Fashion engineering

Megan found a great article about Silicon Valley fashionistas. Go read it here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/05/fashion/in-silicon-valley-showing-off-their-louboutins.html?_r=1&ref=fashion

I do love this portion:

“…dressing well (and talking about it) could help erode the stereotypes that repel some women from the technology field.”

The article also quotes Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, saying:

“‘My willingness to talk about it is because I believe the way we’ll get more people into computer science and ultimately more women into computer science is by making it really clear that you can be yourself and don’t need to give up parts of yourself to succeed,” she said. “You can be into fashion and you don’t have to be the pasty white programmer with a pocket protector staying up all night.”’

I’m surprised that several of the women say they wouldn’t be taken seriously if they dressed nicely. Do you (oh technical women), feel that’s the case? I feel like I’m not taken as seriously if I dress like a schlub… but are fellow programmers and management completely opposite audiences? What do you think?

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Natalie
    Aug 03, 2012 @ 17:42:35

    I started out my software career as an intern at Unisys Corporation. During an international forum we were hosting at our office, I was complimented as a “lovely door greeter” in my suit & heels. I must have shot daggers at the man when I responded “I am presenting today.” He backpedaled on the comment fast enough. Additionally, a friend of mine at Unisys would not eat in the cafeteria. She wore lovely skirts and blouses each day, and she felt she was stared at for it. My manager at Lucent said she was propositioned by every male manager in the department. She wore fashionable dresses every day. I definitely think that, historically, male engineers have behaved less than appropriately towards well dressed female colleagues. I would also agree that, in general, you do not feel empowered to flash your style as a female engineer until you have an advanced position. Perhaps things have changed in the past 7 years since I switched to the legal industry, but I doubt it has changed that much.

    Reply

  2. Gandalf Stormcrow
    Aug 04, 2012 @ 01:38:20

    Dammit! I was just going to send you this article! You truly are a fashionista, on top of all the latest trends.

    Reply

  3. Megan
    Aug 04, 2012 @ 14:34:49

    I’m in a unit of business analysts and project managers that work very closely with IT, but are not actually a part of it, and in my unit, you can actually tell who tends to work more closely with IT vs. our internal customers by how they dress.

    I work for an insurance company, and certain areas dress much less casually than others. Those of us that work more often with those customers often dress more like them, because it does lend a certain amount of street cred. Those of us that work mostly with IT (the area of my company most likely to ignore no jeans days and get away it) are much more likely to dress down, because no one there will care.

    Reply

  4. suitejen
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 20:24:41

    I work as a video editor which is a male-dominated field. When I dress up, comments are made, and they are definitely of the antagonistic variety. I feel self-conscious, so I don’t do it. From time to time when I work in different environments and people say nice things about what I’m wearing, I always look for the hidden sarcasm, even though there is none. BTW, great idea for a blog, I like the initiative. I had an idea a while back for transforming my blog or starting a new one that I never carried through. Maybe I just need to come up with the right title. 🙂

    Reply

    • bflynn
      Aug 08, 2012 @ 14:10:50

      I’m starting to realize that not all the fashion advice women in technology (or male dominated fields) need is how to look good… it may also be “how to look good without getting harassed about it”, which is kind of a different problem.

      Reply

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