (make sure you have a documented dress policy at hand). Keep your comments focused on the image the company wants to project and what clients expect.

Make the conversation motivating: mention that part of your interest in holding the conversation is a concern for her potential in the organization. Using her career as motivation could help her to keep her commitment while also ensuring she understands your good intentions towards her.

Learning Suggestions: 

  • Think of yourself like a brand in the way you dress and present yourself:
    • Understand what is appropriate in your company/industry and follow the company’s dress code;
    • Dress for the job you want;
    • Know when to dress up or dress down: your attire should reflect both your environment and your position;
    • Don’t pick clothes that reveal too much or leave too little to the imagination. When in doubt, always dress more conservatively than the situation demands;
    • Keep accessories to a tasteful minimum;
    • Make sure your clothes fit;
    • Your jewels should not make noise;
    • Don’t wear strong perfume;
    • Pay attention to your bag (clear and organized on the inside);
  • View clothes purchases as an investment in your future. Ensure that you wear outfits that make you feel good and confident whilst respecting the dress code;
  • When you know you are going to make a presentation to management or clients, dress to impress;

Femchallenge:

Can how you dress be a deal maker or breaker for hiring, promotions and assignments that you want?

Femcommunity tips:

We welcome your thoughts, experiences and comments on how you would deal with such a situation.

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