Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Dumb dresscode dilemma...

I need to do something to take my mind of canine cancer.  I found an article this morning that I posted on Facebook.  It has generated some discussion, so I'm going to write about it here.

Meet Sylva Stoel of Sioux Falls, South Dakota (try saying that three times fast).  She's seventeen, slim, and stylin'.  And while she used to have a job at J.C. Penney, she no longer does.  After just two weeks on the job, she quit on the spot when her boss reprimanded her for dressing inappropriately.

If you click the link above, you can see the outfit she was wearing.  It's a sleeveless, low cut blue top and a pair of red linen shorts with flip flop sandals.  While I probably wouldn't have chosen to wear the red and blue together the way she did, I will say that she has a cute figure and the outfit looks okay on her.  With her very blonde hair, she has sort of a primary color theme going on.  It looks like something she could wear while out with her friends or something.  For work at J.C. Penney's?  Not so much.

The kicker is, Sylva says she bought the shorts in J.C. Penney's career style section.  So, if the shorts were, in fact, in the right section of the store, someone on Penney's fashion buyer team apparently thinks they look professional enough to wear on the job.  Sylva also claims that no one told her the shorts were against the dress code.

After quitting her job, Sylva took to Twitter, where she called out her former employer for its "body shaming" policies.  She says she agrees with some dress codes, ones that aren't "gender specific".  But she's tired of policies that target women.  J.C. Penney, for its part, says that shorts of any length are forbidden for both male and female associates.

Here's the thing.  I get that a lot of younger folks today think dress codes are oppressive and sexist.  I have seen the memes about not sexualizing female bodies.  If a woman wears a pair of shorts, it's for her comfort, not your viewing pleasure.  But, when you decide to work somewhere and you're in a position that puts you in contact with the public, it's perfectly reasonable for employers to put a standard on what is and what is not appropriate attire.

What Sylva is wearing clearly covers all her private parts.  It even looks nice on her.  She could probably do her job wearing that outfit.  But it doesn't represent J.C. Penney's corporate image.  I'm sure you could find a lot of clothing in their career wear section that might be alright in some work settings.  What matters is what your employer deems appropriate.

Some of my friends think Sylva may be trying for fifteen minutes of fame.  That may be true.  She claims to be a feminist and this may have just been a stunt to get her name out there in feminist circles.  Maybe she wants to be a lobbyist or something.  Actually, for her sake, I hope that's the deal.  Putting her name out there on social media could have negative consequences if future potential employers look her up.

I made the comment that, back when I was seventeen, if someone made a wardrobe error like this one, they'd just go home and change and modify their work wardrobe habits accordingly.  I think many of today's youngsters seem to think they have the right to buck authority at all costs.  And maybe they do.  Some of them may not understand the longterm repercussions that can come from being too outspoken.  You absolutely have the right to free speech and expression.  Just understand that there may be unintended and unforeseen consequences to the things you say and do.  In a year or two, Sylva may not want this to be the hill she died on.  On the other hand, one would hope this kind of thing would blow over by then-- but then, since we have social media and prospective bosses feel free to check it out, maybe not.

Damn, I sound like a crotchety old hag.  As an aside, the woman presenting this story on The Today Show ought to get in trouble for violating the dress code.  She's wearing a floral sleeveless dress with a hideous black criss cross strap thing across her chest and around her waist.  It looks like she's wearing an X4 seatbelt.


  1. If I were at J.C.penney and needed help, I wouldn't approach the young woman in shorts assuming she worked there. yu can never be certain who's am emmployee in a situation where they don't wear uniforms, but she looks under-dressed for her job. That's just my opinion, but if I were J.C. Penney, that would not be the look I wanted my sles forcwe to present. I'm conaservative for my age in some regards.

    i'm inclinced to agree with the segment of your friends who thnk the person may be looking for her 15 minutes of fame. i'm not totally sure what's so newsworthy anout this story. it doesn't seem that the company is beng sexist or antying-ist. It just seems that they have a dress standard they expect employees to maintain.

    i agree with you that the yong woman may not be doing herslef any favors in terms of future employment. In this age of social media, it's so easy to type a name into a search engine and see what pops up. Depending on the position I was looking to fill, i wouldn't consider it a plus in a potentil employee that he or she made a public issue over such an inconsequential matter. as you stated, in earlier days, a person might have simply gone home and switched to another outfit.

    1. Well, she's an idiot. She may someday see the error of her ways.


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