Sex and The City: HR Edition

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I’m here to ask a simple question: are you wearing the right clothes to work?

Christina Binkley of The WSJ has an excellent post on the double-standards and complexities related to women & their attire in the workplace. Christina asks the right questions.

  • Do women do their careers a disservice when they opt for fashion-forward clothing instead of more traditional choices in attire?
  • What are the appropriate fashion choices?
  • What mistakes are made when dressing for the corporate environment?
  • Do younger women set themselves up for failure in the workforce when the emulate Carrie Bradshaw instead of Carly Fiorina?

Some excerpts from the post:

  • Women’s gains in the workplace have been slipping for the past several years. In 2007, women earned median weekly wages of 80.2 cents for every dollar earned by men, down from 80.8 cents in 2006 and 81 cents in 2005, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Last year, 45% of women ages 25 to 34 had a college degree, compared with 36% of young men. But the median earnings of all women were 14% lower, according to an analysis of recent Census Bureau data by Timothy Casey, a senior staff attorney at Legal Momentum, a New York advocacy group
  • The male wardrobe is an armor that disguises vulnerable body parts while sending subtle signals. A gray suit suggests hidden power, a blue Oxford button-down is hard-working, and French cuffs rule a Wall Street board. Women don’t have an easily deciphered fashion code, which just makes it easier to make a big mistake.
  • Powerful real-world women like Erin Callan, chief financial officer of Lehman Brothers dress conservatively, with just a few bold accessories such as necklaces
  • A review of the photos in several “50 most powerful women” surveys shows attractively detailed blazers, collared or modestly high-necked shirts, and striking scarves or necklaces that distract attention from what lies below. The bold necklace — powerful gold links or Barbara Bush pearls — often plays the role of a man’s necktie.

What are your thoughts on sexism, fashion, and compensation in the workforce? What do you wear to work?

More importantly: is anyone out there NOT excited about the new Sex and The City movie?

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