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Filtering by Tag: fashion

Lace Skirts, High-Heels, & Reclaiming Femininity in the Work Place

Christine Grey

In 2012 journalist Laura Stepp wrote an article for The Washington Post in which she labeled Millennial women as “the confident generation” and says that they are no longer the “fretting, overstressed women” of generations past. Research has shown that Millennial women have higher ambitions, better educations, better outlooks, and higher expectations for their lives. We now have a generation of women that have been raised to dream boldly, who believe that they have been equipped with the tools to achieve well-rounded lives outside of traditional female gender roles. While it has been a few years since this article was written the sentiment holds true. The new generation of women is taking on the cooperate world with every expectation of smashing the glass ceiling. They are done apologizing for their ambition or camouflaging femininity to suite male-dominated professions. Now, women are opting to suit up in their femininity, celebrating it as armor in the ongoing battle for recognition and equality. It is clear that these women refuse to sacrifice themselves and that translates into their clothing.

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"Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life"

Bill Cunningham

Clothing has long been a simultaneous form of expression and suppression for women. From the strict conservative gender normative dress codes of the ’50s and ’60s to John T. Molloy’s 1975 book “Dress for Success” which encouraged women to strip their femininity in the workplace and instead “power-dress” in more masculine styles with a larger blazer, boxier shapes, and shoulder pads. This look infamously knows as the “Power Suit” was once described by Newsweek as “exaggerated masculine style of dress”. The look was capped off with ankle-breaking heels that helped women make up for any height differences between them and their male colleagues. These trends evolved through the ’90s and early 2000’s all in a bid for women to not only rebel against the feminine dress codes once pushed on them but, to also hide their femininity in order for them to seem more equal to their male counterparts. 

Millennial women are changing this trend. Women are closer than they’ve ever been before to job equality. Though we have a long way to go, it has caused a major transition in how young women prepare themselves to face a work day. Because of social media and easy online shopping empowered women have begun to experiment with their style and they no longer feel as much pressure to conform to traditional workplace attire. Women’s workwear is no longer dictated by company dress codes and social standards. It is dictated by millennial women’s desire for high-quality staple pieces that support them, make them feel stronger, more confident, and look good on an Instagram feed.

Millennial women go after what they want. They are on more challenges every day and they want clothing that will be able to go on this ride with them. This group of women breaks through barriers and no longer feels the need to prove that women belong in the workforce. They aren’t hiding the fact that they’re women, they aren’t trying to conform to an image society is more comfortable with. Women are taking back femininity and embracing tighter silhouette, feminine patterns like lace, in their work clothing.