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Thread: Business Dress?

  1. #1
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    Business Dress?

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    My work is generally business-casual (but a nicer level of business casual - jeans only on Fridays). This Friday and then again in September, I will be attending important meetings in our main office building, which trends a little closer to almost business formal. "Senior management" will be attending. Probably some of them will be in suits and some won't. I won't say a word during either meeting other than being introduced. I'll be the most low-level person there.

    Can a nice dark grey sheath dress (high cut, down to the knees) take the place of a suit, since I'm pretty positive not all of the higher-up people will be in suits? I sadly do not have a suit that fits. Plus, I hate suits. I have a black business jacket I could throw on over the dress to make it look a little more formal. I AM a fed, so standards tend to be a bit lower regarding dress, and full disclosure is I like my nerdy statistics job and resent having to go to these meetings at all, so it's not like I'm interested in the career advancement. But I don't want to look totally out of place or embarrass my boss.

    I haven't asked my boss about this yet because he's a man and I feel a little awkward but maybe I should just suck it up and do it. In the past whenever he's commented on what to wear to an off-site meeting he's just told me he'll be wearing a dress shirt and tie and then I have to struggle to find the female equivalent. I don't really feel comfortable asking him if a dress + jacket is nice enough.

  2. #2
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    Sep 2006
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    In principle, yes. It would depend on the cut and fit of the dress.

  3. #3
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    I think that's fine. As a fellow civil servant (state), my suit only makes an appearance in court or if I'm a speaker. I would probably feel comfortable wearing a nice cardigan over that dress as an alternative to a jacket. My usual "meeting with management" or "attending a conference" attire is slacks/skirt with a nice top or sweater and dress shoes. I might occasionally wear a coordinating blazer, but rarely a matched suit.

    (I confess, I do love suits. Takes a lot of the getting dressed decisions out of the picture! But man, would I look out of place around here!)

  4. #4
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    I think the dress--with or without the jacket--should work, especially if your pair it with dress shoes and maybe some jewerly to jazz it up a bit.
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  5. #5
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    Thanks guys! This is what I was hoping to hear

  6. #6
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    I'll second the cardigan vs. jacket comment. The dress will be fine as is, but you could throw a cardigan over as well.

    SheFly
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  7. #7
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    One thing for certain I wouldn't ask a male boss for advice on business wear.....if you wish to advance in a career and believe is part of image-building, then take to the initiative to ask around trusted older female friend or colleague who has several years of business work experience in a professional/management level.

    Actually the more I think about, if I asked any of the guys I knew in supervisory/management positions where I work, they probably might wonder if I was worrying something that was abit "frivolous" to them which they might not have helpful advice without semi-joking (which is ok, many men joke around about women's fashion) or they just can't really describe "style" of women's myriad different fashion selections. You might want to minimize too much discussion as a woman with a focus on clothing and what you as a woman should wear, particularily in male dominant organizations. The exception would talking about clothing for health and safety reasons...if as a woman you were doing a site inspection at a construction site, etc. or seeing a particularily important external client.

    I have asked my partner for his opinion occasionally ...but more if what I was thinking of wearing if it was too casual or too formal for a key presentation /meeting I was delivering. Bjut that was....earlier in my career and waaaaaay back when the dress code was a lot more formal/suit oriented in some of the organizations I worked for. I work in government and in a dept. that is associated with building infrastructure, engineering, surveying, geospatial mapping...you get the picture. So thankfully nice casual is acceptable.....business formal for meeting sr. management..etc. In other depts. it's more suits and make-up.
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  8. #8
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    I agree that the dress sounds good.

    If I had to attend a meeting with senior management, I wouldn't hesitate to ask my manager or the project manager, both men, for information on how formal my attire would need to be. Though I've known them a long time, and I'm very comfortable talking to them about various topics.

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  9. #9
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    Not where I work....and these guys have wives with careers, etc. They just would think I was a bit crazy to ask the question....they know I'm an older, more experienced employee who has come from more formal organizations. So maybe with a junior/younger woman, it would be less surprising. (I'm just trying to say, that the culture within our dept. is different from others.) A sr. manager 1 level up from my boss (female), always wears a black long sleeved dress shirt. He has probably a whole closet rack of them. 12 months a year. No tie.

    In fact, all 55 people in his division that he manages which includes the group where I belong, we all dressed up in black as a surprise joke...for Hallowe'en last year.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know whatís in a personís heart.

  10. #10
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    Wow, I can't really fathom working someplace that a male boss would consider me frivolous or crazy for simply asking how formally I should be dressed for a meeting. To me it indicates professionalism and a desire to do well.
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  11. #11
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    So maybe with a junior/younger woman, it would be less surprising
    to ask the question.

    Don't want to snowball this discussion thread into something more than what this needs to be.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know whatís in a personís heart.

  12. #12
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    please don't wear flip flops - just sayin'

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by aponi View Post
    please don't wear flip flops - just sayin'
    And don't chew gum.
    Each day is a gift, that's why it is called the present.

 

 

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