Dear Kid,

There are times when what you wear matters very little.

IMPORTANT CAVEAT: I’m assuming that all the important bits (and a lot of the unimportant ones) are covered and more or less held in place. I’m assuming that the garments in question are relatively clean. I’m assuming no highly offensive slogans or sayings. And I’m assuming the clothes fit. Big assumptions, but there you go.

For example, no one really cares what you wear to 8am classes. No one really cares what you wear while you’re studying in your dorm room. No one cares what you wear to the library during exam week.

Within reasonable limits, no one cares what you wear to the gym (as long as you have closed-toed shoes on your feet). No one cares what you wear to wash your car or walk your dog. Absolutely no one cares what you wear to watch TV while you’re in the privacy of your own home (except maybe the people who share that home with you).

There are lots of times and places where what you wear really doesn’t make a difference.

Work is not one of those times or places.

When you are at work, you need to dress reasonably. Just because you can wear a particular item doesn’t mean you should. You need to wear things that are appropriate for your work situation. (I know you do. But there are lots of people who don’t.) So here are 15 ways to tell you’re not dressed appropriately.

  1. When you say, “I could sleep in this”, that might be a clue that you’re not dressed appropriately.
  2. When your undergarments show and you’re not a lingerie model, you’re not dressed appropriately.
  3. When you bend over and someone compares you to a plumber, you’re not dressed appropriately.
  4. When someone says, “Oh, I used to have one of those!”, you’re probably not dressed appropriately.
  5. When you’re dressed like you’re going to a sporting event, you’re not dressed appropriately.
  6. When a colleague of the opposite gender asks where you bought your outfit, in all likelihood you’re not dressed appropriately.
  7. When you’re wearing shoes that cause you to walk less elegantly than a newborn giraffe, you’re not dressed appropriately.
  8. When people can tell the color and style of your undies, you’re not dressed appropriately.
  9. When you’re wearing something you would wear to watch TV or to study for a final exam, you’re not dressed appropriately.
  10. When you’re wearing something that shows more skin than a Victoria’s Secret model, you’re not dressed appropriately.
  11. When you’re wearing something the Village People might wear, you’re not dressed appropriately.
  12. When your clothes cut off your circulation, you’re not dressed appropriately (this is not the Age of the Corset).
  13. If you can wear your outfit to the gym and only change your footwear to work out, you’re not dressed appropriately.
  14. When a coworker says, “Aren’t you freezing?” and she’s referring to your outfit and not the thermostat, you’re not dressed appropriately.
  15. When you can’t figure out how to sit down in a meeting because it might lead to showing things you hadn’t planned to show, you are not dressed appropriately.

Feel free to share this article anonymously with anyone who violates one or more of these.

Love, Mom