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A Published Dress Code Is Dressed Down in Furor

by Edward ODaniel / September 7, 2006 8:57 AM PDT

Office of Special Counsel Retreats From Sartorial Rules

By Elizabeth Williamson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 7, 2006; Page A25

For the U.S. Office of Special Counsel -- charged with protecting federal workers and whistle-blowers from illegal treatment -- it seemed an effort to protect its own employees from crimes of fashion.

Last month, the agency devoted part of its employee newsletter to "Business Casual" do's and don'ts. Tight pants, short skirts and long fingernails are out; khaki trousers -- for everyone! -- are in. Any among the 100-plus staff of lawyers and investigators who have spent their careers blind to the sartorial signals of official Washington were told: "You are not trying to stand out for the cutting edge look, but for your good judgment."

What is wonderous to behold is that the same ones who would be offended if remarks were made to them about inadvertent displays got offended at advice to avoid such:

was the advice that women avoid tight pants and, "before choosing a skirt to wear, sit down in it facing a mirror."

"You couldn't help but laugh when you saw it. But then people took it more seriously and became offended and insulted," said an office investigator who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. "This came through our boss. How is that going to make us feel?"

Indeed, how would it make them feel? Better or worse than another employee or visitor saying "I see you are wearing a G-string again today."

Some people would complain about being hung with a rotten rope!
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