I don’t know how to tell you this but there’s no such thing as “no dress code.” There’s always a dress code. It’s just whether you follow the public one or the one in your head.
I got my first tattoo as protection against ending up with a boring job. I was really afraid of that. At the time, which was the mid-1990s, I was unsure about what kind of work I could get with my lit crit degree. I worried that someday I might feel desperate and apply for a soulkilling job. “Soulkilling” as in a job that would require me to wear a navy suit and nude hose. The best strategy I could come up with to insure against that was a tattoo on my ankle. I got a detail from Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party. Superinsurance, right? What kind of businessy-business would hire a person who had this kind of transgression showing through her hose?
A few years later, even though I was safe in the nonprofit sector, everybody in every possible workplace in the world had a tattoo so I thought I should take it a little further. Just in case a bank presidency opened up and I forgot my values and applied for the job. I went to Cactus Tattoo and had my tiny Isis covered up with a large Jane Avril as she appeared on an 1893 poster by Toulouse-Lautrec, ecstatic, mid-sway, wearing a snake.
Jane Avril was a dancer at the Moulin Rouge. She was the only one allowed to wear red underwear instead of the standard requisite white. I don’t know if she ever wore a snake to work. If she did, I can’t imagine anyone said a word.
The Hierophant says write the code for what you want, then dress accordingly. Do that today. Do that right now.
The Hierophant is sponsored by Southern Minnesota’s reigning etiquette consultant Deenna Latus. Check out Deenna’s Etiquette and More page, and see if there’s anything you need, like a refresher course on how to eat soup during a business lunch or when it’s truly necessary to wear nude hose.
Tomorrow: The Lovers.