MIAMI (CBS4) – Could the clothes you wear to work be bad for your career?

CBS4’s Vanessa Borge hit the streets to see what women were wearing to the office.  She found some women in short dresses, sky-high heels and who were showing plenty of cleavage.  While that may be appropriate for a night out on the town, it is not so good for the office setting.

So when is sexy too much for the cubicle?

“Short skirts, deep v necks, high heels,” said Donna Stewart, Director of Events at Camillus House. “You shouldn’t look like you’re going to a club.”

A study published in Psychology of Women Quarterly found that women in high-level positions who dressed in what was viewed as sexy attire judged less competent, regardless of their skill sets.

But in steamy South Florida, where being sophisticated and sexy is part of the culture, the unspoken rules are still the same. Clothes could cost you your job, according to Ricky Arriola, CEO of Inktel.

“First impressions count for a lot. It will greatly affect whether you get a position here or not,” said Arriola.

And if you think that isn’t fair, Stewart feels differently.

“You are judged by what you wear, fairly or not,” said Stewart. “You need to have a professional reflection.”

For an appropriate business look, the styling staff from Neiman Marcus at Bal Harbour have a few suggestions.  Women should consider knee length dresses, thicker straps on blouses or dresses and closed shoes with no more than two or three inches of heel.

“I think your clothes speak for you even when you’re not talking,” said Stewart.

Fashion slip ups at the office aren’t limited to the U.S. A 2011 poll of men and women in the United Kingdom found that more than half of workers said that women wore inappropriate attire to work.


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