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Don’t want to talk to the boob

Don't want to talk to the boob

I know it’s summer. I know it’s hot. I understand it’s party time and I realise that less is often more. But ladies, it’s time to cover up.

It’s time to put the boobs away and bring them out only after hours. No matter how delightfully they are presented, no matter how much that splash of racy lace sets them off, they don’t belong out and proud in the office, and definitely not in the boardroom.

Call me a fuddy-duddy, shout that I’m sexist, scream that I’m being discriminatory, I really don’t care. Bouncing and bobbing around in the office with the girls on display is not okay. Just as it wouldn’t be okay if the office hunk decided a singlet was in order and we were forced to sit opposite sprawling forests rivalling the Amazon.

I’m the first to admit that at my middle age it’s best to keep the girls restrained, probably best hidden in fact. My days of Wonderbras are long gone, replaced by sensible undergarments required more for support and comfort than show. However, even when I was younger, and probably more alluring, as a young cadet representing a newspaper in the 70s, the last thing I needed was to put the boobs on display. Sexual harassment was rife, and no further encouragement was needed.

I’m not talking about a hint of décolletage, that’s fine. But when the boobs are busting out, or worse, sagging sadly into a low-cut bra, peeking out from a low-cut top, like it or not, they’ll attract more attention than anything intelligent you have to say.

Don’t tell me men are not supposed to look, because they will. Don’t tell me you’re not dressing to cop an eyeful, because you are. It’s distracting, even for me. I have learned to talk to the slide, talk to the hand and even learned to talk to HR, don’t make me talk to the boob.

Just the other day, a senior manager asked for advice about how to tell a junior staff member to dress more appropriately for the office. She was working up the courage to say something, realising she was damned if she did and damned if she didn’t.

Apparently this delightful and very attractive young lady was turning up to work in skirts just skimming her bottom and tops just scraping her nipples.

“She dressed more for clubbing than work,” my friend lamented. “Everyone is talking about her, but I’m reluctant to make an issue in case she’s offended.”

And therein lies the dilemma. It appears that no matter how inappropriately dressed this young lady may be in the office at 8am, management is concerned about potential offence, whereas I’m damned sure they’d be lining up to pull the blokes into line if they arrived in jogger shorts and a tank top.

The fact is that employers are entitled to set uniform standards for the office and the earlier it’s done the better, particularly with younger staff. They need to learn from the bottom rung how to dress for success, not to impress. If the CEO, or immediate manager, is not setting the standard, they must rise above it and set their own.

Let’s face it, the choice between promoting someone dressed with class and chic and someone dressed in barely there’s for a night club is a no-brainer for a boss with brains in the right place.

As a CEO do you have dress code in your organisation? Is it important? As an employee would you be offended if told to dress more conservatively? Why? Let us know what you think.


  1. Reid Jackson

    Great article Wendy, yes I believe dress codes are vital in all businesses. Especially with branding, logos. Our clients are here to admire beautiful jewellery or drop in repairs, they don’t need to have bouncing beautiful boobs distracting there attention. Our business supplies all new & old staff new polo shirts every couple of years or when updating our brand. Plus when they buy pants they are welcome to have our logo printed small behind so they can claim, recover expenses next tax period. This takes the problem out of what is a proper dress code. Plus we all look great as a team. Great article, keep up the fine work. Cheers [email protected]’s

  2. Tony

    Glad to see someone is being objective on the pc front. Where should one look, at the super glossed lips, the 50 shades of eye shadow camouflaged by the forest of lashes, the earrings stolen from hoopla or the colour treated expanse of hair?
    Dress appropriately – yes please.
    Love reading these pieces.

  3. Amelia

    I found the article very interesting but also conflicting in a sense. The points you raised about a workplace upholding a dress code is very valid. But I think you also need to take into account that we are living in an ever increasingly modern world, where more and more industries such as the arts are becoming more lenient with dress codes. However I completely agree that corporate workplaces must uphold uniform standards and that boobs are distracting in professional environments. Great article!

  4. Amelia

    I found the article really interesting, but conflicting in a way. I think what you’ve said about uniform standards in the workplace is great but I also think it’s very different for every workplace and the time we’re living in. Some industries, like the arts for example are increasingly more leniant with dress code, as we are in more modern times. But still great points about corporate workplaces having standards to uphold and boobs being distracting in and professional environments.

  5. Kim

    Funny, witty and relevant- a bulging pair is gorgeous but far too distracting for the workplace, and it’s in young women’s best interests to learn about appropriate dress. It must be a difficult time to broach such a topic, I’d be interested to know what’s considered “best practice”.

  6. Kate Southam

    Great piece Wendy and timely in so many ways. A dress code for the office is a must and managers need to be clear with everyone about what is appropriate even for casual Fridays and also coach anyone who needs some extra help. Managers should be instructive – not shaming – but if the advice is dress for the job you want rather have, people need to realise the message they are sending about their promotion potential.

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