Holy Crap, Clothing is Gendered

I’m sure that statement will come across as relatively obvious to anyone who lives in the real world—but, well, I don’t. It’s been quite a while, probably since my last appearance in youth symphony almost a year ago, that I’ve had to think about a dress code that differentiates male and female attire. But today I got an email from someone at the organization where I’ll be interning this summer, telling us that we’re required to wear business attire to work, and giving us a list of what that comprises—separately for men and for women. Of course, this isn’t particularly surprising; everyone knows that fashion dictates that men’s suits are different from women’s suits; even when women wear slacks and button-down shirts, their styles are different from men’s slacks and button-down shirts. But, well, it struck me that there we are still putting our dress codes on two lists—what is appropriate for men, and what is appropriate for women.

I don’t think my office will much care whether I wear a men’s button-down and slacks or a women’s button-down and slacks. I have both in my wardrobe. Maybe I’ll go back and forth. And if I go outside the office, if I have to go to meetings where more formal attire is required, I’ll wear women’s clothes. I don’t really dare do otherwise; it gets too complicated. But it’s still, I think, an issue worth considering.

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