Why I won’t be working at the Bank of England

“Look professional, not fashionable; be careful with perfume; always wear a heel of some sort — maximum 2 inches; always wear some sort of makeup — even if it’s just lipstick.” Shoes and skirt must be the same color. No-no’s include ankle chains — “professional, but not the one you want to be associated with;” white high heels; overstuffed handbags; an overload of rings, and double-pierced ears.

It would just be too hard to find shoes to go with my pinstripe suit. (Though the some makeup, any makeup rule might be fun to follow.)


Thanks, Jender-Parents. For more, go here.

11 thoughts on “Why I won’t be working at the Bank of England

  1. Boy…. would I LOVE to get hold of a copy of that memo and then sue their beeping beeps!
    Oh wait, I am not British. Would be hard, but this is so beeping sexist!

    I wonder what the dress code for men is, being overweight and make bad knots in your ties?


  2. Ergh. From that article, Heg:

    But Pippa Rees, director of Naked Ambition Personal Branding Consultants, and a member of the Federation of Image Consultants, said: “How you dress can make you have more authority and command more respect. Women struggle with what to wear for business and formal wear, and image consultants can make women aware of how clothes can add to their credibility, and how they can diminish it.

    “If you are a banker, a lawyer or an accountant you are a professional, and your client will expect you to look like one. A pilot’s uniform denotes his ability to do the job, and professional dress does the same,” said Ms Rees.

    Ms Rees wants me to what, get a pinstriped suit and a tie?

    I do not OWN high heels, let alone in colours of my skirts (either of them). I don’t wear skirts to work (or at all, actually). I have very short hair, undyed with grey strands. I often ride my motorbike to work. I bloody well am a professional and I do NOT pour coffee at meetings. I seldom wear make up, if I do, it’s some facial powder in order to avoid the questions whether I am ill.
    And no, I am not ugly (and no, that would not matter, but I am making a point that I look good AS IS), I am not lacking in elegance, and I sure as beep am not lacking in my professional skills.
    Ye gads.

    Years back (10?), when I was still in IT, I had a job interview at one of the biggies, and dressed up nicely in my best jeans and a blouse and jacket… had a nice conversation with the girl, she was my age, it was a friday afternoon… and then she said, well, you would only be able to dress like this here on the last friday of the month… and then I had to ask her to explain. I was dressed too casual, “of course”.

    Fashion. Ack. I still have that blouse and jacket, actually, and they are still timeless. Very sustainable stuff, very wearable. To beep with fashion, when I think stuff looks nice, I will wear it.

  3. Aside from the simple appallingness (word?) of it, I find it very weird.
    No white shoes? Too … nurse-like?
    ‘Be careful’ with perfume? Like, don’t spray it on others?
    Skirts and shoes must match in color? Does this rule out white skirts? (How about purple skirts?)
    Just any old kind of make-up?
    And, I just love the distinction between ‘professional’ and ‘fashionable.’
    Besides, who wears heels – even 2 inch heels – after an ice-storm?

    Just bizarre.

  4. point of information:
    In England, specifically the south/London area white heels are associated with … having loose sexual morals.
    … along with “ankle chains — ‘professional, but not the one you want to be associated with;”

    Nice to know that the bank is subscribing to the idea that sex workers have a dress code…

    when I was 12 the rumour was that if you wore red nail varnish and people could see your bra strap you were a prostitute…

  5. hippocampa, I know what you mean!

    I do own one pair of heels that I break out for super-special events, but I would never wear them on a daily basis; they hurt. Sorry, I refuse to wear shoes that leave me in pain ever day. I wear flats most of the time, and my pants and shoes are rarely the same color.

    I didn’t even wear makeup to Christmas dinner; I’m sure not going to get up earlier to put it on every morning for my job.

    I’m just waiting for someone to tell me at my office that I need to shave my legs. Of course, if that happened, I’d just switch to pants every day (and then sue).

  6. Ah so glad that we’re only supposed to look like professionals! It would be too much to actually treat us like professionals. Or, goddess forbid, for the guys in banking to actually act professionally. You know, not loose gazillions… As far as I know, that high-flyer, destroy-the-world-economy club is men-only… I guess we weren’t wearing enough lipstick and thus didn’t make it into that club.

  7. I think there’s some more serious issues here. Many women work in fields where they have little control over the requirements for dress (or if not requirements exactly, then expectations). I work at an urban commuter university and my students tell me similar horror stories about requirements to wear makeup, stockings, etc. We are lucky to get away with fewer such expectations at universities but even there, some people must “dress for success,” e.g., female deans, presidents, vice-presidents, etc. It is fine to speak about lawsuits but the situation for students, at least, is that they need the job, pure and simple, and have no resources to hire a lawyer, let alone time to let a lawsuit run its course. The realities of the work environment are that many people (not just women) have personal freedoms curtailed. For what it’s worth, my banker father hated wearing a tie all those years. I’ve worn ties from time to time in my more cross-dressing moments and they are damned uncomfortable.
    As for the perfume, I’m a fan of it myself, but if you have ever sat at a meeting near someone drenched in “Angel” you will know what is meant by being “careful” about it. I might feel the same way about other personal odors too by the way but I guess we just all struggle by and try to deal with those as best we can. I have some colleagues who could easily stand to shower more frequently and sometimes imagine leaving anonymous notes in their boxes…

  8. In a slightly missing-the-point way, is anyone else perplexed by the “always wear some sort of makeup — even if it’s just lipstick” comment? /Just/ lipstick, even a neutral colour, with no other make-up at all tends to look a bit odd (IMHO, etc, etc). “Always wear some sort of makeup — even if it’s just /mascara/ or lipbalm” I could understand, but lipstick?

    Definitely agree that that would be a fun rule to follow… Today I am mostly emulating Siouxie Sioux circa 1980. Tomorrow I shall go for Robert Smith, and Wednesday will be a Barbara Cartland day…

    (and woo am I glad that I have treble-pierced ears. No tasteless double-piercings for me…)

    I also wondered whether it was a typo & shoes and bags were supposed to match, but I guess that’s just far too sensible.

Comments are closed.