Which is more professional for women in the workplace?

By Jess
@JJ4Ever (4696)
United States
May 7, 2008 8:17am CST
Women who work in a professional environment are required to dress accordingly. Trends are constantly changing, and nowadays the style is leaning towards a gender neutral attire in the workplace. In your opinion, which is more professional for women, pants or a skirt? I've heard it either way. For the purpose of the discussion, I want to leave my opinion out of it until I receive some responses. I'm interested to see what the majority will say. Thanks in advance!
2 people like this
11 responses
@SViswan (12071)
• India
8 May 08
I teach kindergarten...and we have a dress code at work. Skirts are allowed...but they have to be long. They gave me a whole page with information on the dress code after my interview. Pants and skirts are allowed. I like pants....but I feel more feminine and comfortable in skirts.
3 people like this
@JJ4Ever (4696)
• United States
1 Jul 08
I believe it's a common trend that women feel more feminine in skirts. I'm glad you mentioned that because it's a great point. When it comes to teaching at school, I think skirts are much more qualified because it's a professional yet comfortable environment. In a business position, pants would probably seem more appropriate. Of course, in your case and probably in most cases, both are allowed...so it all really goes back to personal preference. I'm glad you can choose between the two what works best for you. Thanks for your feedback!
2 people like this
@SViswan (12071)
• India
2 Jul 08
Personally for me, teaching kindergarten kids, skirts don't really work out because I'm sometimes sitting on the floor with them...or doing other stuff with them where I'll have to keep watching out for my skirt...or if it's proper. So, I prefer the formal pants...or the traditional Indian salwar kameez which is pants and a long top with a long scarf.
1 person likes this
@JJ4Ever (4696)
• United States
14 Jul 08
For your line of work, the dress code you mentioned is right on. I don't think you should have to wear skirts at all. I mean, it's not like you're working with adults all day and not that the kids really notice, but you should be able to wear what you're comfortable with. Thanks for a great example of what kinds of dress would work better for a particular situation.
@winterose (39918)
• Canada
7 May 08
you can wear a dress, a skirt, or pants and all can be professional dress. I do not see where a woman has to be limited to one or the other. I have known several women in my working life that were better professionally dressed than their male counterparts and they looked very good in anything they wore.
2 people like this
@JJ4Ever (4696)
• United States
1 Jul 08
I agree because women aren't given enough credit in the workplace. Everything has to be gender neutral nowadays so that women supposedly don't get offended or looking down upon because of dress, professionalism, and other factors. I personally think that women can be more professional than men and really are in most cases. I also don't think professionalism depends on what a person wears. It definitely helps with the image factor, but it's not a must. Women definitely shouldn't be limited in their dress. Thanks for your helpful response.
2 people like this
@winterose (39918)
• Canada
1 Jul 08
well there are professional clothing and unprofessional clothing, and a woman dressed in a dress or sweater that exposes all her boobs, or all her belly is not professional. Nor is a skirt so short you can see her underwear.
2 people like this
@JJ4Ever (4696)
• United States
14 Jul 08
Very good comment here. A woman can wear what would be considered a femine outfit but still expose herself, which of course, is most definitely not modest or appropriate for the workplace. Thanks for your input, Winterose.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (102516)
• United States
8 May 08
I think a tailored skirt or dress slacks are both appropriate. Not froo froo, low cut, or too short a pant. I think that the top is more important and should be a tailored shirt or jacket.
@JJ4Ever (4696)
• United States
1 Jul 08
I never thought about it before, but you're right. A shirt on a woman in particular is much more important as far as professionalism is concerned. I believe it's because that's where a person would normal look first (between the top and bottom, not in a vulgar way, of course!) I believe if the top, whether it be a collared top or jacket, can either make an outfit dressy and professional or otherwise. I'm glad for your response because it added a nice touch to the discussion. Thanks!
2 people like this
@winterose (39918)
• Canada
19 Jul 08
yes hon, I do agree with you, there are clothes a woman can wear to work, clothes to a night club, clothes to church, and clothes to the beach, all have the place.
1 person likes this
@JJ4Ever (4696)
• United States
29 Jul 08
Great comment, Winterose. I agree that there is a specific outfit for each occasion, which is also appropriate. Thanks.
@chiyosan (30206)
• Philippines
7 May 08
there are dress codes for every company. in ours, you can wear skirts and pants - whichever you feel you are comfortable with as long as your skirts are not short.. they should at least be only about 2 inches above your knee.. no plunging necklines and we cannot wear sleeveless too.
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@JJ4Ever (4696)
• United States
1 Jul 08
Your dresscode is very similar if not the same as mine here at work. We're able to wear jeans, but it's only for those of us who don't work with clients (in person) on a regular basis. The days we'll be in the lobby or near customers, we cannot wear jeans then as they're not too professional at all. Thanks for sharing!
1 person likes this
@chej18 (915)
• United States
1 Jul 08
Hi JJ, I worked in so many places and so many dress code.I find skirt very professional but then its not comfortable at all.Specially if you dont have your own car.When i was in the Philippines i have to wear skirt everytime,thats our dress code in the office i work as supervisor in more shopping mall.i took orders and control all the sales.(KENWOOD)But that time i dont have any car yet.So i travel public tranfortation.But think about the full bus so high.And i am wearing skirt and high heel.That's look sexy anyway but i dont find it comfortable at all but then once in a week i can wear pants w/c is friday.In my job i have to make good impressions and good comments..Let say look intellegent ( even i am not i have to act like one..hahaha.If i am wearing pants then just like i past by that no one can see me..But if i wear skirt every body asking if i need help.. who i need to talk to.. I can get more help that i can..Hahaha..i remember my granny said to me always..A woman have to wear a skirt,dress and a man have to wear pants..I dont really mean what she mean to say..But yahh..I'll do it anyway..more feminine..but uneasy to wear..So that mean i am in neutral.In workplace it has to be two kind of dress code pants and skirt.They are actually both beautiful and fits very good.You can move easilly.For me skirt for more professional things like meetings,conference,meeting somebody.And pants if you just have to work at the office they are both professional dress code spacially now a days there is a lot of beautiful design for office pants..I hope i can give neutral comment..Everybody got different idea about it.Atleast this is my idea..have a nice day JJ.take care your self.. Greetings from Che!
@JJ4Ever (4696)
• United States
1 Jul 08
I most definitely know what you mean about wearing a skirt and it not being comfortable because I feel the same way. My fiance has a Camaro, and I most definitely cannot modestly wear a skirt getting in and out of that car! I feel like it's going to fly up or slide up when I try to get out or something. It makes me feel very uncomfortable most of the time. I love how you gave an example of your trip on the bus because I agree with you completely on that. No woman should have to wear a skirt and high heels on the bus with all those people sitting down below staring at you! Oh...that would make me so self conscious because I know it'd look really nice and all, but you're right that people would think it was sexy and very attractive. You're right that people expect different things in the workplace, which makes it really hard. That must be difficult wearing a skirt everyday because you don't get to choose. At least you can wear pants on Friday. I'm sure sometimes you look forward to that day very much! You don't have to add a neutral comment as each person is different, so his and her response will automatically be different. I believe women should wear a professional yet comfortable outfit. Of course, it first depends on the company dresscode, but beyond that, a woman needs to wear what's comfortable for her or she probably won't work at well! For me, jeans at work is very comfortable, but sometimes I like to look nice at meetings and such to stand out against the crowd. Sometimes I see customers, so I want to look my best. After all, sometimes it's just nice every once in a while to dress up and look nice. We women really like that sometimes when it's our choice! Thanks so much for sharing your experience. It's going to be different for everyone, of course, but I'm thankful for learning your situation with work and all. Thanks for taking the time to participate in this discussion!
@chej18 (915)
• United States
1 Jul 08
Hi again. If i can choose w/ this kind of thing i rather choose no dresscode at all but then more company afraid that thier people makes any strange clothing who can effect to thier image.i think all company think also thier people to be more comfortable in what they are wearing,and what thier doing.I quit w/ that job becouse of traveling and wearing high heels and skirt.Your right other people can see wearing skirt is sexy because of that i had so much bad experienced in the bus or some other public transportation.Some body even jerk infront of me before.I know its really disgusting but things like these happen in Philippines in Aircon Bus Hahaha.That is really funny if i remember it these day.But i was so afraid when that happened to me i dont know what to do.Thank God that some man got in the bus and i asked for help.He run away..So i stop w/ that job even they paying alot.I even asked them if i can just wear pants the whole week.But i think in my opinion thier using that skirt to used the person for thier previllage.
1 person likes this
@JJ4Ever (4696)
• United States
14 Jul 08
I agree with you because the ideal situation is for us to choose. However, like you said, it's hard to have everyone on the same page when it comes to dresscode because what one person thinks is professional may not be to their supervisor or someone higher up. It's a really hard gray area to manage, but I'm glad I don't have to make that decision! (LOL) Thanks for sharing your situation.
@secretbear (19464)
• Philippines
8 Jun 08
i think it doesn't matter if its skirt or pants jj. as long as it looks formal and appropriate for the workplace. comfortability also matters. if one is comfortable with wearing skirts, then she can choose to wear skirt. and if one is comfortable with pants, then she can choose to wear pants. we also have to consider the workplace as i've said. in an office, formal attires are required. but there are some workplace where the employees can choose not to wear formal attires and still look professional. they can wear any kind of skirts or pants as long as its presentable. anyway, what i'm saying no matter if its skirt or pants, as long as it looks formal and gives an impression that you are educated, then you can look professional.
1 person likes this
@JJ4Ever (4696)
• United States
1 Jul 08
I agree with you that comfort is a key factor in deciding what to wear and how to dress for the workplace. A person has to take into consideration what he or she will be doing at work all day also. I know for me, my dresscode here at work is a little more relaxed now that we aren't as busy because we can wear jeans everyday instead of just on Friday, which is usually a casual day for most corporate businesses. I work in an office, so I think my place of business is probably an exception to a general rule that more professional attire is required in these such places. I like the more relaxed atmosphere as that's how my company has always been. I think it also has a lot to do with how productive employees are. Thanks for your feedback. I really like your answer.
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@secretbear (19464)
• Philippines
4 Jul 08
good for you. we also have a relaxed atmosphere here in our office. the administration is not strict on the kinds of clothes we wear so long as we at least follow the color coding and we look presentable and decent for our clients.
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@JJ4Ever (4696)
• United States
14 Jul 08
I agree. As long as employers give their team members enough free will to choose clothing for work with reasonable guidelines, I don't think there will be any problems. Thanks!
@kaytee717 (188)
• United States
1 Jul 08
I think it really depends on your works dresscode. I have a very flexible dress code but know on certain days the sweatsuits and jeans arent going to cut it and I have to look professional. My friend works for a company in Manhattan and has to wear a black shirt everyday. I think its crazy but hey better her than me :-)
1 person likes this
@JJ4Ever (4696)
• United States
1 Jul 08
Some companies have some pretty interesting dresscodes that probably don't make sense to me. I'm fortunate to have a pretty relaxed dresscode here at work...jeans every day unless we're working directly with clients (in person). I really like it because they're the most comfortable thing to wear. I know I don't have to, but I like to dress up a bit in black pants for meetings and such because while everyone else wears jeans and even capris, I stand out from the crowd a bit. It's just something I do that I don't necessarily have to. It's easier for me to dress a certain way by choice and not because I have to due to policies and such. I find it much better that way. I'm glad I don't have to wear a black shirt every day either! (LOL) That would get really old really fast, especially with the sun out and the weather getting nice and warm. Thanks for your response!
@SHAMRACK (8532)
• India
1 Jul 08
Dear friend, I hope each work has its own dress code. Hence I feel a nurse may be better with a shirt and pants or may be a skirt. A technical work palce need more flexible dress hence I a pants and shirts could do better. In this way each work diversifications also effect the dress code. Majority of dress I hope it would be shirt and pants or may be a good jacket or suit or suti with pants. All depends how well the dress go up with the profession or work.
@JJ4Ever (4696)
• United States
1 Jul 08
I'd certainly hope each workplace would have a dresscode as well just like you said. I think nurses should wear pants as well (usually a complete outfit of scrubs). It's more comfortable for instance for nurses and doctors to wear pants as they sometimes have to go all over the place in the hospital, up and down, doing whatever patients need. I don't think a woman would be comfortable working in a skirt there. Then again, it's exactly like you said. It all depends on the type of workplace. Thanks for your response. I really appreciate youi mentioning the occupation of nurse because that's a great example for this discussion. Take care!
@checapricorn (16066)
• United States
8 Jun 08
It depends really the workplace, the environment is very important to consider before deciding about what to wear! I worked as a private employee for 9 years and my first year and first company, we were just given a freedom what to wear everyday as long as it is descent looking and semi-formal, but for 8 years, I always have a uniform! Different style every year, each department will vote for the given style and cloth, then whichever wins will be the uniform for the year!
1 person likes this
@JJ4Ever (4696)
• United States
1 Jul 08
Wow, that's very interesting that your company had its employees vote on a uniform or dresscode for the company. I've never heard of that before, but at least everyone has a say! I work at an office, and I guess enough people complained about how dressy we had to be, so now we can wear jeans everyday rather than just on Friday, which is casual day in most businesses. I'm glad we can wear them everyday...I bet you can't guess what I wear most of the time! (LOL) I think it's good for companies to have some kind of dresscode; otherwise, employees would either not know what to wear or wear whatever they want, which might not be too appropriate. I think it's great to have a set standard for people to follow because what one person might think is professional another might think is a little too casual. It could go either way. Thanks for your feedback! Have a great day.
@ellie333 (21029)
8 May 08
I am female and have a work uniform that consists of trousers, shirt and jacket. I prefer this as it is more practical and easier to wear for the job I do. However if I were to go back into an office environment I would prefer to wear a skirt suit myself as this looks professional especially in the legal world. Ellie :D
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@JJ4Ever (4696)
• United States
1 Jul 08
You're exactly right because nowadays in a professional business environment, everyone is wearing suits. I like how you have your uniform with the flexibility of pants or a skirt. That way, if you need to wear a certain kind of suit for any given situation, you'll have both to choose from. They say that's actually the best way to shop because you automatically have two choices for whatever kind of work-related thing you'll have to deal with. You never know when it may come in handy! I think it's excellent how you dress for work. I need to invest in a nice suit with jacket, pants, and skirt just like yours. Thanks for sharing, Ellie!
8 May 08
Hi I think it's professional to wear either these days, most companies are happy as long as you look smart, especially if meeting with clients or if you have any company visits. Here in the UK the weather determines what i wear, if it's hot i will wear a skirt or if it's cold or wet i will wear trousers. I prefer trousers, as i'm over weight they feel more comfy and look tidier on me. How are you not heard from you for awhile?
@JJ4Ever (4696)
• United States
1 Jul 08
Hi, Aqua! Thanks for your response. I'm sorry we haven't chatted in a while. I've been crazy busy with moving from my parents' house to my new apartment, which is taking much longer than I feel is necessary because I've been waiting about a month for my place to be painted. I can't do it myself with all of the legal stuff that's involved. Any day now...speaking of which, all of my professional clothes are buried somewhere. (LOL) Of course, my dresscode here at work does include jeans, so I bet you can't guess what I've been wearing every day! I don't feel professional in them, but I'm comfortable, which I think is the most important. I'll dig out the nicer clothes after I move and start cleaning up a bit. (LOL) I'm with you about skirts versus pants. I much prefer pants, but skirts are ok and comfortable during hotter days. I think it's very interesting that you let the weather decide. It can go either way some days, I'm sure! I think your way of dressing is very smart. If you aren't prepared for the weather nowadays, it could ruin your whole day! For instance, when I dressed at college, I used to wear a knee-length skirt on the windy days, which was a horrible idea! I didn't do it on purpose, but I also failed to research the weather before choosing what I'd wear for that day. (LOL) So I'm glad you have your habits that work for you. I'm sure all of us dress according to the weather to a certain extent. Thanks for your input. It's great to hear from you!