Does Appropriate Cleavage Vary by Profession?

Although it’s a funny picture, the question is serious…

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…

3 Responses to Does Appropriate Cleavage Vary by Profession?

  1. It depends on the business… I think that as long as your clothing doesn’t look like you should be hitting the beach or night club I think little cleavage is fine. I just can’t believe that it was a man that brought this to your attention.

    • It is extremely interesting that men would be complaining, don’t you think? He has since commented on 2 other women too. They are both in their 20’s and very attractive. He is in his 60’s and about to retire. I can’t decide if it’s a generational thing? Or just his own personal comfort level. He is very active in his church and it surprises me that he would even be looking enough to notice….

      I have seen decided trends depending on industry though. I am pretty certain the tolerance and expectation of business wardrobe is dependent on area of the country and profession.

Leave a reply

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On PinterestVisit Us On Google Plus