I work in an environment with a pretty stringent dress code. I understand the necessity of appearing professional, hygienic, and well-groomed. No green/blue/purple hair. I get that. No tattoos where they show. Well, all right then. No open-toed shoes. Um...I guess it's for safety reasons? No denim. Ehhh...I guess a lot of jeans aren't professional-grade.
I just have two problems with our oodles and oodles of rules.
#1 - they are not enforced equally. Some people can wear some things. Others cannot. Some get a public reprimand. Others get a compliment. And for the record, I dress pretty stodgily, so this isn't sour grapes, although I would very much like to wear open-toed shoes or Capri pants in the summer.
#2 - we have all created our own individual, uniform way of dressing. One coworkers wears a patterned top and solid pants every day. One wears a sweater set 90% of the time. The two guys wear shirt/pants/tie. Basically, everyone has found their own way to conform to the code, differing somewhat from each other, but not their individual code.
Because of this, if anyone wears anything 'different' from their usual mode, they get mercilessly harassed from clock-in til clock-out. It's done in a light, faux-complimentary tone, but it's actually as scathing and uncomfortable-making as anything ever portrayed in a sexual harassment PSA.
I hate it.
Because I would like very much to wear other things. I wear eclectic top/neutral color pants/comfortable shoes. Every goddamn day unless we're allowed to wear our event T-shirts.
I am not at all girly, but I would like to wear office-appropriate skirts or dresses or even a layered top or accessories, but I literally almost cried and threw up after the epic pecking, prodding, and mock-catcalling I endured last time.
I know - grow a pair. Take it. They'll stop eventually. I just don't have it in me right now with everything else eroding my femme balls.
The only thing I can really do is promise myself that when I finish my degree and earn a professional position, I will not allow myself to get into this position again. I will dress as diversely as possible. I will skirt the edges of the dress code and find layers of meaning and ... you get the picture. And if the day ever comes, and I'm in charge, I will do away with dress codes entirely and simply trust my employees to act like professionals, and if they can't, I'll privately communicate to them what needs to be changed and in as positive manner as possible.
I also window shop dresses on e-Bay. You know, as therapy.