An example of when business casual is a bit TOO casual

Want to know a little secret about me? Well, I’m one of those hot weather people.

Ok, it’s not that much of a secret, but I’d so much rather it be 95 degrees outside (even with the Maryland humidity) than deal with that windy 20 degree crap we get in the winter.

I love to indulge my inner lazy person on the weekends by throwing on a pair of gym shorts, tank top and flip flops. Add in a pool or beach and I’m ecstatic about lazing around in my swimsuit with a drink in one hand and my kindle in the other.

However, please note that this is how I dress on the WEEKENDS – not when I come to work.

I’d like to take this opportunity to share a true story with you. At one of my previous jobs I worked with a lady that we’ll call Ms. SassyPants. She worked in a customer service position and was quite sassy (hence the name) in her dressing style, even changing things up with natural-ish looking wigs every now and then.

Well, one beautiful summer day she decided to wear a strappy tank top with her work pants. The light and silky tank top was so strappy that her brightly colored bra straps were quite visible as they stuck out on her shoulders. Sounds like a situation for Clinton and Stacy, right?* Well, I guess she must of thought so too, because a few hours into the workday she decided to keep those distracting bra straps from ruining her look. By taking off her bra.

So, now she’s running around the office and meeting with customers braless. And she wasn’t exactly a little sprite of a girl. Oh, and the office was cold.

Totally inappropriate, right? Well, she must have thought so too because she decided that the best course of action was to put some Band-Aids on top of her nipples in order to ‘hide the chill’ she was so obviously feeling.

For the rest of the day, she bounced around the office in a thin, silky tank top with weird square nips sticking out from her body. Classy.

Did I mention that Ms. SassyPants worked in the customer service department? She was the person that represented our company to a customer.


Ok, I admit that I laughed my butt off at the time. I still giggle a little as I remember the look on the bosses face when he realized that he needed to speak to her about her interpretation of business casual.** But I wonder even years later, what the hell was she thinking? You know that old adage, “dress for the job you want, not the job you have”… was she aspiring to be an exotic dancer?

I know I’m not the only one who has noticed that some people’s business casual attire is a bit more, um…casual than others. The morale of the story is, don’t be THAT girl (or guy). If you’re digging around your closet in the morning and your fingers land on something you wore to the club a few weeks ago, put it back and keep searching.

* This is a “What not to Wear” reference. If you did not know that, you really need to park your butt on the couch and watch more TV.

** The funny part is that the boss was too afraid to say something to her and instead sent an email to the entire company about how “beachwear” was not acceptable for work. According to the rumor mill, she grumbled that her outfit wasn’t beachwear because it was expensive…

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