I’m Too Sexy For My Job: Why Your Hot Outfits May Be Costing You A Promotion

November 21, 2014  |  

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Every woman likes to dress nicely for work. But there is a fine line between looking attractive and being too sexy for the office. Before you step out of the house take a good look at your outfit and analyze what it’s saying about you.

In the executive ranks you want your clothes to be saying the right things. According to Marie Claire, features editor Lea Goldman, executives say appearance counts for 60 percent of your executive presence, reports Levo League. “The single biggest mistake women make [in work attire] is dressing too sexy,” says Goldman.

“The main problem I see are the classic ones: low-cut tops and skirts that are too short,” says workplace expert/former employment attorney/author Lynne Eisaguirre of Workplaces That Work. “In general, when I’m conducting workshops for women on career issues, I advise professional women to ignore what you see on TV, and do not reveal décolletage at work. Similarly, no skirts that are so short you create Basic Instinct fantasies in the nearest male brain. Unless you’re working for Playboy, or trolling for Mr. Big, save the sexy clothes for after-work events,” said Tia Young, founder and director of Tampa Etiquette Academy/Tia Young Image & Etiquette agrees.

“Too sexy for work means her outfit is too tight, too short, to low-cut, too see-thru for a professional setting. Even when there are no men around,” says Young.

Also skip the heavy makeup and the super high heels. “Context is everything [in the office]. If you are wearing the highest pair of heels in your office, then you’re wearing the wrong shoes,” says Goldman.

Dressing too sexy may also interfere with you — and others in the office — getting work done. And negatively affect your career path. “It undermines a woman’s work; it’s a distraction and it can be career limiting. Even for women who see short-term gain with male colleagues, that gain is only short term and it can be a big turn-off for female colleagues,” notes personal branding consultant Kailei Carr. In fact, a survey commissioned by Canadian reality show “Dragons’ Den” entrepreneur Peter Jones, of 3,000 managers found that almost half of bosses had passed over a woman for promotion if she had regularly worn low-cut tops.

Also dressing too sexy at work just isn’t practical. “It is a disadvantage for women to be too sexy when it comes to being busy because she will constantly have to readjust her outfit,” Young points out.

Sometimes you may have to play down your natural sexuality. “Women who have a body that is perceived naturally sexy can downplay this by avoiding close-fitting or revealing clothing. That’s not to say that they have to dress like a nun, but they should be particularly careful to not draw attention to the areas of their body that may be perceived as sexy,” explains Carr.

Dress strategically. “Well-endowed women should avoid low-cut shirts, wear camisoles under V-neck shirts or dresses and wear brighter colors and patterns on their bottom half,” suggests Carr. The general rule is never show more than one inch of cleavage.

“Women who have larger hips and rear ends should wear brighter colors and patterns on their top half, wear a-line skirts versus closer fitting pencil skirts and make sure hem lines are not too short,” continues Carr.

And if you are tempted to use your sexiness to get ahead, don’t. “Women should never resort to being sexy in order to advance their career,” says Carr emphatically. “They should focus on the quality of their work and maintain a polished and professional personal style at the office.”

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