I did miss Emma’s point. Though I wasn’t trying to hit it. It was a completely tangential thought about a subculture and its fashion habits. After rereading my words I can see how you may have concluded that I was advocating for jeans as superior office attire. I was not. In fact, I think we agree that people should be able to wear what they want to work, assuming it doesn’t interfere with the functioning of the office.
You brought up a point that I had not considered, that many (most?) modern womens’ cut jeans are nearly as tight as spandex. That’s probably not comfortable physically or socially in leering company. I think this is the point on which you felt I was being disingenuous.
Here’s the absurd bit. Those jeans-at-work pioneers of Silicon Valley thought, or hoped, that they were overturning a pointless top-down rule about workplace dress. In reality they’ve simply substituted another, because most dress codes are not explicit codes at all; they are expectations created and enforced by tiny daily interactions. Like when Emma heard an implicit “Why?” tagged onto the end of her coworkers commenting “You look nice today.”
It would be great if women (or anyone for that matter) could wear muumuus or hijabs to work without raising any eyebrows, but I think this is equivalent to wishing that humans didn’t experience curiosity or fear. People notice something is different and they want to know why.
Lovely writing with you. I think I’m going to spend more time on this site. Thoughtful folks don’t live in every corner of the internet. =)