Cleavage, tattoos, bare legs: Beachy looks invade the workplace

Is an office worker really “white collar” if starched shirts are nowhere to be found?

The new office dress code seems to involve plenty of decolletage, body ink and gams sans pantyhose.

In a smattering of cubicles, employees can be found wearing golf attire, flip flops, spaghetti straps and even sheer clothing. And while many co-workers say the office fashion show is off-putting, a good portion now consider the absence of pressed pantsuits to be acceptable.

So finds a new survey of more than 600 North American workers by digital media company Captivate. Nearly half of white-collar staffers said they’ve seen cleavage in the office, and 87% of senior managers say it’s distracting. More than three-quarters of such bosses also say short skirts are inappropriate.


Also not OK: short shorts and hot pants. Though rare (only 8% of workers say they’ve seen such clothing in the office), the majority of both men and women find it distasteful.

Flip-flop sandals, more popular among working women than men, also get a no vote from both genders. Same with see-through garments, which only 19% of men consider acceptable while 91% of women do not.

But the Captivate study also had some unexpected findings. More than half of workers older than 50 think bare legs are fine on the job. Employees 35 to 49 generally think tattoos — which 45% of workers report seeing in the office — are acceptable.

The majority of women don’t mind golf attire on their colleagues, an occurrence reported by 53% of workers.


A separate report last month found that the vast majority of American workers don’t think ripped jeans, strapless tops and hoodies are suitable office wear.

[UPDATED, 1:50 p.m.: Staff writers Tiffany Hsu, David Lazarus and Adam Tschorn will discuss dos and don’ts of office dressing in a Google Hangout at 3 p.m. The chat will be streamed live on]


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