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Noticeable Necklines

A few days ago at work, a few of my co-workers and I somehow found ourselves in the midst of a conversation regarding a somewhat tricky subject: Cleavage– specifically the level of visible skin that can be shown before it starts to look trashy.

Since I work with both men and women, the responses were quite varied, leaving us with quite the cleavage conundrum.

Some people were of the opinion that none is the only appropriate amount, while others either didn’t care, or were all for plunging necklines and a little extra skin.

My opinion was somewhere in the middle, as while I don’t mind playing up some of my natural assets, there are times when I feel uncomfortable or have strange vibes from certain people. It’s a complete double standard that I don’t mind certain people who I view as harmless being able to get a free peek of sorts, but then take offense when others seem to let a glance linger for just a few seconds too long, making me wish I had worn a turtleneck.

While trying to voice my thoughts on the matter I was interrupted by a co-worker that wasn’t part of the original discussion, but who felt it was necessary to point out that most of the time no matter what I do or wear to work, somehow I always manage to wind up straddling the line of what is acceptable in the workplace and what is potentially questionable.

Until she pointed that little tidbit out, I didn’t realize that I was even in the area of the visible skin danger zone, and made a note to be more cautious in choosing my shirts going forward. At least for work, since the idea of making someone uncomfortable in the workplace or potentially being reprimanded is not something I’d want to happen ever. Even outside of work, I try to dress pretty conservatively and wear what is appropriate for whatever situation I’m being presented with, but there have been occasions in the past where I’ve gone a little (or a lot) outside of my comfort zone.

Since my co-workers and I weren’t really able to come up with a good rule of thumb for what is an acceptable amount for either the workplace or for going out/leisure time, I thought it might be a good topic to discuss and see what all 2 of my regular readers have to say on this matter.

If you have any thoughts on this topic, go ahead and leave them in the comments, or feel free to say no and remain silent– the choice is up to you.


Responses (7)

  1. Joe Babbitt says:

    I don’t know that as a single straight guy my opinion has a lot of viability, but I think there are more facets to the question than “trashy or not trashy” A lot of this has to do with how the person carries themselves, any existing reputation (in the case of people familiar), general socioclimate of the environment, etc.

    It’s also tricky discussion topic because of the social contract we have in America. You (not you specific you, the royal feminine you) may sometimes wear that because you feel it is flattering, looks good, etc. I may agree with you, but showing physical signs of approval (looking) or vocal affirmation (compliments) runs a very high risk of painting me as a creep. Appreciation of cleavage is not something unique to creeps, but that’s the culture we live in. You’re allowed to show it, I’m allowed to like you showing it, so long as neither of us ever acknowledges it in any way.

    I’m flattered that this post borrowed schticks from both Jamey and I 🙂

    • Katy says:

      Joe- Thanks for some insight from the male perspective, and you’re right that there are more facets to this topic than simply trashy/not trashy. The line “You’re allowed to show it, I’m allowed to like you showing it, so long as neither of us ever acknowledges it in any way” is a really great way to describe how everyone reacts/approaches the whole cleavage situation.

      I was wondering if anyone would pick up on those 2 little borrowed schticks– yours reflects how I feel about my “audience” somedays, and Jamey’s was too perfect for the timing to resist not trying out.

  2. Sarah says:

    Some friends and I were just talking about this the other day! In addition to the issues you mentioned, we also realized that there’s a huge double standard in effect:

    If you put the same shirt with the same neckline on a busty woman and on a less-endowed woman, the busty woman will be perceived as the more trampy of the two every time. Why does Deedee Doubledee get labeled as a floozy while Abigail A-cup can flash all the sternum she pleases with impunity?

    • Katy says:

      Sarah- That’s a great point about the perception people have about women wearing the same thing, but with different figures and therefore different results. I don’t think I’ve ever been labeled a floozy when wearing a low-cut top, but that’s always something in the back of my mind when selecting what to wear. Like most double standards, this one isn’t really fair to the women on either side, and I know I’ve been guilty of silently judging other women just for showing what I considered to be an excess of cleavage (and at the time was probably guilty of a similar infraction, too).

  3. Chelly says:

    I say: wear what you feel comfortable in. And anyone who doesn’t like it can go fuck themselves. ^.*

    • joe says:

      I like the cut of your jib, Chelly

    • Katy says:

      Chelly- As always, the simplicity and eloquence you convey amazes me. 🙂 Feeling comfortable in what you are wearing is key though. A woman who is carrying herself well might be able to get away with showing off more, and probably either won’t care what others think or will receive less flack as a result of being confident and comfortable.

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