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Are Employees Who Wear Cold Shoulder Tops Getting the Cold Shoulder for Promotions?



The weather's getting warmer, and that means more tank tops and fancy flip-flops at work. But could your cold-shoulder blouse mean you'll get the cold shoulder when it comes time for a promotion?

OfficeTeam recently surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. office workers, 300 senior managers, and 300 HR managers and unzipped a startling statistic: 86% of workers and 80% of managers said that an employee's clothing choices affect his or her chances of promotion!

So what is acceptable clothing in today's wash-and-don't-iron workplaces compared to, say, five years ago? Jeans, tennis shoes and leggings have all earned a certain acceptability at work, much to the chagrin of employees who still dare to dress up. However, tank tops, cold-shoulder tops and shorts have lost workplace acceptability over the last five years. Nobody wants to see our shoulders at work, apparently. Wear sleeves.


One thing is for sure: managers would like to avoid this hot topic. Only half of managers who had the unenviable task of speaking with an employee about their questionable clothing choices felt comfortable doing it, while more that one-third (35%) felt awkward doing it. Because there isn't a nice way to ask another adult what they were thinking when they chose this particular outfit for work today. Slightly more than one-third (34%) of managers have sent an employee home to change their clothes.


Do you know that men take more time to get ready for work than women do? By three minutes, to be exact! But the amount of time men and women spend getting ready for work decreases with age. Employees in the coveted 18-to-34 demographic take the most time getting ready for work -- 13 minutes on average -- because they have a reason to care, I guess.

Employees in the not-as-coveted 35-to-54 demographic take an average of 10 minutes getting ready for work. They're hitting middle age, but they still hold out hope that they have "it". By the time employees reach 55+, they've shaved another three minutes off their average morning routine, because they're more comfortable in their own skin and they know that nobody at work is looking at them anymore, except when there are layoffs.

So what have we learned here? Dress for the job you want instead of the job you have. If you want to be head and shoulders above the competition, then know the limits of the casual workplace. And leave the smelly flip-flops at home.

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