There’s a reason suffrage should’ve never passed and this is it: ever since women were given the right to vote, they think this victory accords them the voice to demand everything afforded to men, even if it’s not something to be desired. You don’t see men out there picketing for multiple orgasms and there’s a reason for that— they don’t want them. Who’s got the time?
Today’s WSJ article, “Dress Code of Silence” serves this point magnificently. It discusses the tearjerker of a fact that women have the raw end of the deal in terms of modes of dress in the workplace, namely in the financial sector. While “their male counterparts may sport ‘business casual’ khakis, many women on Wall Street feel they must toe a careful and conservative line.” One woman, a banker for Citigroup, even showed up to a purportedly “casual” event and got the wag of the finger for her attire, while her male colleagues got pats on the back and rounds of scotch for dressing themselves (one assumes) in “chinos and Izods.” Why don't we fight to wear rainbow flip flops or flipped-collar Polos while we're at it? Topsiders. Ribbon belts.
Que? This is the battle? To get to wear khakis? The sartorial embodiment of a terrible breed of human being? That’s just wrong. Women apparently “feel obliged to dress up in order to command authority,” which is concerning for several reasons, chiefly because it’s difficult to remember the last time we interfaced with someone (man or woman) wearing khakis and said to ourselves, “check out the pantaloons on that guy (or girl)—now that’s someone to reckon with.”
But the article notes that women don’t want to look frivolous and—stop the presses here—someone wearing khakis might (though we’re not sure why there’s a distinction of gender here). And because they don’t want to be “frivolous,” in the office or in print, several women “flatly declined to discuss what they wear to work.” Though, the author notes, much to our delight, that “all of the men [I] approached spoke eagerly about their wardrobes.”
A female sales trader outside of New York tell us, however, that there are two sides of the story.
Since I am the Liar’s Poker equivalent of “equities in Dallas,” I really get to push that line over. I wear jeans every Friday with Frye boots. Most days I wear a pair of Ralph slacks and a sweater—and frankly, since my "décolletage" is one of my last good features, it gets flaunted on a regular basis ! Today I have on that basic uniform, and I do have a couple of client meetings…I am LIVING THE DREAM.
Anyway. We’re not saying this phenomenon is totally self-imposed—though every quote is “women on wall street FEEL”—because clearly the playing field isn’t even and probably never will be. But khakis? Not worth fighting for.
Wall Street Women: Dress Code of Silence [WSJ]