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Expert: Racy Workplace Attire Can Stall Careers

Office dress code illustration (CBS)

Office dress code illustration (CBS)

Marissa Bailey (CBS) Marissa Bailey
Marissa Bailey is the weekend anchor of the CBS 2 Chicago morning...
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(CBS) – Many offices have relaxed dress codes over the years, but there’s one style that women may never want to wear.

CBS 2’s Marissa Bailey explains how your wardrobe may be impacting your ability to get ahead.

Human resources consultant Elaine Varelas agrees: Your outfit could mean trouble for your career.

“Men and women are going judge you, and you want them to take you seriously. And part of what you are wearing is going to  have a huge impact on that,” she says.

One study published in the journal Psychology of Women Quarterly found the degree to which sexy attire matters depends on your job.

Women managers who wore more revealing outfits were considered less intelligent and less competent than women who dressed more conservatively.

“It paints them with that whole lack-of-serious-knowledge, lack-of-experience picture,” Varelas says.

Sexy clothing had less of an impact on the way people perceived women in positions, such as receptionists.

And another study found men were more likely to recommend female salespeople for jobs if the women showed more cleavage.

But Varelas believes certain rules should always apply.

First — ditch the super high heels.

“You can probably get away with certainly a three-inch heel for a woman … Anything higher than that really makes you wobbly,” Varelas says.

Second — look at yourself dressed up in a mirror and ask: What would you be “carrying” in an outfit like that?

“Would you be carrying a martini glass or would you be carrying a brief case? That’s going to help you identify whether you are dressed for the right occasion, the right time of day, the right circumstance,” Varelas says.

One final tip: This time of year, be careful of the holiday party. Just because it’s not in the office doesn’t give you license to go overboard.