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Several months ago a friend asked me about jersey dresses. Jersey dresses can be great because most of them will glide over your body and hide many flaws. But this is not true of all jersey dresses. The first thing you need to do is make sure it isn’t too tight. If we can see the cellulite on your hips, your dress is too small. If we can see bulging lines across your back where your bra strap is, your dress is too small. If the hem hits your mid-calf, it is probably too long. If you like it long, remember to wear a neutral shoe to minimize the impact of the hemline hitting you at the widest part of your leg.

The reason this came up now was I was reading an on-line post about what to wear to work. The dress on the left as considered appropriate for the corner office. I have no idea who the designer is or where to buy it, but I have to disagree about it’s work appropriateness! While it is a jersey dress, the neckline is way to low for any office environment. I can see the swell of the breast. That’s beyond cleavage. Plus, a wrap dress is great while you are standing. But sit down and the wrap often gaps, showing more of the chest area than before–unless it is stitched down in that area. Even if this one were stitched, it is so low that it would gap no matter what. Showing cleavage in the workplace is not professional. Showing the swell of the breast in the work place is just wrong!


The dress on the right is also a jersey dress. This one is from Nordstrom’s. I bet you can already see how much more professional this dress is. Not only is the neckline much higher, but the color is a power color. This woman will be noticed the minute she walk in the room, but in a good way. The dress compliments her female shape without pushing it in your face. The rushing on the side helps when you have a bit of imperfections across your midsection (who doesn’t?).

I also need to mention that both of these dresses are just a bit too short for the work environment if you are striving for the corner office. I would have kept them at the knee–right across the center of the kneecap. Remember, when you sit down, the dress will likely ride up. What started out as two inches above the knee will end up to be four inches above the knee. Now we are talking bedroom rather than boardroom.

May you always look great!


We recently discussed day dresses and following are some guidelines for keeping them professional:

  • Length: Make sure it is no shorter than 2″ above your knees. Anything shorter is distracting in the workplace, no matter what your age. When sitting or reaching for things, your skirt will become even shorter! On the other end of the spectrum, maxi dresses are not appropriate for the office because they are likely to get caught under the wheels of your office chair.
  • Neckline: Whether its a dress or a blouse, the rule is still the same–no cleavage. Make sure that cleavage isn’t showing when you are bending over, either. Practice in front of the mirror to make sure. A camisole goes a long way.
  • Sleeves: While sleeveless isn’t forbidden, it isn’t as professional as a dress with sleeves. Sleeveless dresses with a blazer allow you to remove the blazer when not meeting with clients.
  • Slips: Yes, you need a slip. Slips allow the skirting material to fall smoothly over your hips. They are a must if your skirt is lightweight because in the sunlight light-weight fabric will appear more sheer. In the colder weather, a skirt will help to keep static cling under control. Make sure the slip is approximately 2″ shorter than the skirt of the dress. Pickup a neutral color and you can feel confident it will work with just about any skirt.
  • Hosiery: If the weather is warm and you’re legs aren’t a distraction, you can go without. When in doubt, wear hosiery. A rule of thumb about when to wear hosiery or not: If you are wearing a coat, it is cold enough to wear hosiery. Nude hosiery is the most formal and professional. If you decide to wear colored stockings, they should match the color of your shoes and the hem of your skirt to elongate the leg line as much as possible. Textured hosiery can be distracting and are generally more casual (see related post from Fall 2010).

May you always look great!

Pat Roland, CTIC

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