WiCipedia: The new normal of workwear

This week in our WiC roundup: What should we wear as we return to office?; how Sephora does things differently; who benefits most from mentors; and more.

Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor

June 4, 2021

4 Min Read
WiCipedia: The new normal of workwear

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: What should we wear as we return to office?; how Sephora does things differently; who benefits most from mentors; and more.

  • We're willing to bet that if you used to work in an office and you've been working from home during the pandemic, your work wardrobe may have gotten a bit... comfier. As offices start to reopen and workers return to in-person jobs, new anxieties will inevitably form around what to wear, The Atlantic explains – because when you're in person, the focus isn't solely on your work, it's also on how you look and present yourself, particularly for women. Back in the day, "You traditionally had men in the C-suite, and they had certain conceptions of how men and women should look. That's why there was so much concern about can you wear skirts, can you wear pants," Scott Cawood, the CEO of WorldatWork, said. But times have changed, kinda. Gender, culture and class factor into how we dress, and working from home (even with the occasional Zoom meeting) gave us the freedom to not worry about that aspect of our work lives. So how can we move forward into a new normal? The article sees a new-and-improved workwear future coming filled with "fancy sweatpants." Or you could just do what Angela Hall, an associate professor at the Michigan State University School of Human Resources and Labor Relations, suggests: "Just cover the things you want covered and call it a day." (See WiCipedia: Power Suits & the Gig Economy Pay-Gap Surprise.) Figure 1: We've seen the light... and it's dressed in sweatpants and oversized knits. (Source: Pixabay) and it's dressed in sweatpants and oversized knits.
    (Source: Pixabay)

    • Sometimes it feels like the benefits of mentorship are being shouted from the rooftops, especially for women in tech. While mentor relationships are beneficial for everyone, an interview with Janet Phan, a tech leader at PwC and founder of the nonprofit Thriving Elements, in Silicon Republic stresses that mentors are even more crucial for those who come from "disadvantaged communities." Phan's parents are Vietnamese refugees, and she knows firsthand about struggles to succeed when things aren't handed to you. She was lucky enough to find her first mentor when she was only in high school, and has had a series of mentors to help guide her career since then. She now runs a nonprofit that focuses on pairing girls from disadvantaged backgrounds with mentors. "Mentors can make all the difference in a mentee's life. They sure did for mine," Phan said. "For a woman who wants to get into tech, this could be near impossible if she isn't set up for success financially, educationally or without a mentor to guide her. Without mentors creating access and opportunities for me, I wouldn't have reached mine." (See WiCipedia: 'Damaging myths' about differences persist.)

    • While you may not think of Sephora as a tech company, as a ginormous, worldwide retailer, it's actually more techy than a lot of its Silicon Valley neighbors. Yet they do things a bit differently (to the swipe of their own lipstick, some might say...). NBC News interviewed Deborah Yeh, chief marketing officer of Sephora, to find out how the company has stuck to its inclusive, diverse ideals and how those cultural norms – which are not norms for most other companies – propelled it to the very top. Yeh discusses how rare it is to be a female Asian exec, her experience with harassment because of her race, the power of female mentors, how to "disrupt our ideas of what leadership looks like" and so much more. Check out the article to read Yeh's story of breaking through glass ceilings. (See WiCipedia: Int'l Day of the Girl & Sephora Shows the Ropes.)

    • If you're a minority in tech, you might be looking around and not seeing many people who look like you. What's the solution? Join a networking group. BuiltIn compiled a list of community groups for minorities in tech, from groups that focus on gender, sexuality, race or disability status. No one should have to be the "lonely only" at work, but until tech looks more diverse, networking groups will have to bridge the gap. (See WiCipedia: How to tackle implicit bias and the 'lonely only'.)

      — Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, Light Reading. Follow us on Twitter @LR_WiC and contact Eryn directly at [email protected].

About the Author(s)

Eryn Leavens

Special Features & Copy Editor

Eryn Leavens, who joined Light Reading in January 2015, attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago before earning her BA in creative writing and studio arts from Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass. She also completed UC Berkeley Extension's Professional Sequence in Editing.

She stumbled into tech copy editing after red-penning her way through several Bay Area book publishers, including Chronicle Books, Counterpoint Press/Soft Skull Press and Seal Press. She spends her free time lifting heavy things, growing her own food, animal wrangling and throwing bowls on the pottery wheel. She lives in Alameda, Calif., with two cats and two greyhounds.

Subscribe and receive the latest news from the industry.
Join 62,000+ members. Yes it's completely free.

You May Also Like