I am seriously jealous of my male engineering colleagues: it’s so easy for them to pick out clothing, and they never have to worry that someone will assume they aren’t an engineer because of their attire. I have decided that it is time for a serious wardrobe upgrade, and I am struggling to figure out what kind of clothes I can and should wear.
For years, I’ve been quite happy wearing jeans, sneakers and tshirts or sweaters depending on the weather. This is perfectly acceptable where I work, as there really is no dress code. Unfortunately, this more often than not has left people believing I’m a grad student, or more often, an undergrad…because that’s how a lot of them dress.
When I’ve tried to upgrade to wearing more professional clothes, I am assumed to be a secretary, except when I went to a conference recently. At the conference, I was a grad student again.
This leaves me in a quandry. The typical outfit for men that screams, “I am an engineer!” is the dress slacks with button-down shirt. (Most of the engineers I know in person who wear this are in their 50s or later. On the other hand, none of the younger engineers who have chosen to dress differently get confused with admin staff.) But what do women wear? Is there anything that women can wear to differentiate their role in an organization? Or shall we always continue to be confused with students and admin staff?
Maybe I just need spectacles?