New Employee Ponders Her Office Dress Code in Regards to the Industry and her Demographic

by Rachel Yeomans | November 6th, 2009   

My recent incursion into the workforce has rendered me confused as to what exactly constitutes business attire in architecture. With no enforced dress code, the firm I have been working for in the past months continues to surprise me each week, with its similarity to the casualness of a Silicon Valley start-up (though, with the unfortunate exclusion of the free beer, massages and laundry pickup).

However, the spectacle of free company t-shirts has now been replaced by women in often awkwardly sculptural shoes and clothing, while the men attempt to relay the amount of time they have worked here through the tightness of their pants. But, even as the prevailing and hackneyed stereotype of the architect as the (wo)man who equates black ensembles and eccentric eyeglasses with degree of skill haunts the design industry like an unsatisfied apparition, it cannot be put to rest.

Click HERE to read what Courtney Jiyun Song of The Cornell Daily Sun has to say on working her confusing office dress code.

2 comments
WORRIED APRN
WORRIED APRN

I would love some adic. After 0 years at an academic medial center where the manner of dress for nurse practitioner ranged from baggy scrub pants and tee with grubby lab coat thrown over to boho chic I have recently accepted a position witgh a private practice group where the dress code (at least for the docs) leans toward highly polished shoes, three pieces suits and shirts that are perfectly starched at the end of a 14 hour day, I am sort of at a loss, I'm not in Kansas any more. How does this 57 year old (trim) Dorothy dress for the Emerald City? Help?

TheWorkingWardrobe
TheWorkingWardrobe

Hi WORRIED APRN, That definitely is a bit of a scary situation! However it's definitely not impossible. My first piece of advice is to find that starched button-down. Find one that is comfortable in the shoulders and the sleeve length hits right below your wrist. Make sure the buttons are in no danger of popping either. Then buy three-five of them in basic solids. I highly recommend Brooks Brothers for their button-down blouses (I haven't been able to find a better brand). Then find your suits. Mix gray and black and perhaps a navy blue suit along with a thicker-heeled round-toed pump. Check out Bivel pumps - they're amazingly comfortable and incredibly stylish. That should be good to get you started and keep you styling! Please comment if you have any more questions - congratulations on your new position! - Rachel