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The write professional image

Phyllis Humby's picture
Tue, 07/02/2013 - 09:14 -- Phyllis Humby

I’m disgusted that Premier Wynne needed to remind her staffers that halter tops and torn jeans are not professional wear. Come on, people! What’s happened to our standards? Our self-respect? This has been a pet peeve for a long time. Mostly I laugh about it, but there was a time I was more rigid about dress code and looking professional.

When I first noticed a shift in the way adults dress, I was at my son’s high school. This was many years ago. I rushed there from work wearing my suit and heels. I idly wondered why there were so many students in line to speak to the teacher. Then I realized my mistake. Those in front of me wearing sneakers, jeans, and sweatshirts were the mothers.

I remember feeling sorry for the kids. Teens need to be different. No way do they want to dress like their parents. They develop new styles − something radical to set them apart.
Hah! No matter how they dress, parents emulate them. Tell me if I’m not right. Moms with purple streaks in their hair wiggle into short skirts and low-ride pants. Dads skulk around in long baggy shorts and oversized T’s with a logo. At a bridal shower, I mistook the bride’s mother for her sister. It must have been the ponytail and the three distinct tattoos on her bare left shoulder. Oops.

I digress, but it does make me wonder. If the adults dress like this – and for work, no less – what do the kids wear to high school these days? How far do they have to go in their quest to be different? Gulp...

Okay, back to the subject at hand – professional image. When I attended a women’s luncheon, my friend suggested that most of the women would be dressed in business attire. I distinctly remember her telling me that. Yes, I’m sure of it. Imagine my surprise. Blue jeans and sweaters were the first outfits I saw and that’s when we stopped in at a government office on our way to the luncheon. Maybe it was a Casual Friday – what the hell is that all about anyway – but they looked anything but professional. Obviously, it’s been a long time since I’ve worked in an office.

Employees who work with the public seem to have no dress code. I’m appalled. You’d see better coordinated outfits at a bbq. Think about it. When was the last time you saw a bank manager in a suit? My idea of appropriate dress for a professional is obviously outdated.

In all fairness, perhaps it has nothing to do with the way we mimic our kids. Consider this. Back in the day, the respectful and professional atmosphere at work encouraged dignity. We weren’t expected to do the work of three people, racking up 80-hour weeks. There’s nothing dignified about grabbing a bite of lunch between keyboard strokes − mustard dripping onto t-shirts – and slurping cold coffee. We were professionals, not mice running through a maze.

Hmmm, could it be that Wynne’s staffers hunch over their laptops half the night? Then drag themselves out of bed, slink into sandals, booty shorts, and halters? Is it job stress that has them drunk on Friday night and celebrating a day off with a visit to a tattoo artist?

Maybe Kathleen Wynne should decide if the unprofessional image is a result of work overload, or if they are just attempting to be different from Premier Mom.

No matter how you look at it, I maintain my opinion.

Bulging cleavage and bare midriffs should not be in the workplace. Well, I guess it depends on your profession.

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