ERIC Number: ED253909
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Apr-4
Reference Count: 0
Gender Significance of Dress in the Organizational Setting.
Patton, Eleanor Nyquist; Patton, Bobby R.
Which, when, and how elements of a fashion are adopted by a particular person or group are indicators of how that person or group is viewed by others within their society. For men who have worked in business and commerce, the clothing has changed little since the rise of the commercial middle class. The business suit remains unaltered because its very stability of form suggests a stability of the business world. When women in greater numbers entered business jobs and after the rule books about women's professional dress were published, the suit became the most important part of the wardrobe. In general, women's clothing has tended to be much more idiosyncratic than men's. While it reflected a general style of the community, it also had more leeway to reflect the individuality of the wearer. Although the skirted suit helped to blend the professional woman with the professional man on a visual level, the wives and daughters of these professional men are changing wardrobes to new alternatives, thus making the women coworkers dressed in this professional uniform appear dowdy and, consequently, less attractive. A woman's dressing for business is an enormous balancing act. She can easily be criticized for being unfeminine or criticized for being dressed "unprofessionally." Since clothing symbols convey visually the structure of the whole society and bespeak the human social order, a further exploration into the rules that govern this nonverbal system seem to be a valuable topic for further exploration. (HOD)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Central States Speech Association (Indianapolis, IN, April 4-6, 1985).