by Paula Smith
Who do we dress for really? Ourselves – to feel good and content in our own skin? Or others – to impress and project our positive selves? Our primitive selves would be happy to feel comfortable and warm however clothes not only serve a practical purpose they offer a form of communication. Depending on where we are, who we are with and how we feel we will choose our clothes accordingly.
When we lounge around the house on a day off it would be over the top to have heels and lots of make up on, or a tie, instead we will probably select our favourite cosy indoor clothes and nurture that part of us who just does not care how we look. The sense of freedom and non- commitment from this simple way of being can nourish our very soul. So do clothes hinder our personalities?
For the most part clothes can be an extension of our personalities. The modern goth may have dyed hair, a yummy mummy may have practical chic clothing and a student may dress down or slightly scruffy. The important thing is that we feel at ease and convey this to others. Whether we like it or not we will be glanced at and judged by what clothing we wear so best choose something that reflects who we are.
What about uniforms or dress codes? You could say this forms our work identity but takes away our personalities. Maybe in some cases it could enhance our personalities – the make- up vendor may feel at ease in make up or chic clothes. The bank worker may feel like something crucial is missing if he went without a tie. Do work clothes allow us to be true to ourselves?
It is hard to ignore this week’s headlines where it has been brought to our attention that workers have even been dismissed without pay from their job just because they have refused to wear heels. To what extent are heels and glamour necessary for work? Being smart and presentable is one thing and most workers would strive for this if appropriate. Glamour on the other hand seems excessive.
The dress code for work has been strongly debated this week and it has been revealed that many work places urge the female workers to dress in such a way where they feel exposed or undermined. This is grossly unfair and there is a consensus that the ‘Equality act 2010’ is not serving the purpose that it should – protecting workers from bias, bullying, sexism and unfair dismissal.
The case of Nicola Thorp has produced a collection of 150 000 signatures in favour of acknowledgement and change. Hopefully this will lead to a change in legislation as the further it goes on, the more in pain many ladies feet will be. One Boss made a comment to a lady who complained about wearing high heels. “You will have plenty of time to rest your feet when you are unemployed” This unfortunately is what many of our women are dealing with on a daily basis.
Clothes, shoes and make-up – where do the limits lie? A uniform is one thing or even a dress code which is reasonable but when it comes to the make-up and shoes it seems very demanding to request high heels and perfect make-up all day long. Does it affect the quality of our work? Probably not but many would claim that a lack of such details could harm the company’s image. So workers – there is work to be done! Let’s speak out about those blisters and hope for a healing solution.