New feature: The politics of office dress

// 11 October 2011

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Melanie Davis usually wears grey trousers suits to work. Switching to a smart, clingy dress prompted a disconcerting change in her colleagues

First Lady - Korea.jpgThe spate of SlutWalks around the world have highlighted a powerful message: no matter what we wear, no matter how we present ourselves, we have the right not to be touched without our consent. For me that statement has a peculiar resonance because it is a much-needed, long overdue reaction to one small subset of a much bigger problem: that we are all, as women, judged every single day by what we wear.

Never mind pubs and clubs, I have trouble with what’s expected of women in the modern workplace.

It started with a dress. I was out shopping for another of the plain grey trouser suits I like to shroud myself in, and there was this dress, and I had a moment of whimsy. Why not show off my body in the office for once, just for a laugh? I’ve seen senior partners reduced to drooling idiots by a nice rack and legs, how much more effective if they suddenly realise the office Plain Jane also has these fine assets?

The dress fitted like a glove. It was grey and smart, and so technically office wear. It was also sleeveless and short and basically not that far off a schoolgirl’s outfit. Teamed with a pair of high heels, it looked sexy. Curves, bum, legs all nicely on show. The Whimsy Imp said “Buy it!” and I did. As a joke, you see?

Read the rest of this feature here

Picture of the First Lady of the Republic of Korea uploaded by Flickr user KOREA.NET – Official page of the Republic of Korea.

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