‘Bare’ly Business Casual: Office dress codes

Q: There is a thirty-year-old woman in our architectural office who, on most days, has 3/4 of her body exposed. The areas can be her back, legs, and usually her midriff. She is very pretty but dresses in unattractive, sloppy, revealing, and provocative clothing. Often her underwear shows and she tugs at it. A number of employees both male and female would really like management to make some sort of stand. What can we do?

A: You should talk to management and request a dress code for the office. This is not unreasonable and is something many companies have as part of office policy.


  1. Joanna

    While I overall understand the situation the LW is trying to convey – it’s hardly uncommon these days – I’m a bit confused at how a young woman could be dressing in a way that is both “revealing and provocative” but “unattractive and sloppy.” How are tight/revealing clothes also sloppy?

    • Elizabeth

      I often think that “sloppy” is code for “fat.” If this is the case here, it’s really rather offensive.

  2. Management has been lacking already, by not at hiring time requesting such decent and professional dress code! If this person wants to dress the way she does; she might have to look for a job that fits ‘her’ code.

  3. Andra

    Sloppy doesn’t necessarily mean loose. It might also mean dirty, wrinkled, untidy, etc. Also, many clothes can be revealing and provocative while being loose. Anything mesh or see-through could easily fall into that category. That said: if there is a person that mentors the individual, they might be able to have a private talk with her. A dress code is another option.

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