Life with Lauren: Representable and risqué: the difference


Lauren Deisley, Staff Writer

Interviews and banquets are very common right now, as many students are graduating and looking for careers—or simply attending end-of-year celebrations—and the need to be dressed up and presentable is rising.

Unfortunately, what’s also rising is the height of skirts and heels.

A little leg does not go a long way in the professional world.

“Business attire” is not meant to show your business to anyone else, but it seems like that’s becoming more of a problem than usual.

I recently attended an event where I was among colleagues in my field, and I understood that I needed to dress in business wear. But what I saw shocked me.

There were girls with skirts that were so short that they almost showed too much, and it looked like they’d rip them because they were far too tight.

There were backless dresses and shoulders galore. I don’t mean to sound prudish, but I know the difference between representable and risqué.

Ladies, if we can see more skin than a tattoo artist, then there’s a definite problem.

And gentlemen?

Well, let’s say that neon orange tennis shoes really do not go well with a dress shirt and lopsided tie. And unfortunately, jeans and a suit jacket aren’t quite dressy enough for an interview.

There’s a reason this current generation is getting a lot of negative attention from our elders. If we can’t present ourselves in a positive light, then what can we do?

First impressions are very hard to look past. I know from personal experience that it’s hard to forget that moment when you first meet someone.

Often times, something that’s said or done or worn sticks for years after the initial meeting.

And I definitely do not want my chest to be the only quality someone remembers about me.

A good rule I go by is that if I can’t see my grandmother (or anyone’s grandmother, for that matter) wearing it, then I sure as heck shouldn’t.

If we’re showing frumpy gym shoes and large portions of our body, our first impression has flown right out the window.

Maybe we’re the most qualified person in a set of candidates for a potential career, but what we choose to wear to an interview might close ears and turn away more opportunities than we realize.

Fortunately, there are a lot of resources available to anyone who isn’t quite sure what “business attire” entails.

There’s a really great article on that explains the different degrees of business dress and what each gender can wear to fit into those categories.

WikiHow has a wonderful section (with pictures!) about how to dress for business settings, including checklists to help you decide whether what you own is appropriate or not.

There are even Pinterest pages about business dress, for the avid Pinterest user.

Spending even ten minutes online looking at different diagrams can help. Career Services at WSC also have some wonderful pictures hanging up that show students what is appropriate.

And I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt to go in and ask someone in the office.

Modesty goes a long way, and definitely a lot longer than seeing how much leg you can show.

Keep it classy, not trashy.