Recently an older male employee of mine complained that one of our younger staff was showing too much cleavage. I had never noticed her attire was an issue, and trust me, she is no Dolly Parton!
But because of the complaint, we brought it up in her review as something she needed to change. She was fine with it and adjusted her tops; however, I keep wondering if she were in a different industry – would it have been an issue?
Does Acceptable Cleavage Vary by Job Type?
We work in an engineering office with about 50 employees and 7 owners – 5 men and 2 women. All owners are over 50. The two female owners wear very loose fitting clothing and are not fashion trend setters by any stretch of the imagination. The men are all in dockers and polos on business casual days and no shirt is ever untucked. Granted, no one is ever in a tie either.
My parents both sold real estate and I got to thinking about the people that they worked with in their respective offices. Cleavage was much more prevalent in those real estate offices than in my engineering office.
I waited tables off and on in my teens and 20’s and there was plenty more cleavage there than I see around me today. There was even more cleavage in my high school than there is in my current office.
I don’t think my field is the worst by any means. For example, I have never seen cleavage on an attorney. Not a real life attorney anyway, TV shows are a different story all together.
So, what do you think? Is there a cleavage protocol depending on industry? A social norm that is known but unspoken? I am curious what you think…