Dressing for work and play. Sexy or…..

This is not a post about sluts or slut walks. If you’d like to go there, go here. Perhaps it’s a post about getting older and taking a look around and wondering why some people are wearing no clothes.

In her editorial letter in Shop Til You Drop recently, Justine Cullen wrote in part:


Obviously I’m getting old, because I still think the underside of your bum cheeks are for wearing inside your pants rather than out of them. It must be the case because everywhere I look, everyone else has their bum-cheek undersides hanging out for the world to see. Some of them look good (Erin Wasson), some don’t (the rest of the population), but this invasion of fleshy exposure has hit a tipping point I’m worried we may never recover from.

Being from Bondi, I’d been thinking it was just a hazard of the suburb, like sunburnt tourists and weekend garage sales. But recently I was away for the weekend and ended up at a country fair. I don’t know what I was expecting, but for goodness sake, it was a country fair: I had to restrain from wearing gingham. When I got there, though, I felt like I’d accidentally wandered down a wrong alley in Kings Cross. Bottoms, boobs, intentionally unbuttoned flies (what is that about?!)… vast amounts of skin as far as the eye could see. When did we all decide to start dressing like skanks?

Shop Til You Drop

Let me repeat myself in case you missed it the first time: this is not a debate about whether the way a woman dresses makes her a target for sexual assault (duh, IT DOESN’T. I think we’re all clear on that. Crystal.).

This is not about ‘judging’ a woman’s sexual history or reputation based on how she dresses. Please.

But it’s impossible not to notice that compared to, say 5, 10, 20 years ago, some women (not all) are pushing the boundaries between “clothes” and “almost naked”. More flesh seems to be being flashed than ever before.


So what happens when this spills (sometimes literally) into the workplace?

Adele Horin wrote for Fairfax recently:


What young women wear at the weekend, at night, to parties, or clubs or pubs is their own business. Women can be as playful and outrageous as their comfort zone and creativity allow. What young women wear to work is another matter. Like it or not, there are unwritten rules that govern office attire that women should heed if they are to be taken seriously in their career.

They wear tights with a big T-shirt as if the absence of a skirt won’t be noticed.

Most disconcerting is the nonchalant flaunting of cleavage and orbs in barely there tops and shirts with plunging necklines.

…Work dress codes have changed over the decades, and it could be argued young women are simply pushing the boundaries again.

Now just imagine for one minute that you are a man or maybe you are so this exercise will be much easier for you.  Imagine you are at work around a meeting table and the woman bending down in front of you is wearing no bra and you can right down the barrel of her shirt.  Not because you want to but because she is bending over in front of you.

You can’t say anything because that’s sexual harassment and you can’t choose not to see it because it’s in your direct line of sight. I’m not implying the woman is asking for you to look at her boobs, I’m not imagining that you don’t have the brain power to tell you not to act on that image but God it would be hard for me to work if I was presented with the sight of a man’s penis in front of me during a meeting. Not because it would turn me on but because it would be confronting and would make me uncomfortable.

So is that my problem or the person wearing the see-through pants?

Have you noticed people dressing in a more….overt way? At work? Going out?




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