Bankers: No (female) stimulus needed

The Bank of England teaches female employees how to not dress like hookers.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

Published February 3, 2009 11:30AM (EST)

The Bank of England has a novel plan for surviving the current economy: Telling female employees to stop dressing like sexy prostitutes. (Call it a no stimulus plan.) The bank hired on an image consultancy firm to train its lady bankers in a seminar on how to "dress for success." Lucky for us, a company memo about the seminar was leaked to WWD:

"Look professional, not fashionable; be careful with perfume; always wear a heel of some sort — maximum 2 inches; always wear some sort of makeup -- even if it’s just lipstick." Shoes and skirt must be the same color. No-no's include ankle chains — "professional, but not the one you want to be associated with;" white high heels; overstuffed handbags; an overload of rings, and double-pierced ears.

Obviously, it's discriminatory and offensive. (Are men required to wear foot-disfiguring shoes, accent their luscious lips or refrain from overstuffing their briefcases?) But, what's most interesting about the memo is that it comes amid this current financial crisis. What is the idea, here -- that women should pretty themselves in an unadorned way so as to be pleasing to male bankers' eyes without distracting them from business? Are flashy objects (rings, double-pierced ears) too dangerously prone to exciting the men at work? Is it an attempt to return to a more traditional, stable and comforting time? Or, as a colleague suggested, are these guys simply "throwback douchebags"?

My answer: E) All of the above.

Tracy Clark-Flory

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