For Women - 3 Tips - Dressing for Divorce in the Workplace
While your personal life is undergoing a major overhaul, take precautions to protect your career and reputation at work. Business Transition
Once the word gets out in the workplace that you are getting a divorce, all eyes will be on you. Casual water-cooler conversations become awkward and uncomfortable, and a simple, ‘let’s get lunch’ carries implied overtones of, ‘let’s have a deep conversation about how you are really doing’.
While your personal life is undergoing a major overhaul, you may want to believe your work environment will provide safety, stability and normality. Unfortunately, while you may wish this to be the case, typically that dream will be blown apart in a matter of days. As soon as word leaks, everyone – men and women – will look at you and think about you in a way they have never have before. Some will look at you as a possible sexual opportunity, others a potential threat. Your manager may be worried that your work performance will suffer or that your client interaction might be compromised. Others enjoy having new gossip which diverts the conversation from themselves. Take precautions to protect your career and reputation.
Until your divorce is final, anything can happen. One misstep can derail the entire process. Prevent misinterpretations and behave well. As unpopular as this may be, experience has shown that prudence has a place during the divorce process. Failure to acknowledge the impact of personal presentation during this time may result in that oh-so-subtle whiff of impropriety, the scent of which may linger for years around the water cooler long after your divorce is settled, final and only a distant memory for you.
Stay in neutral
This is a time of new beginnings. Undoubtedly you have spent countless hours thinking about all the ways you might want to express the ‘new’ you. Be patient just a little longer – at least until the litigation is through and your office has fully acclimated to your new status. You will have the rest of your life to explore who you are and who you always wanted to be. However, until you are on the other side of the divorce process, do your best to keep your wild side in check and keep your work attire conservative. Fashion will survive one season without your contribution to the economy.
Lower your hemline
Your Ex may not have paid attention your legs, but before you share your glorious gams with your office team, think twice. Keep that LBD that aches to be worn in the closet for just a bit longer. While your legs may be aching to be appreciated, keeping your hemline to no more than 1 inch above the knee will help keep your sexuality out of office gossip. Nobody will notice if you keep your skirts to a modest length. EVERYONE will notice if your skirts ride just a little higher than they should when you sit down at your next meeting or in the break room.
Cover your neckline
That gorgeous blouse that is just a little bit low cut? Save it for that dinner out to celebrate when your divorce is finalized. If you can add a jacket or a scarf to your wardrobe, do it. If you have to choose between just a bit tight or a little loose….. do you see where I am headed? Do the lean-over test in front of the mirror. If you can lean over the sink and and see even a hint of cleavage, cover it up. You may not realize that everything you do appears a bit more suggestive during this season. People are watching to see just how you are going to change. Don’t give anyone anything negative to talk about as those comments have a way of taking on a life of their own.
There is a time to stand out and embrace your sexiness and a time to tone it down. Show off those beautiful scarves you have been keeping in the closet and learn to layer clothing in new and trendy ways that cover instead of reveal. While your heart may be saying, ‘let it go!’ your head needs to say, ‘no, no, no’.
Making a wardrobe misstep will leave you feeling as as naked as your hand without your wedding ring. Protect yourself and your reputation as you make this transition. I have never had a client regret erring on the conservative side during their divorce. I have had plenty share stories of regret over the choices they made before the time was right.
Erica McCurdy is a practicing Divorce and Business Development/Transition Coach in the Metro Atlanta Area with over 25 years of business and consulting experience. You can find out more about her divorce practice at www.McCurdyLifeCoach.com and her corporate practice at www.McCurdySolutions.com