Two pop into mind IMMEDIATELY the minute I thought about this question.
The first is cultural and a product of my Millennial age….
ATHLEISURE / CASUAL WEAR
I wrote a whole post on this: Why does everyone keep asking me why I’m dressed up?
For instance I prefer flat ballet shoes over wearing sneakers (although I own a very cool pair I have to break out and wear more often).
I cannot wear sweat-anything outside in public unless the occasion SAYS to wear it (yoga means yoga wear, a cottage or camping trip means sweatpants, not that I have EVER been camping in my life, if I am to be honest with you… bugs, the hard ground, cold weather, nature in your face…none of that appeals to me).
Even in college, I did not own a single pair of sweatpants. I just .. don’t. I can’t explain it.
Even today, I own 2 pairs of sweatpants and 1 sweatshirt for home lounging. I do own other nicer sweatshirts (fashion-y ones) to wear out with jeans and jewellery but that’s about it.
“PROFESSIONAL” WOMAN WHO WEARS ONLY NEUTRALS & MANLY ITEMS
I prefer wearing dresses over pants (although jeans are my ultimate if I could wear them to work).
I like colour and feminine cuts, pointy-heels, and I find that in my area from what I can see, “professional” women seem to shy away from all of that.
NO ONE WEARS PINK WHERE I WORK. I am the ONLY one rocking pink and purple.
They wear terrible, boxy-cut suits, or look like Professional Librarian or Schoolmarm, or the fits are all wrong — skirt too short, but the jacket comes down to half of their bum.
It’s just all wrong for me.
I wear wrap dresses, sheath dresses, nothing above the knee, flat shoes (used to wear heels but there’s too much click-clacking where I work now), and I like being PRETTY.
I feel like in my male-dominated industry, I am standing out if I am dressing like a woman for whatever reason you can imagine – too feminine, too pretty, not “professional” if I am not in clunky rubber shoes, chinos and a polo shirt or a button-up shirt.. and that all comes with wearing makeup as well.
Such a terrible set of waters to navigate.
They either think you’re dumb because you like to be pretty and look stereotypically feminine, or they think you’re unprofessional because you enjoy wearing colours other than black, navy and white.
I have ignored all of that in my career, and thus far, it has worked out for me, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get indirectly hassled for it — I have to work twice as hard to prove otherwise.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
The entire series can be found here: Women in Clothes Style & Fashion Survey