wearing the same dress the first 100 days of a new job, disinviting coworkers from my wedding, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. Can I wear the same dress for the first 100 days of my new job?

My new job is clashing with my long planned “100 Day Dress” attempt (as part of a sustainability challenge). How weird would it be to wear the same thing (differently accessorised!) for the first three months of my new job?

Agggh. If you were a man, no one would notice. Assuming you’re a woman … it’s tricky with a new job. Of course you should be able to do anything a man can get away with. In reality, though, as we all know, consequences can be different for women.

With a new job, because people don’t know you yet, anything you do can take on outsized importance, and you risk wearing the same dress every day being more noticed and becoming the thing you’re known for before you’re known for your work (in a way that it likely wouldn’t if you had worked there for longer first). To be clear, this sucks. If you’re look professional and are and complying with the office dress code, it shouldn’t matter if you wear the same (clean) outfit every day. But in a lot of offices, a new person doing this would come across strangely. It might not in yours. And maybe you don’t care, which is fully your prerogative. But if you do care, I’d say the first month of a new job isn’t the ideal time for it.

2. Candidate wants an out-of-hours job interview

Recently, we hired a new team member and one of the shortlisted candidates has asked for the interview to be outside of standard office hours (they didn’t offer a reason for this). The role was an office job with usual hours. I understand that people may have difficulty interviewing around an existing job but I thought the accepted thing to do was take time off rather than make it a prospective employer’s problem. In the end, the candidate withdrew their application the next day for unrelated reasons so we never needed to make a decision.

An early morning or evening interview seems like an unreasonable ask to me, but in light of your recent post about staff/applicants taking back power, I wondered if this type of request might be related to that shifting balance, and therefore could become more common. Are out-of-hours interviews something we should accommodate or even offer where possible, or is this kind of request a warning sign about a candidate?

I do think it’s a sign of shifting power — when applicants have lots of options, they’re more likely to ask for things they need to make your hiring process more convenient for them (just as employers have always been willing to do on their side).

That doesn’t mean you need to do interviews outside of business hours if you have plenty of good candidates who can interview at the hours you offer (although I’d make an exception for anyone who’s truly exceptional). But don’t hold it against the candidate for asking; norms are changing, and more candidates are approaching interviews as an equal partner rather than a subservient one (and that’s a good thing).

3. Can I ask my coworker to stop sighing?

A new person joined my team a couple months ago, and seems to be constantly sighing, groaning, and just generally making little noises throughout the day. It’s at a noise level and tone where with anyone else, I would assume they want help or are just about to ask a question to the group – but anytime someone asks if he’s okay or if he needs help, he says no. I know I’m not the only one bothered, but I think I may be the one most annoyed because I’m the only one who can’t wear headphones for 80% of the day (I have some extra job duties that require at least one ear available at all times).

His three-month general review is coming up, and I know I’ll be asked for feedback. Would it be weird if I brought up to our supervisor that his subconscious noises are distracting the team? Would it be weird if I brought it up privately myself? Any suggested phrasing would be appreciated.

Say something to him directly! He might have no idea he’s doing it or how it’s coming across. I’d say it this way: “You keep sighing and making noises like something is wrong. Is everything okay?” (It sounds like you’ve asked the second part of that, but it’s the first piece that might nudge him into more awareness.) If he again says no, you could say, “If it’s something you can control, I’d be grateful — it can get distracting.”

If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work … but it’s reasonable to try. As for whether to bring it up to your boss at that point when she invites feedback, it depends on how distracting and unusual the noise level is. If it’s annoying but ultimately manageable, I’d lean toward no. But if it’s really disrupting you and preventing you from focusing, it makes more sense to raise it. (I’d keep it to the impact on you, though, rather than trying to speak for others.)

4. Do I still need to invite my former coworkers to my wedding?

I was recently terminated from a job for the first time ever. This firing was so out of the blue, I only found out I was being fired when I was attempting to log into my email and do some extra work after hours and found out my passwords had been changed. When I attempted to get in touch with my manager as I assumed my accounts had been hacked, that’s when I received a text message from him letting me go. I’d never even been written up before and was one week away from my first annual review — and was a little over a month into a promotion. But I had recently been calling out some shady dealings that I had noticed, so I guess I should’ve seen the writing on the wall there.

I get it’s an at-will state and I have no real recourse, but regardless I am hurt and also now a little bit screwed. To make matters worse, I’m getting married in a few months and I’d already sent out save the dates to all my coworkers a while back. When I told them I’d been let go, their reactions ran the gamut from Extremely Supportive to Radio Silence, but I don’t keep in touch with any of them now. I only worked at this place for a year and honestly thinking about it still makes me spiral even though I was let go over a month ago.

I have felt very confident reaching out to my network and getting back on the job market, but I don’t know what to do in this situation. I know you’re not Miss Manners, but this was my first full-time job out of school, so I’m not totally confident in workplace norms yet, and obviously this has rattled my confidence completely. Do I still have to invite my former coworkers to the wedding?

You do not still have to invite your former coworkers to the wedding.

As a general etiquette rule, once you send save-the-dates you’re usually then obligated to invite those people to the wedding; you’ve asked them to hold that date for you, after all. But there are exceptions to that rule (like a serious falling-out or a scaled back wedding) and I’m going to argue that being unceremoniously fired from your job without warning or apparent cause and then getting utter silence from (some) coworkers about it qualifies as an exception.

I do think you need to update them though, so that they don’t continue to hold the date. There’s no perfect way to do that, but the easiest is probably to cite a change in plans — you’ve scaled back the wedding and unfortunately can no longer invite all the people you’d originally hoped to see there, wanted to let them know so they weren’t still holding the date, etc. People will get it.

Read an update to this letter

5. Leaving a meeting partway through

This week I was invited to a meeting that was advertised as an info session about a new process. My whole team was invited and it was optional. I decided to attend (virtually) because I thought it might be useful, but a few minutes into the meeting it became obvious that it wasn’t relevant to me. I just left the Zoom meeting so as not to waste my time, but now I’m wondering if that was rude? If it had been in-person, I can’t imagine getting up and walking out partway through an info session.

It depends on how big the meeting is. If there are 40 people there and you’re not actively participating or expected to participate, it’s a lot easier to just quietly drop off. In some cases, you might send the organizer a note letting them know, or leave a note in the chat itself, but that depends on the context.

But if it’s a small call — like, say, six people — you should say something before dropping off because it will be a lot more noticeable/disruptive if you suddenly disappear. In some cases you can be clear that you misunderstood how relevant the meeting would be to you (“Ah, you’re talking about oatmeal production — I’d thought we were going to talk about the custard campaign. In that case, let me drop off since I’ve got to clean up the groats explosion from this morning”) but if that feels rude, you can just say something like, “Apologies, I’ve got to drop off to take care of something that just came up, but I’ll follow up with Marcy about this tomorrow.”

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{ 645 comments… read them below }

  1. Fikly*

    LW2: Consider for a moment that there is a wide gulf between “something we should accommodate or even offer where possible” and “a warning sign.”

    The vast majority of candidates are not applying to only one job. They are applying to many, and if they are qualified enough you are inviting them to an interview, chances are they are also being offered other interviews. Each interview, should they have to take time off for it, adds up, and many people work for employers where that is not easy to do. They may not have any PTO for a wide variety of reasons. They may not be able to take PTO in less than a day or half day chunk.

    That the person didn’t give a reason seems to bother you, but hey, you can ask, rather than make assumptions. And then make a decision from there.

    1. learnedthehardway*

      I think it is unreasonable of companies to expect candidates to be available only during office hours. Sure, most candidates can make some time to do an interview, but some simply cannot. Not to mention, candidates are also looking at the potential employer and evaluating whether the company will accommodate their needs, as well.

      1. Elitist Semicolon*

        I don’t disagree with you, but the flip side is that the folks doing the interviews may have similar reasons for not being able to work outside standard business hours. Childcare issues immediately come to mind as one possible obstacle, and if the interviewers have multiple candidates to talk to (as they usually do), that could pose serious issues for current employees. If there are 10 good candidates and 1 of them can only interview at a time not logistically possible for someone (or multiple someones) on the hiring committee, why would it be unreasonable or inappropriate for the employer to decide not to interview them?

        1. Decidedly Me*

          This. The interviewers aren’t a company, they are people with their own schedules, lives, etc.

          1. It's Bamboo O'Clock, Tick-Tock*

            When I worked nightshift and was interviewing, I had tons of availability during the day- but it was like interviewing at 3 in the morning for me. And the interview quality reflected that!

        2. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

          > why would it be inappropriate to decide not to interview them?

          One reason is that the interviewers have a duty to get the best candidate (whatever ‘best’ looks like in their specific situation) for the company.

          1. Despachito*

            Do they?

            What is “best” is indeed situational and subjective, and it may well happen that this one thing is something the interviewers will not be willing/able to accommodate, and skip to the second best candidate.

            Which is pretty fair – at this time, both parties are deciding and weighing, and I am very glad to hear that the scales are tipping more towards the employee’s side. Because I think the employee IS, and should be, a partner rather than a humble servant whose inherent obligation is not to bother his master too much. The part of the employer feeling entitled to the reason and a bit slighted that the employee dared not to give it sounds to me quite master-y in this moment (nothing against you, OP, because I think this disbalance is quite deep ingrained in many of us, including myself).

            The employer should of course decide whether this is something they are willing to accommodate, and is within their full rights to say no, but from the position of “you want this? Unfortunately unable to do it” rather from “how dare you…?ů

          2. Asenath*

            At the point at which the decision needs to be made – before decide whether you should ask/require overtime or flexed time from your interviewers – you haven’t got enough information about any of the applicants to make a guess as to whether this one might be in running to be considered the best. Also, in many cases, there isn’t “the” best; you might easily have a number of excellent candidates, any or all of whom could be great employees, and none of which are identifiable as the best, since at that stage they all meet or the objective criteria and you’re going on more and more subjective criteria.

          3. Not So NewReader*

            So wouldn’t the best candidate NOT take time off from their job to go on job interviews?

            I have gone on interviews during work hours and the response from the potential employer was NOT good.

            The interviewer needs to figure out what the employer wants them to do. You can’t have both- an interviewee on work time and a devote employee who does not do interviews on work time.
            I’d say it’s a conversation with TPTB that may have to include figuring out how to compensate the interviewer for their extra time.

            1. Anon all day*

              Am I reading your comment correctly to mean that an interviewer scheduled you for an interview during work hours and then dinged you for agreeing, like a secret test?

              1. ScruffyInternHerder*

                Having had that happen myself, I’m reading that like this. There was a tone of “how dare you interview during the workday, you naughty girl”.

                1. Anon all day*

                  That’s just bizarre, and I think it’s one of those “secret tests” that crappy employers do where there’s no way to anticipate and/or work around them because it’s a red flag. Almost all of my interviews have been during standard business hours – the only one that wasn’t was possibility a red flag in and of itself as the employer wanted me to come in extra early because he didn’t want any of the other employees to know I was interviewing because I was going to be a replacement for one of them. I took that job, and looking back, it was definitely an indicator of his shadiness.

            2. Elitist Semicolon*

              I think the point is that “best” shouldn’t be tied to availability at all and that interviewers should not assume an unusual request is a an indicator of future performance.

              1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

                Yes sorry if it wasn’t clear- I wasn’t saying ‘best’ is linked to availability. More that in order to find the best candidate, the interviewer might need to be available at “odd” times, in order to ensure that all the suitable people are able to be interviewed – rather than rule out someone who would objectively be the best candidate just because the interviewer didn’t have an out of hours interview slot available.

              2. A. Tiskit & A. Taskit. Inc.*

                Anon All Day: That happened to me as well! I was asked to come in for an interview on a certain date because, as the interviewer explained, the employee currently holding the job was about to be fired but hadn’t yet been told. I did interview and was offered the position, but, not wanting to be treated as that on-the-chopping-block employee was, I declined to take it. And I’ve never been sorry about that decision!

                Never assume that you’re so special that an employer will treat you well when you see that they treat other employees badly.

                1. Anon all day*

                  So true!! There were a bunch of red flags in the interviewing process, but I had been looking for a job for about 6 months at that point and was getting desperate. I was just lucky because I told myself I would take the job for the experience and start looking within a year, and I was only there for 15 months before starting my current job.

            3. Observer*

              So wouldn’t the best candidate NOT take time off from their job to go on job interviews?

              Given how many companies operate, that would a reasonable assumption.

              Which is why companies really should think about how they handle requests for out of business hours interviews. I get it, it’s not always realistic. But it’s worth trying, because it really does improve your chances of making the best hire.

            4. MigraineMonth*

              “How dare you come to the interview at the time we scheduled it?” is such a weird attitude! That would be a huge red flag for me. I’d hate to see how they handled performance reviews.

              Presumably an interview wouldn’t take place “during work hours”, it would take place during hours the interviewee had (if necessary) taken off work.

          4. Just Your Everyday Crone*

            I don’t believe in the idea that there is always a “best candidate.” I’m sure sometimes one is head and shoulders above the rest, and I think in that circumstance, the company would accommodate them. But usually, IME, there are several people who all seem like they would be good at the job and sorting out which one to choose is difficult. In that instance, I wouldn’t volunteer for an after-hours interview (without a reason–a reason might change my mind). I wouldn’t hold it against the person.

        3. Eyes Kiwami*

          I thought the most common reason candidates couldn’t interview during business hours is because they are working their current job.

          Taking a ton of time off to interview at multiple companies, or stepping out for 1-2 hours only, can be difficult. It’s easier if you work or interview remotely, but if you have to physically be in both places, then you have to take PTO. It seems onerous to expect candidates to take PTO in order to interview with you, but not be willing to move their interview even slightly outside business hours to accommodate that.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Not only is stepping out difficult, (interview clothes, guessing time involved, crazy high stress, logistics) there is also an air of “want the job or NO?” to it. The employer has the bulk of the power and more resources to flex here than the potential employee will ever have.

            1. BethDH*

              There are a lot of assumptions about “more potential to flex” here. I’m on a hiring committee now that has three people with caretaker responsibilities. Should those three people have to find that degree of flexibility 10-12 times (the number in a typical set of first-round interviews for us)? That would end up making our hiring committees a lot less diverse.
              Do we do what we can to work with candidates? Absolutely, but that often has to be things besides interviewing outside standard hours (first round is virtual, and often at 8 or 5 or at lunch, for example, and we tell the interviewees a hard stop time so they know they can be on time back to their work day if needed).

              1. Observer*

                So interview at 5:00 or 8:00 can make a huge difference, right there. Also, the fact that you are trying to find other ways to reduce the burden matters.

                The real issue is not that employers cannot always accommodate the request, but that some employers won’t even TRY to meet their interviewees half way. Or they even take offense, and consider it a black mark against the candidate, whether or not something can be worked out.

            2. Cringing 24/7*

              I feel like everyone keeps talking about the “employer” being flexible – and that’s fine to say for a company when it comes to benefits or HR issues or whatnot, but the hiring managers and interviewers are *individuals* with just as many potential time constraints as interviewees. The employer may have the bulk of the power (thank goodness that’s changing some), but expecting a hiring manager who’s already short-staffed (so likely stressed – speaking from my own experience here, so somewhat biased) to then accommodate X number of outside-of-office hours interview requests from X number of candidates might not be reasonable.

              1. Cringing 24/7*

                But all that to say, I do think that if an interviewer has the space and energy to be flexible, they should very much try to be because there’s no reason to miss out on a potentially great candidate because of inflexibility.

              2. Nina*

                The employing company is generally able to throw a lot more time and effort at hiring than a job candidate can throw at any one interview. Take some tasks off the hiring manager’s plate and give them to other people while hiring is happening. Offer the hiring manager a financial incentive for doing interviews outside of working hours. If you’re too cheap for that, offer the hiring manager hour-for-hour time off when they have to do interviews outside working hours. Consider doing more interviewing virtually so candidates can slip it into a lunch break. There are rafts of options for the employer, which is neat, because the candidate’s options boil down to ‘take the time off or don’t interview’.

              3. Eyes Kiwami*

                But a company is often made of multiple individuals, who can more easily swap tasks or flex or do something than a single candidate. Sure a stressed hiring manager may struggle to find time, but maybe the recruiter(s) can do first round interviews from 6-7pm?

            3. Just Your Everyday Crone*

              I do interviews regularly and I wouldn’t want to do one outside regular hours, which is indicative of my workplace’s work-life balance. I appreciate and promote the flexibility of my workplace (encourage people to take vacations and not check their email, take sick leave and not feel like they have to work half a day just because they can manage, etc). And I am also a human who likes those things myself. If someone is sure that that’s a flex without ever having talked to any of us, I think it would be best for that person to select themselves out.

              1. EPLawyer*

                But they might be coming from somewhere that does NOT have that flexibility. I get it you want your time off. But someone might not be able to take time off during the day. They might have a toxic workplace that dings them for time off. Or they might be out of PTO. Don’t assume they are just flexing to see what they can get away with.

              2. Birb*

                Before / after hours interviews are such an expected part of every single hiring job that it is genuinely surprising to hear someone say this.

                Work life balance doesn’t mean inflexibility. Accommodating reasonable schedule requests is part of hiring. NOT being flexible to protect your “work life balance” just keeps people with less resources than you from having access to jobs with a work life balance.

                1. Cringing 24/7*

                  It’s never been expected of me in my managing/hiring jobs either from HR, corporate, or my direct supervisor, so your first sentence might be industry-specific (or mine might be).

                  I absolutely agree that if it’s possible to be flexible, one should, but I think that a lot of people are acting like hiring managers don’t do it because they don’t want to and it’s inconvenient (and for some that is the reason), but many people simply don’t have the time to extend their office hours, whether they have to drop off kids at school every day right before they get to work or have ailing parents or pets or whatnot to take care of immediately after their office hours end. The true inability to flex office hours for some interviewers is just as valid as the inability to interview *inside* of working hours for applicants.

                2. MsClaw*

                  That may be true if you are a recruiter as your primary job. But at least in my industry, it is the people you will actually be working with who perform the interviews (if we let HR/hiring people pick our staff, it would be a disaster). We do often start with a phone interview and we are happy to schedule that over a lunch break or toward the beginning/end of the day, or even after hours, to have the least impact on a candidate’s existing work schedule. But I have my own work/life obligations as does everyone else involved in the in-person interview. If we have a truly amazing seeming candidate who can only come in at 6pm, then I might be able to convince a few people to stay late and I can make alternative transportation arrangements for my kid — but that’s only going to happen if we are convinced that candidate is a must-get. And that just doesn’t happen that often.

                3. umami*

                  I’m not sure about the ‘every single hiring job’ part, we were doing hiring in the summer, when our hours were 7:30 – 5 pm, and every search committee has a diverse set of 7 people, so to have 7 people be able to be available for multiple (usually 7-10) interviews was challenging enough. Trying to schedule outside of those hours would likely not have been possible, and it certainly wasn’t expected. I had people from directors to the receptionist participating on search committees, for positions from VP to assistants, and all of these people have challenges. Not to mention those who are non-exempt, I’m not sure I could legitimately ask them to stay after-hours for an interview, but their insight for some positions we were hiring for was invaluable.

              3. Anon all day*

                Please tell me that you’ve read other comments, and you’ve considered being more flexible to interviewees who don’t have that flexibility. Please let us know that.

                1. Calliope*

                  This is a really bizarre thread. Are you all assuming that everyone who interviews people is a high up exec making huge bucks? Because they’re not. Often it’s a team including your new peers. Listen, I’m as flexible as I can be but I’m a single mom and daycare drop off is at 8:30 and pickup is at 5 sharp. If a candidate wanted to do an interview at, say, 8:30 pm when I could be basically assured that my kid would be asleep I would but it probably wouldn’t work for other people on the panel. Otherwise you can’t possibly be saying I should pay $20 for a babysitter for every candidate, are you?

                  By all means, I’ll do it at lunch or whatnot. And we usually do a phone screen and then a panel interview so it’s not like we’re doing 8 rounds. But interviewers have the same constraints as candidates.

                2. Anon all day*

                  No, of course I’m not assuming that. But there has to some acknowledgment that the levels of flexibility may differ on both sides. To just say that “I value my work-life balance, therefore I will not interview out of normal business hours” is going to ignore a large swath of candidates. There has to be some give or take on both sides. Otherwise, you can’t possibly be saying that other single mothers who are interviewing for new jobs should risk losing their current jobs if they’re not allowed to take off as needed for interviews.

                3. Calliope*

                  I am willing to be flexible as I can be but the assumption that OF COURSE the interviewer can be flexible is really weird. And it hasn’t been my experience that vast swaths of candidates ask for after hours interviews so it’s a weird hypothetical to begin with.

                4. Calliope*

                  I would say pleadingly asking someone to let you know they’ll be more flexible is making a lot of assumptions.

                5. Anon all day*

                  Considering that their initial comment was that they wanted to offer no flexibility, with the only reasoning that they themselves like having flexibility, I’m still pretty comfortable with my initial comment.

                6. Calliope*

                  Yes you’re assuming they don’t have a good reason. And somehow also assuming that the candidate who didn’t state a reason for wanting to schedule outside interview hours does.

                  Listen I will do what it to interview a good candidate and probably even would hire a babysitter if I had to on occasion. But this idea that it’s just a given that they can do that while candidates obviously can’t interview on their lunch break is dumb.

                7. Anon all day*

                  I’m not assuming anything. I’m taking them at their word that they don’t want to interview outside of business hours. As you’ve said, you are willing to have flexibility for certain candidates. They explicitly said they don’t want to do that, and the only reason why is they like having work-life balance.

          2. jm*

            very good points. additionally, no one knows the situation a prospective employee is trying to get out of. my previous boss was so incompetent everyone in my department was actively jobsearching and so mean-spirited they changed policy so we had to take PTO to interview instead of making up the time. i was lucky that multiple places, including my current job, were able to accommodate me after business hours.

          3. WillowSunstar*

            Where I work requires that we take PTO in 4 or 8 hour blocks only. So we cannot take 1-2 hours off at the end of the day for a medical appointment or an interview. If you have any medical issues, this means realistically you save most of your PTO for the medical appointments and maybe a few days for a couple of major holidays like Thanksgiving/Christmas. Therefore, it is entirely possible that given the stinginess of American companies, people might not have the extra PTO for interviews, especially if the company is unreasonably strict around using it.

            1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

              > save most of your PTO for the medical appointments

              … And then on the macro level, people with a medical condition that requires appointments etc (or just days where they aren’t well enough to work) will tend to have less PTO available for other things – such as interviews. And that then puts them at a disadvantage in the job search, especially if everyone adopted a policy like “no out of hours interviews because of work life balance!”.

        4. Cat Tree*

          Exactly. I certainly couldn’t interview outside of business hours. I guess I could try doing it at 8 p.m. after my kid goes to sleep, and just hope really hard that it’s a good day for bedtime and that she doesn’t wake up or have any needs during the interview. But I would be distracted through the whole interview which is also unfair to the candidate.

          But honestly even if I could do the interview then I don’t *want* to. Instead of interpreting it as an inflexible company, it could be a sign that work-life balance is important for the company even for managers.

        5. L-squared*

          I don’t think anyone thinks its wrong for the company/interviewers to not be able to do it, but to see it as a warning sign is ridiculous

          1. Eldritch Office Worker*

            I agree with this. There may be valid reasons an interviewer or even team of interviewers can’t accommodate off hours interviewing. That’s fine, and I think any competent hiring team would know they might lose good candidates because of it. The whole process is full of tradeoffs. But the request from the candidate is not any kind of red flag.

            1. Agile Phalanges*

              THIS is the key, I think. Candidates should be able to ASK without it being held against them, and interviewers should be able to explain that that doesn’t work for them (with maybe a brief explanation why–key person has a caregiving role, etc.). But I think it would behoove both sides to try to get a little bit creative and maybe meet in the middle.

              If it’s just a work/life balance thing for the interviewers (as a lot of folks here seem to be indicating), is their employer flexible enough to allow them to come in late on days they have interviews scheduled after normal hours? Or take an extended lunch at the very least? Schedule phone or even video screenings so you’re inconveniencing only the people you’re fairly sure at least clear the bar?

              And for candidates, if the employer says they can’t do it, try to get as flexible as possible. If your job doesn’t overlap their working hours by a small period of time, can you get off just a LITTLE early (or arrive just a LITTLE late) and claim dentist appointment?

              So many of these comments seem to be “I can’t be flexible and I have this really good reason why,” but it seems that if both parties were willing to communicate and be even a little bit flexible, most of these conflicts could be resolved without either party having to take the other off the list before even talking to see if it’s worth pursuing.

              Personal anecdote: Interviewing for my current job, my old job let me leave at 4 and the potential new company closed business at 4:30, but they were ~25 minutes apart on a good day. I asked if we could meet at 4:30, and they agreed that the interviewers could stay late, and it ended up being a very snowy and icy day so I was actually a few minutes late, but everyone understood, we met (and I did a little written test so they could confirm I knew some terminology, etc. and wasn’t totally BS-ing them), and they offered the job on the spot. I appreciate their flexibility in scheduling AND their understanding at me being a little late.

          2. Cringing 24/7*

            Yeah, that’s absolutely valid. It’s a totally reasonable ask, and shouldn’t be seen as a red flag.

          3. Observer*

            This is really the issue. You can’t do, I get it. You don’t WANT to do it, I’m rolling my eyes, but it’s not outrageous, especially if you have strong candidate pool.

            Seeing it as a red flag? You’re waaaay out in left field.

        6. Pugetkayak*

          I think that’s totally reasonable too. I think the issue with the LW assumption that this is essentially a red flag or rude. If the company cannot accommodate, that is fine and so the applicant will not be interviewed, but it certainly isn’t wrong to ask.

        7. Cat Lover*

          I’m interviewing right now- I work in a doctor’s office and we do shadowing interviews. People need to come during our business hours, and I don’t have access to the building after hours.

        8. alienor*

          It wouldn’t be unreasonable for the employer to decide not to interview them if logistical reasons made it impossible. It would be unreasonable for the employer to judge them negatively just for asking the question, which sounds like the case here.

      2. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

        Almost all of the interviews, at least first screening interviews, I have done have been outside of work hours, either earlier AM, latetish afternoon, or lunch hour. I’m not going to juggle my existing, already kind of busy work schedule, for a screening interview. Actual substantive interviews I will take time off for.

        1. Ann O'Nemity*

          I think this is perfectly fair! Most of our initial screenings are quick calls done by one person. It’s a lot easier to accommodate candidates and it’s not usually too difficult to flex hours a bit for these calls. It’s harder to accommodate off-hours interviews when it’s a late stage interview and we’re inviting multiple members of the team, a few managers, etc.

      3. Observer*

        Sure, most candidates can make some time to do an interview, but some simply cannot.

        I’m not so sure that “most” can do this. Especially people in any sort of job that has a coverage element.

        Not to mention, candidates are also looking at the potential employer and evaluating whether the company will accommodate their needs, as well

        Very much so.

      4. TootsNYC*

        I agree. I kept thinking, Am I the only person who automatically offers after-hours meetings?
        In fact, when I applied to my current job, the HR person called and suggested a time that was after hours. Other meetings were during hours, but the first contact was after hours.

        It can be inconvenient for me, but I’ve always known that the people I’m hiring can’t always just pop out for a 2-hour appointment (if you include travel time back and forth).

    2. Kiki is the Most*

      I work in an international industry that the first, if not all, interviews are held via video call, and oftentimes outside someone’s business hours due to time zones. Just suggesting a possible solution for those hiring managers that are hiring outside of local talent (or maybe this is a possibility for local hiring at times, too?). And I wholly concur that any interview time should be mutually agreed upon.

    3. Bilateralrope*

      Or the candidate might currently be working nights. 1600 is when I set my alarm to wake me up for work, so interviews during business hours are cutting into my sleep.

      Though I’m up front with why normal business hours are a problem for me so the interviewer knows why I might be a bit tired if the interview happens during business hours because there aren’t any better options

      1. NotATerribleRecruiter*

        I think this is the right move – just giving a simple reason why it would be hard for you to interview during standard business hours. I scheduled a loop recently where the candidate was in an on-site QA role with an hour commute at each end. She stated this succinctly in her email and the whole team happily accommodated, even though it meant they they to interview outside their standard business hours. Of course you don’t need to explain yourself, but I think context is helpful as a general rule not just when scheduling interviews.

        1. BethDH*

          The context can help interviewers offer suggestions the interviewee might not have thought about too. At one place I worked, we had a candidate turning down the site visit interview (site visit means they were a finalist). They kept saying it would have to be a weekend which wouldn’t work for a lot of reasons. Turned out they just couldn’t come for the length of the site visit. Once we found out we were able to schedule two shorter visits (they were close by so transportation was not an issue) but we could have done much earlier if they’d given us more info.
          It’s like reasonable accommodation—it needs to work for everyone, and may not look like what the requester expected.

    4. Cat Tree*

      That’s a good point. I’m hiring now and I wouldn’t be able to accommodate an off-hours interview, but I wouldn’t be offended by a candidate making the request.

    5. Love to WFH*

      The letter writer didn’t describe the “interview”. I’ve absolutely done phone screens out of office hours. But once past that stage, I do expect more formal interviews to be during the workday.

      I can think of two reasons:
      1) I once had a candidate who asked for a day off, and was told “If I find out that you’re interviewing, I’ll fire you.”(Fortunately, he got the job!)

      2) Intellectually, they’ve decided to get a new job. Emotionally, they can’t let go of their current one.

      1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

        The trouble with this approach (if I’ve understood correctly) is you seem to correlate “willingness to do what it takes to attend an interview during working hours” with commitment to the job. At this stage they aren’t necessarily committed to *your* job although they may well have decided to leave their current one. Yours probably isn’t the only opportunity they are pursuing. And “unable to let go of their current job” isn’t a criticism at this point (and is the wrong way to characterise it imo). I don’t think reluctance (for any number of legitimate reasons) to take off during the work day says anything about how invested they are, or should be, about the job you’re recruiting for.

      2. Riot Grrrl*

        2) Intellectually, they’ve decided to get a new job. Emotionally, they can’t let go of their current one.

        This is confusing. We’re talking about interviewing here. Why on earth should anybody be expected to “let go” of anything before they’ve received a firm offer for a better alternative?

        1. Ray Gillette*

          I can’t speak for the other poster, but early in the pandemic I had a candidate who I was really excited about drop out at the reference stage because she felt like it would be “burning bridges” to leave her current job, even though they had furloughed her. People can have strong feelings about jobs that don’t always make sense.

          1. Lydia*

            Sure, but that’s not common. I’m not letting go of my current job because I still need the paycheck and benefits. When I have an offer letter in hand and a start date, at that point I’m ready to let go, but not one moment before.

        2. sdog*

          Right, I don’t get this either. If I were to have “emotionally let go” of my last job before getting a new o new one, there would have been a LOT of things I’d have let drop. And that seems super unfair to an employer that I liked and was still being paid by. Not to mention, people have no idea how long they’ll be job hunting or if the interview will even lead to anything.

      3. ScruffyInternHerder*

        Adding 3 – don’t want to tip their hand that they’re interviewing elsewhere. Sometimes you need to know when to hold your cards close. Even if its not a direct threat of being fired, you can be aware that things are not going to be professionally pleasant if TPTB find out you’re looking at your options.

      4. Jora Malli*

        It feels weird to attribute a person’s desire to interview outside of working hours to an emotional attachment to their current job. I’m in a workgroup that’s wildly understaffed at the moment and I’m only allowed to take PTO in full day increments. I’ve juggled my online interviews up to this point, but I’m already trying to plan logistics in case I get moved forward and need to take time off. It’s not always as easy as just taking off a couple hours to interview.

      5. Panhandlerann*

        Can’t let go of their current job? Perhaps instead they can’t let go of their current paycheck, which they need to go on paying their bills.

        1. Avril Ludgateaux*

          This! There is a truly unreasonable level of entitlement implicit to “we expect you to prioritize this opportunity to interview, with no guarantee of offer, over the actual job you currently have, the one that pays your bills and keeps a roof over your head.”

          Wouldn’t you, as an employer, logically see somebody who is not committed to their current work obligations as “the red flag” more than the person who is? A candidate who treats their work duties with such respect and dedication, even when they are trying to leave their current employer, is the candidate you probably want to be courting.

        2. Westsidestory*

          this! In spades! My sister in law wanted to move from one national retailer to another, and survived all the hoops and screens of an online automated interviewing process that took us both almost two hours to get through. Then, hooray, she was invited for a live interview. Scheduling – any day but Thursday because the HR dept doesn’t do intetviewing on Thursday. (Yes this is a National chain). The only day she has off is Thursday. We tried and tried, could not get any human beings to explain to and that was the end of it. Except that three months later, one of her colleagues at her retail location (who had a different set of days off) got that actual job she had wanted.

      6. Lydia*

        No. This is not it. Especially #2. That’s some gumption-level thinking. Very few people are ready to let go of their current job, its paycheck and benefits, until they have an offer in hand and a scheduled start date.

      7. MigraineMonth*

        At the interview stage, I’d want candidates to be interested in the new job, but not reckless with their current one. Searching for a new job, going through the application process and doing a phone screen are pretty strong indicators that the candidate is interested.

        I wouldn’t want a candidate to risk their current employment to show they were ready to let go of it, at least not before I sent them a formal offer. (Though if their boss threatened to fire them for interviewing on a day off, I can see why the candidate would be ready to run for the hills.)

    6. Seashell*

      When I had a job I desperately wanted to get away from, I used the excuse of every kind of doctor possible to take time off to interview before I finally got another job. I guess I could have been more vague, but my boss was the type to ask why. When I had an interviewer offer to see me at 7 AM, I was grateful that I didn’t need another excuse. If my job search had gone on much longer, I would have had to start killing off non-existent relatives to attend their funeral.

      1. Lydia*

        I once had an interview on a Saturday and it was such a relief to not have to worry about taking time off or worry if my wardrobe would stand out as “interview clothes”. It was the interviewer who scheduled it and I was fine to do it.

    7. Mockingjay*

      It was a perfectly reasonable request. “Can we meet after hours?” It’s also perfectly reasonable to turn it down. “No, I don’t have availability after hours.”

      It’s just…scheduling. No justification needed on either side, only a willingness to find a slot that works for both of you.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Right? I don’t understand the attribution of bad intent here. Just… say no. And recognize you might lose a candidate. Or maybe the candidate will figure it out. But give them the benefit of the doubt.

        Also, this isn’t new. I used to do after hours or before hours interviews all the time when I was early in my career. And I always offered them (within reason) when I interviewed. I also once withdrew from a hiring process because their interview required me to take half a day off of work and I was out of PTO. I got yelled at by the recruiter, but even then I believed that if they couldn’t at least meet me halfway by breaking up the interviews, then it wasn’t going to be worth it.

        1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

          > recognize you might lose a candidate

          People in the comments don’t seem to be making the distinction between the interviewer and the company. The company has the open job and the need to recruit someone. The interviewer is searching for someone to fill the role, on behalf of the company, not as ‘themself’. So if the interviewer’s lack of flexibility causes a viable candidate to drop out, it’s actually the *company* who has lost them, not really the interviewer (even if they are the hiring manager). It’s a similar distinction to losing / failing to onboard a new client, or the relationship with a vendor. All those negotiations are the company’s, not the person’s.

      2. MF*

        I actually do think the hiring manager (or employer) should give a justification why they don’t do after-hours interviews. Refusal to do so can mean different things: “I value work-life balance and do not work after 5 PM” vs. “I am refusing to be flexible because this is a company that doesn’t accommodate employee or candidate needs.”

        By being clearer on WHY you don’t do interviews during off hours, you’re more likely to find a candidate who is the right fit.

        1. Kella*

          This is a weird take to me. I get that it’s following similar lines of thought about transparency in hiring, but scheduling is just scheduling. Neither party should have to justify why they can’t do a certain time. It’s weirdly adversarial to assume that if a company doesn’t offer interviews during off hours that it means they are *refusing* to consider being flexible, rather than they just don’t have those resources available, or they’ve decided that having those resources available is not worth the cost.

          1. Just Another Starving Artist*

            Yeah, there seems to be a lack of acknowledgement here that hiring people is… a job. Candidates aren’t doing recruiters or hiring managers a favor by deigning to be interviewed. These interviews are a part of someone’s job, not their entire scope of work or life — they still have other things to do and cannot orient their entire schedule around you. So to look at the fact that an interviewer won’t take OT/come in early/stay late just to meet with you and immediately think that’s a red flag is silly.

      3. Kella*

        I wish this was the top comment. It is very weird to me to default to assuming if someone says “No, it doesn’t work to me to do after-hours interviews” or “It doesn’t work for me to do interviews during business hours” that this person is being inflexible and stubborn, rather than that every person gets to decide whether or not to add an additional thing to their own schedule, where, and why!

    8. Mr. Cajun2core*

      About 30 years ago I asked for an interview outside of normal hours. I was at a job where taking off was quite odd and it would have been a big issue. I did end up getting the job. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I excelled at the job.

      Definitely please do not consider it a red flag. I would go further and ask that you accommodate it when possible.

      To me, being willing to schedule an interview outside of normal hours, says plenty about a manager. It says that this person is accommodating and willing to work with you. Any manager that isn’t willing to work a bit late to get the job done (and interviewing is part of getting the job done) would be a bit of a red flag for me. Further, if a manager isn’t willing to work late, how can they ask you to work late if needed?

      I realize that often it is not possible especially when multiple people are involved but when possible, I think you should try and accommodate the candidate.

      1. Temperance*

        You do realize that plenty of great managers are women with children, right? So they can’t always, in your words, “be willing to stay late to get the job done”.

        1. Chirpy*

          So (assuming the dad is in the picture) let him deal with his own kids for a night?

          Job interviews are rarely an everyday occurrence unless it’s someone’s sole task. An occasional inconvenience may pay off with a great new hire, so I don’t see how having kids or gender of the interviewers necessitates inflexibility. (Yes, I understand why our culture expects women to prioritize children but men aren’t penalized for doing the same, and they could stand to step up more anyway.)

            1. Chirpy*

              That’s why I said “assuming” instead of just saying “dad should pick up the slack with his own kids”.

              Most schools don’t go until 5pm anyway, so anyone with kids is going to need some kind of after-scool care already. And very few people would bat an eye if a man with kids stayed late at the office, so why is it suddenly a huge burden if mom has to for an occasional interview?

              1. Calliope*

                Nobody is assuming that. The point is that not everyone has a partner who can pick up the slack. And daycares have a $3 per minute late fee usually.

                Of course sometimes people have to stay late at work and they figure it out. But come on, there are post after posts of comments on this site about how employers should respect work life balance which only matters until it’s an interview, apparently, and then everyone is just lazy.

                1. TechWorker*

                  Ding ding ding

                  To be honest sometimes it sounds like ‘employers should respect work life balance except for managers, who don’t count’

                  Like, yes jobs with more responsibility can require more hours, but managers are people too :p I will work late in an emergency, but an interview candidate having a preference does not meet that bar… if there’s a standout amazing candidate who has no other options, maybe? (& definitely wouldn’t hold it against anyone who asked!)

                2. Chirpy*

                  (Site keeps eating my replies, then they all show up at once, ugh.) My point is, you said “some managers are moms with kids and therefore can’t stay late” when people just don’t say the same about dads.

                  Every job I’ve had has required an occasional after-hours event. It is annoying for everyone, but parents shouldn’t get a free pass to never have to work them. Especially not if moms are always assumed as the only caretakers. Perhaps ideally part of the work/life balance is the employer should cover child care costs if an employee has to stay late to hold an interview, because it’s in the employer’s best interest to find good candidates.

            2. Chirpy*

              So is assuming mom is required to do all childcare related work when men with kids are rarely penalized for staying late to finish something up.

      2. MigraineMonth*

        Alternately, a manager who models work-life balance may not be willing to give up their nights or weekends to interviewing. It’s the paradox introduced by most jobs having the same core work hours: accommodating another person’s 9-5pm schedule means working outside that schedule yourself.

    9. AdAgencyChick*

      And if the candidate is asking for a bunch of half-day PTO on short notice, that could alert their current employer to their job search.

      I’ve been on both sides of this. I’ll ask for after-hours interviews when I know the market is on my side and/or I’m not particularly desperate to leave my current job, because I’m pretty sensitive to how easy it is for a boss to guess that I’m interviewing. When I’m hiring, I’ll accommodate it for a candidate I’m especially interested in, although I don’t want to do it for all of them because then I end up lengthening my workday on a regular basis for an indeterminate amount of time.

    10. Momma Bear*

      Also, “normal office hours” vary company to company. If the person asked for 6PM and the office usually closes at 5, is that something the interviewer could consider shifting for if the candidate was strong? Person may have a big event/meeting or childcare concerns or just travel time from x to y place. I think there was little harm in asking and if they didn’t come back with a core hours option for the interview, then they made their own assessment of the company. Don’t we often talk about how interviews are a two-way street?

    11. Avril Ludgateaux*

      The audacity to just expect an applicant to “use PTO” presumably in a country where a decent amount of PTO is the exception, not the rule, has really soured me.

    12. Chirpy*

      This. I currently work a low-paid job in a high cost of living area, and I really can’t afford to be taking multiple days off work. If a prospective new employer can’t meet on the one week day I have free, I may have to ask for an early morning or late evening simply to make sure I can still pay my rent. (Plus, my current job is such that I really can’t wear interview appropriate clothes to work, I absolutely have to go somewhere to change and even a short interview isn’t something I can do over my half hour lunch without asking permission to be gone for several hours. I also can’t answer my phone during work, so even a phone interview requires taking time off.)

    13. Forever stuck librarian*

      Fascinated, as always, by the range of replies to this.
      Coming from small public library world, there’s almost no flexibility at all. I was called for an interview to be held Friday afternoon before a 3-day weekend. Would they move to a different day? Nope. Could I interview in the morning? Nope. There was basically a 2 hour window they had carved out, and if I couldn’t come in that window, I was taking myself out of the running.

      Bonus! The person who called to arrange the interview gave me vague info (I asked for clarification and she couldn’t), I arrive at the library and none of the frontline staff knew anything about interviews happening AND one of the interviewers got really combative with me in between dicking around on her phone.
      I did not get the job, and I do not feel bad about that at all.

      1. Avril Ludgateaux*

        I was called for an interview to be held Friday afternoon before a 3-day weekend.

        I don’t understand who would do this to themselves, never mind an applicant. Call me lazy but I’m mostly checked out on a regular Friday afternoon – before a long weekend, there’s no way I would have the energy, concentration, or drive to conduct a thorough and well-focused interview.

    14. starfox*

      This LW definitely seems to underestimate how difficult it is to take off for interviews when you’re currently working full-time, particularly if you don’t want your current employer to know you’re looking elsewhere!

      I once had a job offer and I turned it down before even hearing the salary (I’d been given a range) because they wanted me to take off work to come meet with HR after I’d already taken off work for two separate interviews. To be fair, I was already 99% sure I wasn’t taking the job, but I still wanted to hear the offer.

    15. L'étrangere*

      Many people look for a different job precisely because it’s difficult for them to schedule even a couple hours off without making a big deal out of it. Do you really want to force applicants to engage in a big emergency-dentist/dying-grandma charade for your sake before you even talk to them? Let me summarize by suggesting you read a lot more on this site before you continue trying to hire with these thoughtless and out of date criteria

  2. Waving not Drowning*

    OP3 – I’m one of the sighing people – I had absolutely no idea that I did it, or even when I started doing it!

    A colleague mentioned it a few years ago. She’d sometimes ask me what I was stuck on, and if she could help – I asked how she knew, and she laughed and said that I get “all huffy” when I’m stuck. A second workmate mentioned it when I started in their team too.

    Now that I’m aware of it, I try not to do it. Luckily I have an office to myself now, so it doesn’t matter how huffy I get (woohoo).

    Please mention it to your co-worker. They could be like me and have no idea that they do it.

    1. Moo*

      I’m mildly concerned that spending a lot of time alone as I have done for the last 2.5 years might have increased the levels of unconscious noises I make. Like bouncing around other people kind of kept it in check. A friend recently asked me if I was having difficulty because I made a “this is a lot of effort noise” doing something that was a small amount of effort. Left alone I become some sort of constantly grunting creature without realising!! Some day I hope to reintegrate back into human society!

      1. ChrisZ*

        I hear you Moo (sorry!) I do transcription work from home and am constantly talking to the voices in my ear… and not very nicely, either. So whoever’s home just hears “What??? What the f@#k!! Well, maybe if you’d stop talking over each other…” I don’t think I could ever go back to working with people actually there with me :)

        1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          If it’s any help, I’m a translator and I too converse, usually with the author of the text I’m translating “what on earth do you mean by that? whoops you spelled that wrong! why say it in three words when you can say it in twelve hey? are you sure? if that verb is plural, why is the noun singular? make up your damn mind!”

      2. Filosofickle*

        Yeah, that’s a thing for me. I “oof” when I sit down and make little noises, not to mention talk to myself constantly to keep my executive function on track. It’s okay for now since i work at home and live alone but I know if I try living or working with humans again it’s gonna be a rough re-entry.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Ugh, this is me (the talking to myself). I can refrain at work but I need to do it sometimes when writing, sort of like rehearsing dialogue to see if it sounds natural. It’s one reason I don’t want roommates if I can avoid it.

          1. Filosofickle*

            Yes, talking through things out loud is a big part of how I process and write. It’s not something I can just never do.

            I’ve been WFH for a very long time and over the years I unconsciously developed a ton of accommodations for myself. Now that I understand better how my brain works I realize they aren’t just quirks and I actually don’t want to undo them.

          2. MigraineMonth*

            The way around this is to have roommates and cats. Whenever your roommate asks you to repeat yourself, just claim to be talking to the cat. Then you’re not the person who talks to yourself, you’re the person who constantly talks to cats.

            1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

              Or you can just roll with it. I use my dog as an audience when I’m practicing training (basically I just explain to her what I’m doing while I do it), my husband has a literal rubber ducky on his desk that he talks through troublesome SQL with, my housemate talks to every animal that comes through his office, which includes cats, snakes, a frog and a 3-foot lizard.

      3. Churpairs*

        I recently switched to an office in a hallway with classrooms (university) and benches. Classes started yesterday and as I was sitting there, talking to myself (real positive self talk, like “you didn’t mean to do that, you idiot”), it suddenly occurred to me that the students waiting outside could probably hear me.

      4. Roberta*

        I feel that way when I am not wearing a mask in the office (if I am alone and then someone pops by). I am so used to being able to let my face make whatever expressions, including silently talking to myself, that I forgot that without a mask people can see that!

      5. JelloStapler*

        Same here! Thankfully I also have my own office but I also talk to myself and have a naturally loud voice. :/

      6. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

        This is me but with fidgeting, tapping, pacing, etc.. I’m never completely still and I love it, but if I ever need to be in a room with people needing to sit quietly I am going to have to practice before

      7. Julia*

        I tend to vocalize randomly when alone and I’ve really had to concentrate on not doing that when around people and especially at work. My desk is next to an air filter which adds enough white noise to muffle me somewhat.

    2. WoodswomanWrites*

      This was me as well. Early in my years in the work world, a colleague politely mentioned it to me. I had no idea I did this and once he brought it up, I stopped and haven’t done it since.

    3. Been there....*

      I’ve done this. I was working a job where there was so much background noise all the time, as in we were only separated by a thin wall from the factory. I got into the habit of making my own noise, talking to myself, throat clearing, loud sighs, etc. The noise bothered me a lot so maybe exerting my own sounds was self soothing??? Needless to say the coworkers at my next job in the super quiet office were not thrilled. Thankfully, they were patient while I adapted.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        I worked at one open-plan office that was pin-drop quiet, and it was oppressive. My coworker one desk over used to whisper apologies every time her chair squeaked.

    4. Cringing 24/7*

      Oh my goodness, I sigh too! I was reading this post thinking, “Oh no, one of my coworkers is complaining about me to Alison!” It’s not even surrounding any specific emotional state or events, I just sometimes unconsciously take a really deep, sighing breath.

      1. Joanna*

        There are a lot of people in my office who sigh, but it’s only the one who sighs in such a way that makes you think he wants attention that actually bothers me. Of course, he will yawn in people’s faces, eat almonds with his mouth open, and take his shoes off if they are bothering him, And don’t get me started on the snorting and throat clearing. (Yes, I’m at BEC stage at his point). The rest of the people that sigh are just doing it because our job can be hard, and I think we all kind of understand, so it’s not annoying in that atmosphere.

    5. Just Your Everyday Crone*

      TMYK: sighing and other noises are often a way that ND people self-regulate.

      1. wordswords*

        Yeah, and also absolutely concentration-shattering to some other ND people. This is useful context to be aware of, for sure, as is the fact that the coworker may not be able to fully help or control it (or may be able to do so only at the cost of his own ability to focus). But it’s still worth mentioning to the coworker, not in a PLEASE STOP THIS RIGHT NOW, PS YOU’RE DOING IT AGAIN way but to politely make him aware, as others have mentioned above, and if it continues then it’s worth looking into what might help to muffle the sounds so that everyone involved can have the environment they need to focus in.

      2. starfox*

        Yeah I have anxiety and have to take “deep breaths” often, which really helps the anxiety to disippate… but unfortunately, “deep breaths” sound like sighing.

        I also have ADHD, and I make a quiet (but probably annoying) clicking sound with my tongue that I’ve given up on trying to stop doing because it helps me regulate and stay calm. I’ve spent my entire life “masking,” so if people want me to be on time and focused, I’m just going to have to make a little clicking noise, sorry!

        1. First Star on the Right*

          Trying to consciously mask ADHD fidgeting or sounds is absolutely exhausting. So much of my masking is automatic at this point (it’s still tiring but not on the same level) but my fidgeting isn’t. I’m just glad I outgrew the leg bounce because that was vigorous enough my muscles would hurt for hours.

          1. starfox*

            Yep, exactly! I’ve spent my entire life masking, so I honestly don’t know how much I mask because, like you, it’s automatic. My little mouth noises are the only thing I’m conscious of, and I’ve stopped trying to quit.

    6. Kaboobie*

      I know I make frustrated noises sometimes, but I can usually suppress them at work. Earlier this year a new employee in the next cubicle asked me if I was okay. I realized I had been muttering under my breath and assured her I was just swearing at my computer. All of this is to say, it’s worth bringing up with your co-worker, who may not realize how audible his sighs are.

    7. JoJo*

      the dog seemed to be a mind reader! Always knew just when I was going to stand up. Finally figured out I did a small puff as I was preparing to move. He scrambled up every single time. Took me a long time to figure out how he did that

    8. The OG Sleepless*

      I sigh a lot too. It means absolutely nothing, it’s just a random exhale. People do ask me about it occasionally, but I’ve never gotten the vibe that it was annoying. I should probably try to stop, just in case.

    9. starfox*

      I am also a sigh-er, although I’m not sure I could stop, lol. There won’t even be anything wrong, but I have random bouts of anxiety that are often unrelated to the situation, and a deep breath just relieves that anxiety so much. But unfortunately, a deep breath and a sigh are… basically the same thing….

    10. Gracely*

      My husband does this, and had no idea he did it until we were dating and spent a lot of time together (he has an office to himself). Turns out, he’s actually holding his breath/not breathing without realizing.

      He also does this while sleeping, and eventually got diagnosed with central sleep apnea (different from the more common obstructive sleep apnea). It’s a neurologic problem where the nervous system doesn’t always send a signal to the brain to breathe. Not saying LW or anyone here has this, but if you have people tell you that you’re sighing/making loud breath noises enough that it’s disturbing people *and you had no idea you were doing it*, if you start also having issues with fatigue, it might be worth having it checked out. There’s often no other symptom.

    11. The Rural Juror*

      I had coworker who was hearing impaired in one ear. It it was something I knew about him but would often forget since he needed no accommodations. He sighed a lot! I would ask what was wrong but usually it would be nothing. It took the two of us a while to realize he didn’t know how audible his sighs were! He didn’t understand why I was checking on him so much. We had a good laugh about it once it came to light. Definitely say something!

  3. Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii*

    LW2: What if they are in a toxic workplace and if they take time off they are reprimanded for it or they don’t want their employer knowing they are job hunting because that could lead to immediate dismissal/termination of income.

    1. Lyngend (Canada)*

      at my last job, it was basically impossible to book time of during your shift. Like, 2 weeks notice for any not emergency request for time off. and for shorter periods you had to exchange the time with a coworker or be present. This includes (as far as I know) medical appointments. I’ve even seen people doing shift swaps because they needed time off for surgery. didn’t ever feel safe asking for any sort of accommodation or try to book time off for a medical appointment.

    2. Elitist Semicolon*

      In that sort of case, it would be courteous – and effective – to offer even a vague reason for the request: “my current position has strict rules about time off, and I’d prefer not to tell leadership quite yet that I am interviewing. Would it be possible to schedule something outside usual business hours?” Offering a reason or acknowledgement that it’s an unusual request can go a long way towards getting people on one’s side.

      1. Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii*

        Yes but sometimes job seekers are hesitant to explain details to prospective employers.
        Ideally they would realize they can give generic answers like you suggest.

        1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

          If you are asking a favor, like asking a person to come in early/stay late, you sort of have to explain why you need it. I know folks don’t want to have to give details, but you can’t just say nothing.

      2. Despachito*

        Yes, it would.

        But – do we require the same from employers? Is the employer also given a side eye if they does not explain to the potential candidate WHY they cannot do an interview at a given time?

        1. Elitist Semicolon*

          If the time they’re requesting is also outside standard hours, then yeah, the employer should explain. If the time is not, then no, they’re not obligated, because that is part of what “standard hours” means. If the candidate were writing in and saying, “they wanted me to come in at 9 p.m. for an interview; is this normal?” (and it wasn’t a job that involved third-shift work or that required round-the-clock ops) we’d probably all be telling that person, “no, it’s not normal.” My own reaction would be to question whether that meant the employer would expect me to be available outside the workday.

          I get that people may not want to disclose info, and that’s cool. But even something like, “I have an extenuating circumstance and am only available at X” can build trust, because it acknowledges that they’re asking for something uncommon. I’ve both had interviews with and been on committees that have said things like, “we’re only interviewing on Tuesday and Wednesday while our regional manager is in town,” and yeah, it can be irritating and inconvenient, but knowing why they can’t interview on Thursday gives context, which will often lessen people’s irritation.

        2. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

          I’d side-eye an employer that asked for an interview at, say, 6:00 am unless we were in very different time zones and that was legit the only time that came remotely close to business hours for both of us

    3. Aggretsuko*

      Once I heard they had to drop out of the interview process I immediately thought “toxic job won’t let them out,” for sure.

    4. Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves*

      I’ve worked a couple places like this. One tried to make a rule that I couldn’t take Fridays or Mondays off so I couldn’t fly out for interviews. I shut that down pretty quick and ended up lying that I had to attend a wedding.

      Also you have to take into consideration the field someone is in. My clients can schedule appointments two entire weeks out and they are not the kind of thing I can just reschedule on a whim unless it’s an emergency. Being on the road for work also means that my employer knows where I am all the time and I can’t just sneak out for a long lunch or take a couple hours off without anyone noticing.

      Thankfully my current employer was super flexible and let me interview after hours so I could tell work I had a personal appointment, switch to a non-tracked vehicle and get to my interviews without anyone knowing. My last employer might not have fired me if he had known I was looking, but he would have tortured me as much as humanly possible as revenge. As it was if we asked for any accommodations to deal with burnout we were punished with more work.

    5. Catalyst*

      I came here to mention this. I recently left a company where the owner would get angry at me (and literally yell) when I went home for lunch. I lived 3 blocks from the office and was never gone more then 35 minutes! So interviewing for me during work hours was a nightmare. I get not wanting to accommodate, but I do think if you can, for the right candidate you should try to. It took me way longer to leave that job then it normally would have because some places wouldn’t/couldn’t accommodate me. I should also note that I work in a professional environment just below C-suite, at this point in my career I should be able to take an hour here or there without any issues but there no one was trusted.
      And also on the offering of an explanation front, if I said that my boss wouldn’t even allow me to take a full hour for lunch let alone take time off I’m sure it would have put a sour taste in the mouth of the interviewer who would probably think I was exaggerating given my position in the company.

    6. Ashloo*

      My husband worked for a well-known tyrant in this particular industry/locale, and the company he switched to really went out of their way to make sure he didn’t get “caught” interviewing. His first meeting was an after-hours light dinner. And during his more formal interview at their office, he didn’t meet the whole team because some people had working relationships with the tyrant and they didn’t want a comment to jeopardize my husband’s job. My husband wasn’t underhandedly poached by a competitor, if that’s how it sounds; some employers just have established reputations for being horrible people in their region. A little flexibility could help a good candidate leave an unreasonable situation.

    1. Artemesia*

      Joking I assume because never was there a question that so clearly distinguishes between norms for men and women.

      1. Been there....*

        Ugh! And reading the news grates on me. When the news is about a man, it’s always about what he’s done – good or bad. With women, it’s never about what she’s done, it’s always about what she’s wearing or how she looks. If they do include something she’s done, the article headline is something like this with “Wife of jock wins medal” or “Bikini clad doctor saves child” or “First lady in reads to children wearing ugly dress” or “Look at how fat this actress got.”

        1. Artemesia*

          Somewhere I have a news clipping from the 50s when my mother won a bowling tournament. The exciting news lead with a description of the petite young mother, her slender waist and how ‘pert’ she was. The tone was ‘how could this sweet young thing be athletic too?’

          1. Kacihall*

            There was a news article about my grandmother getting her pilot’s license in the fifties (I think). It literally doesn’t have her name in it – it just says Mrs. HUSBAND. An entire news article (Admittedly in a small Florida town) about how a woman was getting her pilot’s license and it didn’t have her name. It probably had the appearance comments, but I was so mad about the name thing i didn’t really focus on the rest of it.

            1. MigraineMonth*

              I used to run errands for an older woman who insisted that she be addressed by her husband’s name in writing, e.g. “Mrs Robert Cooper”, and I thought it was the weirdest thing ever.

              My mom didn’t even take my dad’s last name, so while growing up any time someone called for “Mr and Mrs Lastname”, I knew it was a telemarketer and told them they weren’t available. I also did a lot of eye-rolling about the security question “mother’s maiden name”, since it’s not only her current name, it’s part of my name as well.

              1. MBAir*

                “I used to run errands for an older woman who insisted that she be addressed by her husband’s name in writing, e.g. “Mrs Robert Cooper”, and I thought it was the weirdest thing ever.”

                I think that’s actually an etiquette thing–when you’re addressing envelopes and such to a married woman who’s taken her husband’s surname, you’d write it out as “Mrs. Joseph Smith.” If the woman were widowed, you’d write it as “Mrs. Mary Smith.” Older generations would definitely notice the difference and an older woman whose husband is still alive would probably notice enough to be like, “Umm, hold up???”

                Source: all my married, female relatives over the age of 65.

                1. Anon Supervisor*

                  Can confirm. My husband’s older relatives address cards to us as Mr and Mrs Anon Supervisor. They would probably do so even if I didn’t take his name.

                2. LutherstadtWittenberg*

                  My mother wanted to change her name back after my father died. She hated that convention, especially because he was dead and she was alive.

          2. Overit*

            I came across an article from the early 1960s, part of a series highlighting local businesses. It was about the local Chamber of Commerce “receptionist” who, the article made clear, really ran the place. However thr bulk of the article was about how she used to be obese (including jokes her male boss had made about her weight), lost weight but was still unmarried.
            The kicker was the journalist was not only a woman, she was an early leader in the state fighting for female journalists’ rights amd recognition…prior to writing this article.

          3. an infinite number of monkeys*

            I have a 1957 article about our state’s welcome centers making the switch from male to female staff. The article notes that it’s advantageous to hire women because they are less likely to leave for higher-paying jobs, and that their charm and attractiveness help bring in more visitors and better promote tourism – but goes on to reassure readers that of course men still work at the centers as supervisors.

          4. Mallory Janis Ian*

            Ha. There’s an article about my mother in our small town’s social pages that just calls her “Pretty Mrs. [Dad’s first and last names] looks forward to her husband’s return from Germany.”

        2. Zeus*

          That grates on me too! It’s always “grandmother rescues dog from fire” or “mother of five starts this cool new business”, while men get reported as “doctor rescues dog from fire” or whatever. The most egregious one I saw was earlier this year, where a grown woman had passed away in some kind of dodgy circumstance, and the headline described her as a “daughter”. The article was focused on her, not her parents, but she had to he a daughter rather than her own person.

      2. KofSharp*

        Hugely different standards:

        I wore the same shirt on different weeks with enough time for laundry day in between because I can’t afford more than 1 week of different outfits (or the space to hold them) and multiple people commented.

        My male coworkers are either wearing the same unwashed shirts or have 5 of the same shirt every week and no one says a word.

        1. Curmudgeon in California*

          Ugh. Just ugh.

          I’m AFAB, now non-binary. I hate the idea that women must wear a different “pretty” outfit every workday in a month. When I was doing sales side clerical as a temp in my younger days, most of the money I made went into clothes to fit the girly professional dress code. When I got laid off from that job I never wore those clothes again.

          Now? I’m older, non-binary, and don’t GAF. My “uniform” is a purple polo with black jeans, or cords if they don’t like jeans. I literally buy my polo shirts in multiples of the same color. I wore this at my last in-person job at a university in IT. No one said a thing to me.

      3. MigraineMonth*

        Those darn feminists, always bringing gender into the discussion of extremely gendered topics! /s

    2. Witty Worker*

      You may be unaware of it but there’s definitely a double standard for what men and women wear to work and what gets noticed. It’s ridiculous but it still happens.

      1. Julia*

        While it is a gendered thing, and women absolutely do get judged more for how we dress, it’s also partly down to practicalities regarding the type of clothing (as others in the thread have pointed out): women just tend to have more variability and more options in business dress, so sameness gets noticed. If a guy wore the same suit every day, I wouldn’t notice, true – but I also would not notice if a woman wore the same suit and blouse every day. Because my brain just goes “suit, move on”. (I may be the outlier there because I am spectacularly unobservant about clothes, but anyway.) Same dress every day, I start to notice, because every dress looks different.

        1. Thistle*

          To be fair, men get judged as well but don’t seem to care as much about what people think.

          I’ve worked with a few guys who were proud that their shirts were fraying because it showed they were getting years of wear out of them.

          Some people are obliviously their colleagues (don’t notice a two stone weight loss or a hsircut) whilst others see everything (yes sir, your right trouser hem has been down for three weeks so I know you were wearing the same trousers daily for at least three weeks). Honestly I think a lot of people notice these things but just don’t mention them unless someone else brings it up.

          1. Moonlight*

            I suspect men do not care as much because even if both men and women get judged, it’s less likely to impact how a man’s work related judgement, competence, and so forth is judged as an extension of their wardrobe.

          2. Riot Grrrl*

            Somewhat agree. I do think that both men and women are judged on their wardrobes. It also rings as slightly off the mark to say that “you should be able to do anything a man can get away with” given that a man most certainly cannot get away with many things women can get away with.

            That said, the social and career ramifications of a woman’s missteps are generally far more grave than a man’s wardrobe missteps. Not even close.

            1. scribblingTiresias*

              There is one circumstance where a man’s wardrobe missteps are just as grave as a woman’s, and that’s “is he perceived as gay or gender non-conforming”.
              Speaking from experience here- wearing a purple collared shirt and waistcoat, at the wrong gig, can get you mocked by your supervisor or cost you your job.

          3. Irish Teacher*

            I think the difference is less whether it is noticed or not and more about the impact it is likely to have on a person’s chances of promotion, etc. At least part of the reason men don’t seem to care as much is probably that they have seen that it does not greatly affect their chances of promotion rather than they don’t care as much about things like promotion. A man can be seen as both shabby and efficient whereas a woman is less likely to be seen in this way. A woman who dressed in fraying shirts would likely be seen as “unprofessional” and “more suited to an entry level position” and “we can’t promote her when she hasn’t even the most basic understanding of professionalism.” I think that is less likely to happen to a man unless his dress is far outside professional norms.

            There is a point at which a man’s dress might hamper his chances of promotion, but…I don’t think wearing the same suit too often would do it.

            1. MigraineMonth*

              Of course, if a woman is *too* fashionable, she’s “frivolous” and can’t be trusted with non-entry level positions. Because being a woman is a multiple-choice test where all the answers are wrong.

        2. KelseyCorvo*

          Right, and very few of my co-workers, except salespeople when they’re visiting clients/prospects or are going to a trade show, wear suits. Well under 10%.

          I would notice a woman (or anyone) wearing the same dress every day, and if any male I worked with wore the same shirt and pants every day – especially the shirt – I’d notice as well.

          1. to varying degrees*

            Yep. If one of my male coworkers wore the same khaki pants and blue polo for days on end I would definitely notice, probably moreso than if a female coworker wore the same dress as the latter is much more likely to have it look different depending on accessories.

            Interesting caveat, at my last job the men were held to a more formal dress code than the women. As long as the women were presentable, it was fine. The men however had to wear coat and tie every day except Friday.

            1. MigraineMonth*

              I don’t think it’s a caveat; it’s true that women have far more choices for how to dress. The issue is that there are so many choices that it’s far easier to get it wrong. Also, when a woman does get it wrong, there’s a far greater chance that it will affect how her work is perceived.

              When I went to my college’s career center, it advised that I should always get a manicure before interviews so the interviewer would think I was conscientious and detail-oriented; I somehow doubt they gave that advice to all the male students.

          2. Just Your Everyday Crone*

            I think with men, there is a decent likelihood that people would think it was a uniform–he owned 5 blue polos or white dress shirts.

            1. KelseyCorvo*

              An office worker in a uniform? Suddenly, when he never wore one before? Wouldn’t most people just ask him, “Why are you wearing a uniform now?”

              I don’t buy it.

              1. Falling Diphthong*

                Plenty of people take the uniform approach to work clothes: several pairs of khakis, several blue oxford shirts, and now they are done and don’t need to think about what they’re picking to wear in the morning.

                A fair bit of my wardrobe fits “this is comfortable; I shall buy several in dark neutral colors.” Especially pants.

                1. Lydia*

                  The mother of a friend in high school would find a blouse she liked and buy all the colors she liked to wear to work.

                2. Elizabeth West*

                  I’m with Lydia’s friend’s mom on this. Back when Walmart had that Riders brand in-store (sigh; I miss it, especially the pants), I bought a bunch of 3/4 sleeve button-down shirts in different colors. They make getting dressed so much easier. The next time I shop for work clothes I’m going to do the same thing. As long as you have neutral pants, everything goes with everything.

                3. Curmudgeon in California*

                  A fair bit of my wardrobe fits “this is comfortable; I shall buy several in dark neutral colors.” Especially pants

                  I do this. It’s hard to find stuff that fits, is comfortable and is in a color I can stand, so if I find either shirts or pants that hit the mark I will buy several and rotate them. Then each item is not washed as much, and the whole thing lasts longer. I am not into the “change your wardrobe every season”, fast fashion BS. I’m hard on my clothes as it is, so I do my best to make sure stuff is rotated well. It’s just that a lot of it is identical, deliberately so.

                4. KelseyCorvo*

                  That’s not what I think of when I hear a uniform.

                  I know people who buy similar things, but not multiples of the exact same color and style. Why wouldn’t they at least vary the color?!

                5. Anon Supervisor*

                  This is me. I find a pair of pants and some shirts I like and buy multiples in different colors. This is mainly because I hate shopping for clothes.

            2. Bluebell*

              Yes- I had a boyfriend who had half a dozen pairs of navy pants and light blue oxfords. He never called it a uniform, but he wore the same thing every day.

        3. Yorick*

          It’s theoretically possible for a woman to have a “uniform” like many men have. This dress challenge could work if it’s a shift dress in a neutral color paired with different sweaters or blazers. But we expect to see women wearing different colors and styles, much more than we expect that from men.

          1. MigraineMonth*

            In addition to that, we scrutinize what women wear a lot more than what men wear.

            Men tend to have broad categories of acceptable clothing (e.g. “suit and tie” or “khakis and polos”) whereas women’s clothing has dozens of (frequently age and body-dependent) details that could make the clothing more or less professional:
            Do the buttons gap over the chest?
            Does the hemline of the dress show too much thigh when sitting?
            Do those accessories make the outfit look too fancy for business-casual?
            Are those pants too frumpy?
            Is that outfit too young for a woman her age?
            Are the high heels too flirtatious?

            I give props to women who manage to thread the needle, but I find all the considerations exhausting.

          2. eeeek*

            Assuming that LW1 is doing the Wool&Co 100 day dress challenge, Yorick, that’s exactly the dealio: the brand’s argument is that the garment is sufficiently neutral in color and style that it can be worn for 100 days (spot-cleaned and otherwise kept tidy/hygienic) with different approaches to styling (blazers! cardigans! blouses under! blouses over! tights! leggings! converted to a skirt! converted to a scarf! converted to a wrap! tucked into jeans! tucked and tied to be a shirt/sweater! etc. etc.) There’s a whole community of people who are participating in and documenting the challenge (documentation needed, because if successful, the company awards a deal on the next dress). The goal is NOT to wear the same dress the same way for days on end – part of the challenge is to disguise the repetition.
            But the challenge has certainly exposed the difference in assumptions made about women’s wardrobes vs. men’s, and the fact that many men can get away with wearing basically the same uniform on the daily with little notice. My partner’s “work uniform” (medical professional – not actually required to wear a uniform with a logo or nametag) has worn pants in khaki, dark brown, or blue with a tan or pale blue shirt and a tie for the past 35 years. When he finds a tie he likes, he’ll buy a few because he knows he’ll wear them for a decade before they wear out. He buys the same shoes in black and brown (and has worn “mixed pairs” on multiple occasions without eliciting any comment).
            I have envied his extremely light daily mental load for the work of getting dressed and “looking professional”. Or, I did until I challenged myself to wear only clothes I make which are always better quality, plus they suit my tastes and fit me well. Not to mention that I’m old enough and well-enough along in my career that I DGAF about trends. If anyone dares to give me the hairy eye, I launch into how fast fashion is an ecological crisis and how by not purchasing clothing to keep up with trends I’ve kept a ton of unfashionable waste out of the landfill. (In my line of work, this polemic is admired more often than not.)
            LW1, I hope you get to do the challenge, after you get a feel for the workplace. Good luck in the new job!

        4. Long Time Listener, First Time Caller*

          So, I did the 30-day version of this dress challenge recently. It was a plain black dress, and I switched up cardigans/blazers/jewelry/belts/leggings/tights/shoes every day. No one said anything other than sometimes I got a compliment on my outfit. At the end of the month I mentioned the challenge and my coworkers were surprised. They had not noticed. Not one bit. So OP, I say go for it! The dresses are amazing and creating new outfits with what you’ve already got in your closet is fun. Enjoy your new job and enjoy the dress!

          1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

            I think it might depend on how snazzy your accessories are. Plain black doesn’t get noticed.

      2. Little Marshmallow*

        I absolutely agree! I work with mostly men but in manufacturing so luckily I get to dress appropriately to be in the plant (side note though…womens industrial clothes suck enough that I actually wear mens clothes which is a whole other double standard). Anyway, one of my favorite things to do is exclaim “twinsies!!!” When one or more of them wear the same shirt… it’s common because they all have company swag that matches… and it’s hilarious to say to a bunch of millwrights. I highly recommend.

    3. HufferWare*

      I normally want to blame everything on sexism, but frankly feel if a man wore the same clothes every day for 3 months people would notice and/or comment on it. But I also feel the reaction would be the same: coworkers notice; Person Wearing Same Outfit explains (I own multiples of same clothes/I wash them frequently/my reasons are blabbity blah); coworkers go “ah, I see”; PWSO goes about their day. There is a wide gulf between “coworkers noticing something” and “coworkers will ostracize me”. The chance of anyone doing anything beyond “noticing” is so unlikely!

      1. Minimal Pear*

        I believe a male… news anchor? actually did try this and no one noticed/commented on it at all.

        1. Libra10*

          Yes, Karl Stefanovic a presenter on Channel 9 morning show in Australia wore the same suit for years. His female colleagues, always got got comments from the viewers about what they were wearing, always them, never him.

        2. Spencer Hastings*

          However, I think there’s a difference between watching a news anchor on TV and working with someone for hours every day. I think if any of our male colleagues wore literally identical clothes for days on end, it would indeed be noticeable.

          1. Prefer my pets*

            I call BS. You’d seriously notice if a man wore the same white button down shirt and dark slacks in an office where all the men wore button down shirts and dark slacks? Or a guy wearing the same grey tshirt and jeans in a casual office?

            Women’s clothing is both more distinctive and more noticed. Wearing the same class of clothing we can get away with…I don’t think anyone would notice if I wore the same pair of jeans every day…but dresses are pretty distinctive.

            (I say that thinking the entire 100 day dress challenge is stupid…it is way less efficient in water use to wash a single item of clothing than a large load in modern washers and water is in far greater shortage than anything else in the western US)

            1. Filosofickle*

              Yes, I 100% would notice. I wouldn’t assume they were re-wearing the exact same garments every time but i would absolutely notice if every day it was the same combo. Most people who have a uniform aren’t wearing identicals – they have a handful of very similar button ups + chinos, sure, but not the exact same items. Frankly I’d notice either way, and I’m not a fashion person. I’m just observant.

              Still, it would carry a lot more judgment done by a woman.

              1. Curmudgeon in California*

                Ummm… no, uniform for many means buying five identical items. Retailers let you do that, you know.

                I wear a purple polo and black jeans. I buy my polos in lots – I have a stack of two weeks worth in nearly identical colors. I buy one size/style of jeans. I never have to worry about stuff clashing when I get dressed in the dark.

                1. Filosofickle*

                  Of course some people do that, I didn’t say no one does. In my experience most do not have zero variation.

            2. John*

              Yeah, I don’t understand this idea at all. On top of water usage, it definitely uses way more power to run a washer every day – there’s nothing sustainable about it!

              I feel like a woman who wore the same generic pantsuit that was similar to her colleagues everyday wouldn’t stand out any more than a man, but a dress might be more distinctive.

              1. Emmy Noether*

                Just to note that you do NOT need to wash most garments after every wear. Underwear and socks worn in shoes, yes, or anything that actually got sweaty. Most other things can be spot cleaned if stained and aired out, then washed once every few wears. It’s better for your water consumption and better for your clothes (frequent washing wears clothes out quickly).

                ONE dress is still probably not the most sustainable thing to do, a rotation of three or four outfts and a week’s worth of underwear would probably be better.

                1. WillowSunstar*

                  True, jeans/slacks and tops can go 2-3 wears without being washed if nothing was spilled on them and they are not smelly. But I still wouldn’t wear them to work twice in a row. I’d fold them and put them away.

                2. Observer*

                  It’s still stupid, and wasteful. Most clothes actually hold up better if you don’t wear them every day. I don’t mean that they last 2 years instead, for instance, of one because you only wear them half the time. But that instead of getting X wearings, you often get X +Y wearings.

                  Also, you are still using a lot more water and energy on the washing if you are repeatedly washing ONE item instead of doing fewer and larger loads.

              2. Anonymous history buff*

                If you wear a slip under that dress, the slip gets washed more frequently just like a man’s shirt gets washed more frequently than tie or suit jacket.
                And come to think of it why don’t they sell one suit jacket with two pairs of pants? Nobody is wearing long underwear under their trousers and the more frequent cleaning can wear the trousers differently than the jacket.

                1. Yvette*

                  You should always dry clean (or launder if it is washable) all parts of a suit together, even if you haven’t gotten the jacket dirty. There is always a chance that minor, barely perceptible fading will occur with each cleaning and eventually you will have a suit that does not match. When you bring a suit to the dry cleaners they will do both pieces together. Back in the day, suits sometimes came with two pairs of pants, but that was partially because pants wore out faster, if part of the suit needed cleaning, you cleaned the whole suit. Of course if the suit is deliberately mis-matched, black skirt with a tweed jacket, you could treat them like separates.

                2. Cool Tina, Train Conductress*

                  Should be the other way around. The armpits of jackets still get sweaty/smelly, while trousers seem to be fine longer for most people.

            3. Beth Jacobs*

              I think the idea is that the dress is wollen and meant to be handwashed weekly. Wool definitely doesn’t need to be washed after every wear.

              1. MK*

                Washing a wool dress every week for 3+ months should like a good way to ruin it. It’s not just that it doesn’t need to be washed after every wear, washing it in general is bad for wool.

                1. Emmy Noether*

                  Yes, but one way or another, one is only going to get a certain amount of washes (and therefore wears) out of a piece of clothing. The difference is how spread out those are.

                  Also people used to do this: have one or two weekday dresses and one sunday best. The trick is to have underclothes so that the good clothes don’t touch sweaty or oily bits of skin and have to get washed very rarely. And the clothes did last more than a few months.

                2. MK*

                  Yes, but the purpose of this is supposed to be sustainability. If you only wear one dress but need to buy a new one multiple times a year, I am not sure what you are achieving.

                  Also, yes, people used to have much fewer clothes that lasted longer and didn’t need to be washed frequently because they wore another layer as undergarments, but that’s not something you can replicate with most modern clothes.

                3. Emmy Noether*

                  I do wear underclothes under modern clothes when the weather permits, which is 9 months of the year here. Not a chemise and drawers, just a cotton tee under my shirt or sweater and tights if I’m wearing a skirt or dress. I wear a lot of wool handknit sweaters in the winter and I sure hope they last more than 100 wears (they’re also a beast to launder).

              2. Britchikka*

                Wearing a wool dress every day for a week without washing it is disgusting though. There’s no way a person wouldn’t stink to the high heavens.

                I know AAM is full of people insisting they don’t wash yet don’t smell – if you don’t wash then you smell. Maybe others are too polite to comment on it, but people with bad hygiene do smell very bad.

                1. MK*

                  That’s not actually true, or rather it depends on many factors. If the weather is cool and the person doesn’t sweat much (and are diligent about their personal hygiene), work in a “clean” environment, and they give the dress a proper airing every single day, no it’s not going to be disgusting even after a week.

                2. Pennyworth*

                  It would depend on the temperature of the office. I could work a week and my outer garment/s wouldn’t smell at all because I change everything else daily. I generally wash my clothes based on the sniff test, and jackets and skirts don’t usually unless I’ve been with smoker or around pets. I use perfume very sparingly so there is never a stale perfume smell.

                3. Bagpuss*

                  It is hugely depenedent on what you wera and what you are doing.
                  I read a fascinating article by the historian Ruth Goodman – she does a lot of paractical hostory / practical archeology and wrote about when she was filing one ofthe BBC hstory programmes she did – (where they lived and worked as Victorian famers – having doen the same for the Tudor period and more recntly, WW2 era)

                  Shesaid that she tried following the washing and clothing habits and found that if you mix and martch then you do end up smelling – sso her collegaues who were wering modern underwear under their hostoric clothies , and were washing and using deoderant etc *did* get pretty stinky if they didn’t laos change their clothes.

                  However, when she wore the historic garments down to her skin, and washed the way that the people would have done (which IIRC was with a soap and flannel for the Virctorians, and scrubbing with a dry linen cloth for the medeaval period) she didn’t get smelly.

                  (She mentioned that this was all while they were filming so she had the technical crew, who were coming every day, and not necessarily the same people every day, so weren’t getting ‘nose blind’ from living in the hosue with her and the other historians, doing the ‘sniff testing’ both of her and her collegaues and of the clothes they took off.)

                  I think there are very few people who don’t wash – the issue is how often you are washing clothes (and sometimes how frequently people shower – I think a lot of the people who will say they don’t shower evey day are in fact washing, it’s just that they are washing with a washcloth in the basin rather than having a full shower or bath)

                  I thinbk with the 100 day chalenge dresses the dress is pute wool which does have different propertie ffrom man made fibres, and off course you would be ashing yourself and changing your underwear jut as often as with any other garments.

                  And while I haven’t done it, I would imagine that you also han the dress up to allow it to air overnight , too.

                4. doreen*

                  I don’t think I’ve actually seen people say they don’t wash yet don’t smell – I’ve seen people say they don’t take a shower/bath daily and don’t smell but that’s not the same as not washing.

                5. Chirpy*

                  I have wool items that I only wash once or twice a year (assuming nothing got spilled on them, it’s usually right before storage for the summer.) Granted, it’s usually things that aren’t worn without layers underneath, or blankets used with sheets, but it is absolutely possible to do without smelling. Everything gets aired out between uses which is usually enough, and a vodka/water spray can be used to kill odors if necessary. The only wool I wash after one wear is socks, long johns, etc because that wool is usually designed for washing and is directly touching skin. If your body is clean and not sweaty, and you’re in a clean environment, there is absolutely no reason to wash a sweater or wool skirt and still stay hygienic.

                6. starfox*

                  Not true, wool is very odor-resistant. I think the dress in question is merino wool, which is what people pack on backpacking trips because it doesn’t have to be washed very often.

            4. MK*

              Yes, people would notice. Also, most offices aren’t full of men all wearing the same outifit, because a group of men, like women, would have different levels of interest and taste in clothes.

              1. Thistle*

                Yes. An ex colleague made a comment about clothes and was really surprised that pretty much everyone knew how many suits he had for each season and when he rotated them. We could even tell when one was in the cleaners (and he forgot to puck it up for a couple of weeks) as we knew he wore the same summer one for three weeks solid.

                Another colleague wore his shirts for 3-5 days at a time, only had one suit and had it cleaned once a year. We all knew, even the fashion blind people commented on it.

            5. Mongrel*

              And for men “I found this item of clothing fits well, is comfortable and a good price so I brought 5 of them, Now I have one less thing to worry about in the morning” is perfectly fine reasoning.
              I doubt that flies as well for women

              1. Curmudgeon in California*

                I’ve noticed that it depends on age and presentation. A girly woman would be expected to follow fashion, etc. A butch woman/enby like me can pull it off.

                Of course, WFH I can wear t-shirt and shorts if I want.

            6. Antilles*

              From what I’ve read/heard, the main sustainability goal isn’t about the water from washing dresses. Instead, it’s about the materials, labor, transports, etc of making the dresses in the first place.
              Basically, the purpose is to break the cycle and opt out of the “fast fashion” trends of buying a dress, wearing it a handful of times in a year, then replacing it a year or two later because it’s out of style. Instead, by wearing the same dress for 100 days, you’re really getting full use out of everything that went into making the dress in the first place and normalizing that no, it doesn’t matter that it’s six months out of date.

              1. doreen*

                But even so, at 100 wears per dress, I’m going to be buying around four dresses a year – I’m not sure what the advantage is of wearing dress #1 for 100 days and then dress #2 for 100 days rather than buying 4 dresses and rotating them for as long as possible.

                1. Overit*

                  100% agree! In my experience, which includes being a seamstress, cloth and footwear needs a break from daily wear to breathe amd air out. Otherwise odors tend to become much more pronounced.

                2. Clorinda*

                  Also, the daily accessorizing for variety is even more exhausting than just grabbing a whole different garment. I did a 30 day challenge and would not do the 100 for that reason.

                3. Dahlia*

                  The advantage is you post a picture of yourself wearing it every day and get a large coupon off your next purchase from the company.

                  It’s a challenge, not a lifestyle.

                4. Waiting on the bus*

                  The way I understood Antilles the point isn’t that one dress will last you longer that way (so you have to buy less overthe year). The idea is that under normal circumstances you would buy the dress, wear it a handful of times while it was new and then it disappears into the back of the closet because you bought a new shiny dress (that you then also only wear a handful of times until you buy another new dress….)

                  So by wearing the dress for 100 days you’re not “wasting” all the labour and ressources that have gone into it the way you would when you wear the dress only a handful of times (and then stop wearing it not because it became unwearable, but because it’s not in style anymore or because you bought something else and lost interest in the original dress).

                  I can sort of understand it because I do often find garments that I’ve hardly ever worn whenever I clean out my closet. But I also had to buy a skirt this year to wear to work because I always wear the same black jeans + blouse combo on my office days but, thanks to the heat wave, the jeans was way too hot. It never really occurred to me that my coworkers might have noticed and have opinions on that.

                5. DisgruntledPelican*

                  The dress isn’t being worn by Cinderella. It won’t magically turn to rags on Day 101.

            7. Spencer Hastings*

              If they were wearing the same clothes every day, or at least identical pieces in the same colors? And if you worked with them closely? I don’t see how it would be that surprising for people to notice, no matter whether it was a man or a woman. Like “oh yeah, that’s Dave, always with the light blue shirt and navy pants.”

              I think Myrin explained it better than I did — there’s a difference between seeing someone’s torso for ~1 hour a day on TV and working alongside the actual person.

              I’m not disputing that there’s a double standard, or that a female anchor wearing a dress twice is an incredibly stupid thing for viewers to be angry about — yes, there is one, and it really is stupid. I was merely objecting to the extreme case that was being put forward, that *nobody would notice* on a man even if it were a coworker, in person.

            8. to varying degrees*

              I do think suits would make it easier for a man to get away with it, however a polo and khakis? Much more noticeable.

            9. Artemesia*

              I look like I wear pretty much the same thing each day but I in fact have at least 10 fitted black t-shirts, and 10 or 12 jewel tone turtlenecks in winter.

              Men often wear suit/white shirt (well less now than 20 years ago but where suits are worn it is possible for it to be standard blue suit/white shirt without triggering the thought that it is ‘the same.’

            10. RebelwithMouseyHair*

              I think the dress is to be hand-washed, thus using much less water than in a machine.
              When I’m travelling, I always wash my clothes in the shower when I shower, because I don’t have enough clothes to ever make it worthwhile to find a launderette. I use the same very basic olive oil-based soap for my body and clothes, works just fine. It works so well I always wonder why I don’t keep it up at home… but once I have my entire wardrobe back, and my washing machine, I get lazy. Especially since I’ll have stopped washing in the last few day, because after all I can’t put wet clothes in the suitcase when travelling home.

          2. Aggretsuko*

            I knew one guy who wore the same (kind) of black shirt and black pants every day for years. Then he switched to black shirt and tan pants. EVERYONE NOTICED THAT ONE.

            Yes, we noticed he had the same outfit every day, but he was a crafter person dealing with industrial stuff, not Boring Guy in Boring Business Suit. I can easily see people not noticing a suit because suits are boring.

          3. No pineapple on pizza*

            I have a male colleague (we’re teachers) who does wear the same thing every day: dark blue trousers, a plain dark blue polo shirt, and in winter he adds a plain dark blue sweatshirt. Even in the middle of summer, still the same! He also appears to wear the same shoes all year round. His clothes are always clean and he definitely doesn’t smell. I’ve never asked him about it (none of my business) but I imagine that he’s not at all interested in clothes, has found a comfortable outfit and wants to stick with it as it works for him.

            1. JustaTech*

              One of my bosses wears the same (basic) outfit every day to the point that it was his team’s Halloween costume one year: loafers, white socks, jeans, a polo shirt (long sleeved in winter, short sleeved in summer) and a company fleece vest (all year).

              Honestly the only reason I took note of his regular outfit before the costume thing (which he took as a high compliment) was when we had an audit that company policy said we needed to dress up for, specifically “no jeans” and while the rest of us are digging in the back of our wardrobes for our “good” work clothes the bosses (OK, the two bosses with the same name) were still wearing jeans.

              As someone who will be wearing the same 5 dresses for the rest of the summer, and a slightly different 7 dresses for the rest of the year after that, I sure hope no one cares *that* much.

          4. Myrin*

            Yeah, I think the newscaster situation very nicely shines a light on sexism in the TV industry or even just people-in-the-public-eye-but-generally-only-seen-for-a-short-amount-of-time (like celebrities on the red carpet, for example; I seem to remember an actor (?) doing a similar experiment a while back) but I don’t think it’s 100% comparable to how we view people in our personal life.
            People are certainly going to have a much harder time remembering what someone whose upper body they see for 15 minutes every other day wears than what someone who they interact with or see for eight hours every day wears.
            I’m very observant and even I might have some trouble with the former, although I’d wager a guess that if I really watched a programme daily, I would end up realising that the guy always wears the same suit – it simply wouldn’t ever occur to me to do anything with that information.

            1. Pennyworth*

              I wonder how people would react if a female newscaster just announced that she was going to wear the same dress, and just did it. I’d be cheering her on.

          5. Amy*

            My husband used to wear 3 identical suits day in and out. He changed nothing but the tie.

            Zero people ever said anything

          6. Phony Genius*

            I am male. I once wore gray shirts two days in a row. They were different shades of gray. Somebody did say “didn’t you wear gray yesterday?” (It was a woman, if it matters.) So some people may notice. And I no longer wear the same color family on consecutive days.

          7. Little Marshmallow*

            I don’t even remember what I wore to work today… so yeah I wouldn’t notice if a colleague wore the same thing every day.

        3. KelseyCorvo*

          That’s such a different situation though. Who would say something – viewers, to themselves, at home? They’re watching on a TV, but most probably aren’t watching every single day. If they do, it’s only for a few minutes. And they can’t comment through their TV if they do notice, and it’s hardly worth finding the station’s social media account just to comment on that.

          If the guy were in an office and wore the same suit every day – and definitely the same non-suit every day – yes, people would notice.

          1. Artemesia*

            but the whole point was that nobody said anything when the male newscaster did this, but the women got people writing in when they wore the same thing twice in a week.

              1. CdnAcct*

                The letters are not from women, but to the women newscasters. 100% those letters aren’t just from women, men can be just as nosy and judgemental.

        4. HufferWare*

          We’re all pointing to an 8 year old article about 1 news anchor in Australia as to why OP will be bullied for wearing the same dress? I don’t feel this is a slam dunk! I do not agree that OPs office mates are going to behave like the type of people who write into TV stations about their anchors’ wardrobes. I also think we should all do a little something called “considering the source”. Just because someone has thoughts about something doesn’t mean they matter. If the petty, gossipy coworker has feelings about their co-worker’s clothes, who cares! This entire website is dedicated to not caring about the petty gossips who make work suck! Wear your dress, the people who matter (rational professionals) will not care. If you work with creeps and busy bodies, you’ll find out soon enough and that will be useful info to keep in your pocket (of the dress you’ve been wearing for 15 weeks straight)

          1. JustaTech*

            I don’t think we’re saying the OP will be bullied about the dress, we’re reacting to Chad’s comment about this being a men vs women thing. Because it is a pretty clear case of where a woman is *likely* to be judged differently (and more harshly) than a man.

            Here’s a more recent example: Steve Jobs (and to a lesser extend Mark Zuckerberg) was renowned for only wearing one outfit (black turtleneck and jeans), but when Elizabeth Holmes (the Theranos CEO) did that, it was called out repeatedly, even before all the problems there came to light.

      2. Emmy Noether*

        I think this depends on a lot of factors, such as what the clothes are and the type of workplace. I’m pretty sure a man could get away with wearing the same grey or blue suit and white shirt every day, especially if he changed up the tie (as the newscaster did). People wouldn’t register that it’s the same suit, because a lot of them look similar anyway, and the tie is the eyecatcher. May also work for blue jeans and a white tee. Basically, clothes that just register as generic. I’m not so sure a man could wear the same bright pink suit every day and not get comments (he’d probably get comments starting the *first* day, but that’s another issue).

        Now, women have a lot more variety in dress, so there’s less of a generic uniform to fall back on. It could maaaayyybe work with a dark gray suit and different shirt and accessories, or a black shift dress if one changed it up with a shirt underneath one day and a sweater over the next.

        1. Ellis Bell*

          I think men’s clothes are more likely to have multiples or look similar enough to be multiples. Like, suits that are same, white shirts that are the same or two plain navy sweatshirts. I think the minute you add a stripe or something distinctive you’re in the same boat as women and it’s likely to be noticed. However there is a still a disparity in that women’s clothes are expected to be distinctive so if you do a plain black dress it may be perceived as odd, even if you say you have three of them.

          1. Asenath*

            For years I, a woman, wore plain black slacks (not always exactly the same brand and style, but as similar as I could find) and a limited number of different coloured or patterned tops to work. No one ever said a word, although I suspect there may have been the occasional comment behind my back because it was unusual, and someone is bound to gossip. I think the reason it worked was that it was a fairly informal place, and – most importantly – I had a back office type of job; nothing customer-facing or “representing the employer”. From my point of view, I liked comfort, not having to think too much about what I put on in the morning, and the ease of care of the garments I chose.

            But that wasn’t exactly the same thing; I did have some variations. I personally might not notice someone wearing the same dress every day, particularly if they had different accessories, but in a new job where I wasn’t quite confident about the dress norms, I’d wait a while to do it.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              That’s what I do now. I have enough black pants for the week and numerous tops for the seasons. My boss always says that I look fine. She’s the only opinion I care about.

            2. Bagpuss*

              Yes, I used to wear Black trousers and a white blouse almost evey day – mainly because at the time I used to do a lot of injunctions so might need to go to court with no notice, so it made sense to wear clothes which complied with the court dress code.

              Now I rarely have to go to court without knowing in advance so I tend to wear black trouders and have a slightly wider varierty of tops. Ocassionally I wear a dress but it is rare, and I if I am not wearing a suit jacket I am often wearing a bacl cargigan, so the general effect of a black suit is there. I never havie any comments about it weven when it was much less variable, but I suspect that may in part have been becaue the more observant peole would have seen that it was a differnet white or cream blouse each day and more than one black jacket.

              I hate clothes shppingso do tend to buy more than one of the same paid or trousers or shorts of find ones that look smart enough for work and which are comfortable and fit.

              I think most people have a limited wardrobe so you do see the same thing again and again. I wouldn’t parrticuarlly notice for either gender unless there was an issue – e.g. them wearing something which was noticeably stained or torn, or if they did smell.

              (The emlly co-worker has only happened once, and our manger / HR person did have to speak with them.It was a man and he was on medication which had a side effect of excess sweating, (and possibly smellier sweat than normal) but he did need to be told that he it was understood that he couldn’t help the visible damp patches but he did need to be diligent about washing and about wearing clean clothes evey day. IT was a very uncomfrtable conversation but things did improve alot once he started changing his shirt every day.

            3. UKDancer*

              I have done something similar. When I find a pair of trousers I like I tend to buy a few of them, if possible in a range of colours and then wear them with different tops and blazers for the occasion with a range of formalities. In summer I wear dresses but I tend to have a few of the same design in different colours. Simply because when I find something that suits me I tend to get it a couple of times over.

            4. HufferWare*

              I’ve worked in several healthcare admin jobs with strict dress codes so everyone every day wore either a black, grey, or navy suit and either white or cream colored blouses/shirts. No jewelry except wedding rings and small religious necklaces allowed; only stud earrings (one piercing per ear, earlobes only) in pearl, silver or gold toned metal. No “switching it up” with different accessories as they were not allowed. Most retail jobs have uniforms, many industrial jobs have uniforms. Cops, firefighters, nurses, all wear the same thing every day to work. People wearing the same clothes to work every day is not that weird/abnormal. I think a lot of commenters hit the nail on the head: the more distinctive your clothing, the more obvious that you’re wearing the same thing over and over. A black suit or dress zazzed up with different ties or accessories is a lot less noticeable than a bright print or pattern.

            5. EmmaPoet*

              I’ve had several different self-chosen uniform looks at work over the years (all in public facing jobs):
              *black or khaki pants with white blouses and a cardigan or sweater as needed. I usually wore black in winter and khaki in summer (4 season climate and I’d have cooked walking several miles a day outside in black in July.) Nobody ever seemed to notice. I’d generally have a couple pairs of the pants and enough blouses to get through a week plus an extra if something had a spot.
              *cotton tops with long sleeves in varying colors/sweaters and dark denim jeans. Ditto above for quantity.
              *current look- cotton tops in varying colors and long lightweight skirts with a light shawl or sweater, since I live in a hot climate. The only thing anyone at work ever says is, “You look so nice!” I get positive comments from coworkers as well as the public. So maybe I’m in a more fashion-aware place? Not sure.

        2. MK*

          Yes, while it’s true that women’s appearance is under much more scrutiny, this has a lot to do with how generic the clothes are. My best friend has been wearing the same two pantsuits to work for the past 4 years, only alternating shirts and blouses, and nobody noticed. Another colleague wore black for a year (because of mourning) and someone asked her if it was expensive to get a whole new wardrobe, when she only wore the same 4 garments; I guess people only saw “black” and just assumed it was different.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            I remember tongues flapping if Princess Di wore an outfit twice. Sure, wear it once so we can all comment on the wastefulness. sigh.

            1. MK*

              People commented on her for everything, and that goes for most celebrities. And anchorpeople fall into that broad category, that’s why I am not sue the article people are linking to is incredibly relevant. I used to be a lawyer and now work in the courthouse; in my experience no one, man or woman, was expected to never repeat an outfit. On average, I would say people didn’t wear the same outfit in the same week, and many repeated the same black suit, pants or blazer in the same week with a different shirt or styling. I suppose culture and field might play into this a lot.

        3. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

          I’ve worn the same same pants, socks, and shoes to work for months on end but with a different colored shirt each day, and no one has ever made a remark about it to me. I buy a new set of 5-10 pairs of identical pants (or about 14 pairs of identical socks) every time enough of the old ones have holes in them, but it can be a year of the same pants every single day and no one seems to notice. (I don’t wear the same actual pairs of pants and socks each day, but when I find pants or socks I like, I buy enough identical pairs that I can wear just that kind while maintaining a weekly or, ideally, fortnightly laundry schedule.)

          The shirts are also all basically the same shirt but in different printed patterns and colors, and I have enough of them to go about 2 weeks without repeating a shirt. That seems to be enough to fulfill the social obligation of “wearing different clothes” well enough that no one has complained about it to me, although I am not in a job where I’m expected to be fashionable.

          Over a decade ago, when I was willing to try harder, I used to make myself wear a skirt once a week just for variety, but I’ve lost interest in doing so over the years. (It was always the same skirt, since I only had one skirt I actually liked and it was hand sewn so I couldn’t easily buy more.)

          1. Emmy Noether*

            Yes, this does not surprise me. I’m assuming the pants, shoes and socks you choose are not that eyecatching (so, like, not pink-and-orange polkadot pants with rainbow socks and glitter shoes), so the patterned/colored shirts are what is registering. If people give it a thought at all, they probably think, “oh, seven hobbits really likes navy pants” and assume they are just very similar pants.

            1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

              The pants are, indeed, a very boring neutral. I think it also helps that pants are further away from my face, so people spend more time looking at my shirt as a side effect of maintaining eye contact than they do my pants. (I am now tempted to spend a year wearing identical black shirts with different loud pajama pants each day to conduct that version of the experiment, but sadly the dress code at work does not permit pajamas and finding loudly patterned “daywear” pants is probably not worth the effort.)

              1. Emmy Noether*

                I, for one, would be very interested in the results of that experiment. Loud pants for science!

          2. Asenath*

            I just posted that I followed essentially the same method of clothing myself for work! I did (and do) wear skirts and dresses, even very rarely at work, but only during our brief summer. I’m not much interested in wearing them at times of year when I’d have to wear panty hose, and different shoes (that aren’t sandals).

            1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

              Yeah, my dislike for the shoes I’d need to wear with skirts is a lot of what drove me away from them. I have wide enough feet that I have to buy men’s wide shoes (which are wider than women’s wide shoes), and finding men’s shoes that pair well with skirts can be challenging.

              My old trick for avoiding panty hose (which only works when paired with long enough skirts) is to buy black soccer socks in a brand that puts their logo near the toe rather than the top (usually a cheaper brand, since Nike and Adidas assume you want to show off which brand you bought). I got plain, opaque, over-the-knee socks that read well enough as tights from a distance, could be washed in a washing machine without fussing, didn’t run or snag, and came in the “in between” size I need for socks. (I wear a “medium” in athletic socks, which is larger than the typical “women’s” sock but smaller than the typical “men’s” sock. This size tends to exist in athletic brands that offer XS-XL or S-L unisex socks and not in fashion brands that offer gendered “one size” socks.)

              1. Talvi*

                I wear fleece-lined tights when wearing a skirt in the winter (paired with a longer, heavier skirt, it is warmer than pants on the coldest of bitterly cold days), but in the summer I do much the same thing! Thin, black knee-high socks look like hose from a distance but are much cooler and more comfortable to wear.

      3. Warrior Princess xena*

        I don’t know about men vs women as much, but I for one notice when outfits change rather than when they stay the same. My brothers both like to wear the same style and color of pants consistently once they’ve found something they like and I only really notice a change when they start wearing a different kind

      4. Esmeralda*

        Eh. Suit — no one will comment. White polo and khakis — no one will comment. Button down and dark pants — no one will comment.

        My point being that 1. Men have a range of bland “uniforms” they can wear and no one will notice or say anything or care. 2. Unless it is stinky or dirty, men’s clothes just don’t get noticed. 3. Unless, of course, the man in question wears spectacularly beautifully made clothing or flashy or outre clothing.

        Unless a woman is in a job with an actual uniform, what she wears is very likely to be noticed. And commented on.

        Exception: Very clever accessorizing with bland/uniform clothing. If OP chooses a plain black dress in a simple and flattering cut, then switches up shoes, sweater/jacket, jewelry/scarves — they can probably get away with it.

      5. QA Peon*

        I had a college professor who wore a plaid shirt, corduroy pants and Vans every single day for the 4 years I knew him. We definitely noticed that. At first we thought it was the same outfit every day until we started tracking the colors, lol.

        1. Robin*

          I had a professor who wore the exact same outfit every day: white collared shirt, black pants (jeans? slacks? hard to see from the seats). The only thing that changed was the tie, which we believe was chosen at random. This was to streamline morning decision making.

          Everyone in my program takes this professor’s class, as it is a foundational course. It has become a Halloween tradition to show up in a white shirt, black bottoms (preferably pants), and some form of neck accessory (ties, scarfs, whatever you have). Of course, we take a photo!

    4. It's Bamboo O'Clock, Tick-Tock*

      If Alison had made the world, it would be in much better shape than it actually is.

    5. SoupySales*

      Triggered much?
      Alison made a legitimate point about double standards and then answered the question.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Yep. This is pretty much well established knowledge about men’s wear vs women’s wear.
        There are also studies talking about how much more it costs a woman to dress for work than a man. Tipping the wage scale even more.

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          And women’s clothing is generally not made as well, which means it has to be replaced more often.

          1. Curmudgeon in California*

            This. When I was trying to work in a typical woman’s role the clothes were flimsy, but expensive.


            One day when I was younger I came into a little cash (I was pretty broke back then) and decided to get new clothes. I bought two pair of jeans that day – one mens, for about $20, and one womens, for about $40. Both pairs fit me. I alternated them when I wore jeans.

            The womens pair fell apart in six months – the seams gave way and the inner thighs frayed. The mens pair I wore for about ten years. Yes, the cheaper pair of mens pants lasted more than ten times the womens pants. Same type of material – but the thickness and construction on the mens pants was much better, for half the price.

            I never buy womens shirts any more – they just don’t last and seldom fit properly. Womens pants often fit, but fall apart too quickly.

            Fortunately I’m enby now so it doesn’t bother me to shop in the mens department.

    6. Cool Ranch*

      What about Alison’s reply is “men vs women”? Pointing out an imbalance in expectations isn’t being preachy or combative — it’s acknowledging a reality that the LW might be facing and connecting with that experience. And if the merest mention of women’s experiences makes you uncomfortable or upset, you might want to ask yourself why that’s the case. Sometimes we default to writing something off when lingering on it is too uncomfortable.

      1. Myrin*

        Yeah, the first paragraph could have been left out but I don’t think it’s antagonistic or reaching to have it(s realism) in there. It’s not even the main point of this answer!

        1. londonedit*

          And there is totally an imbalance. The tabloids go mad every time the Duchess of Cambridge re-wears a coat or a dress, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen any comment on whether Prince William might be wearing a suit or a tie that he’s worn before. It’s expected that men will have a couple of suits and a few shirts and ties and wear those on rotation, but somehow women are expected to have a never-ending wardrobe of options and can’t be seen wearing the same thing too often.

          1. Pennyworth*

            They do comment on his evening wear if it is out of the normal, like a velvet jacket or the velvet slippers with wings he had for the Top Gun premier in London. Otherwise, no comment.

        2. KelseyCorvo*

          The flaw in that sentence is the underlying assumption that “men wear suits at work” – it’s very rare now, in 2022. So that becomes a strawman argument. Yes, a man wearing the same suit every day would be less noticed than a woman wearing the same dress every day, but that’s not the case for most people in most offices. And that stretch is what causes the problem.

          1. londonedit*

            A man could just as easily wear the same jeans and white shirt to the office every day and I doubt people would really bat an eyelid.

            1. KelseyCorvo*

              Disagree. I hear men trash talking guys who wear similar stuff often – not the same stuff, and not every day. People notice.

              1. Ann Ominous*

                Sure, there are individual exceptions, but as an overall general societal leaning, the pattern holds true that women are more scrutinized for their looks than men.

          2. Esmeralda*

            As I noted above — men have other uniforms. Plain dark pants and button down, khakis and white/tan/black polo.

          3. Bagpuss*

            That depends a lot of the type of work. 2 of the three men I work with wear suits on a daily basis and the third wears very similar clothes every day.

            But there’s not really a significnat distinction between a man waeringthe same suit evey dy and a woman wearing the same dress evey day,. In each case they can change it by wearing a dfferent tie or different scarf / brooch /other acessory but the reaction would likely be very different.

            In my experience, men who do wear suits daily do generally tend to wear the same style and often colour of short evey day, the only thing that changes visually is the tie.

            And men who doesn’t weear suits often do wear very similar looking clothes every days and it doesn’t get the same attention that a similar lack of variety for a woman gets.

            I am sure that there are exceptions – if you work in the offices of a fashion house , sylist or designer then I imagine that there would be more focus on everyone, regardless of gender, for instnace, but in most workplaces the reality s that the expectations and the things that make a subtle difference to how professional your are seen as beong are different fr men and for women.

      2. Pugetkayak*

        I think a dress is more noticeable than say, a woman wearing pants and a blazer everyday. I think it depends on colors and patterns too. Something that catches the eye is a lot more memorable than a pale blue button up with a dark blazer or whatever. I could probably describe outfits that are more elaborate (flowy sleeves or bright patterns) v what guys traditional may wear to the office. I think woman are more likely to wear the former. I do think woman get noticed more, but tend to wear outfits that are also more eyecatching. Jewelry and different hairstyles also tend to be more noticeable, at least to me as a female who is not very into clothes or jewelry!

      1. NotARacoonKeeper*

        I just….Chad is the name I give imaginary men who say crap like this. Guess I don’t need to imagine a Chad anymore!

      2. Well...*

        Yes I feel like the username being Chad is one of those difficult to differentiate reality from parody moments.

    7. Dark Macadamia*

      I know right? And she made #2 about employers vs employees, and #3 about sighing, and …

      1. Well...*

        Lol! She keeping bring workplace advice into EVERYTHING in this site, ugh. (Cat posts and book recommendations are our only respite)

    8. Richard Hershberger*

      I would suspect, given the user name, satire, were it not for the subsequent comment being removed.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        If I recall correctly Chad has had other posts that seem to show they have missed the point.( I did not get to see this post here.)

    9. A Rusted Fence*

      I worked with a man who work the same black shirt, black pants, and black shoes everyday. I don’t know if he had a closet full of them or just one of each.

      I do know this: it was weird.

      Which brings me to one of my cardinal rules for life: don’t be weird.

      Being eccentric or marching to the beat of your own drummer is one thing. Weird is another.

      Wearing the same dress everyday will raise questions like your personal hygiene. That’s the kind of “individuality” you want to avoid because it comes across as weird.

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        “That’s the kind of “individuality” you want to avoid because it comes across as weird.”

        Or, for the classic statement of the underlying principle:

        “Your shower shoes have fungus on them. You’ll never make it to the bigs with fungus on your shower shoes. Think classy and you’ll be classy. If you win 20 in the show, you can let the fungus grow back on your shower shoes and the press will think you’re colorful.”

      2. Eeyore's Missing Tale*

        This feels unkind. So what if he wanted to wear all black every day? Did he look dirty or did he smell?

        Personally, I like the lime green, chartreuse, or any other bright, acidic color. Do I think it’s weird when someone wears it or wears it daily? No, because it’s not my place to say you’re weird because you’re doing something I don’t care for.

        1. Melanie Cavill*

          I have a coworker who wears only black every day because they lost a child some years ago. It is definitely not something I would ever comment on. It’s possible Fence’s coworker does so for the same reason.

      3. Nameless in Customer Service*

        don’t be weird

        This is so third grade. If it doesn’t harm anyone, what’s actually wrong with being weird? I’ve personally seen a lot more harm done by forcing people to be normative for no good reason than “it’s how things are done”.

        1. Curmudgeon in California*


          I am weird. I am a geek, enby, disabled, ADD person who is old enough to not GAF about conforming to arbitrary rules. If a person doesn’t like that I wear the same style and colors every day, that’s a them problem, not a me problem.

        2. Emmy Noether*

          I actually like a little benign weirdness. I think it’s interesting. Unusual pastimes, creative clothing styles, weird life hacks, bring it on! Rich tapestry and whatnot.

      4. JustaTech*

        First, that’s not weird. It’s barely eccentric in my book.
        Second, while people should be aware of the possible repercussions of being judged to be “weird”, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t do it. (And some people can’t be “normal” no matter how hard they try.)

        Here’s an example of “choice that will result in people making unfavorable judgements about you” – there was a guy I sat behind in math class in college who wore the same shirt for a whole week. Not “a series of identical shirts” (I really wanted that to be the case), but the exact same shirt (I could tell by the food stains). The judgement wasn’t about wearing the same outfit, it was about him being dirty.

        1. Curmudgeon in California*

          The judgement wasn’t about wearing the same outfit, it was about him being dirty.

          This. I sometimes air and re-wear shirts, but not if they have stains.

          Back when I was in-office I would even have to check the shirts that came out of the wash to see that the food spill actually came out. Fortunately I wear colors where it isn’t too evident that a greasy stain survived the wash. I now tend to use pre-wash on food stains, because it’s always the greasy stuff that escapes.

      5. Very Social*

        Which brings me to one of my cardinal rules for life: don’t be weird.

        I’m so glad I don’t have to follow other people’s rules for life!

    10. L'étrangere*

      Lots of good comments here about different gendered expectations. But to answer the OP’s question more directly, I agree with Alison that it’d probably be best to postpone the attempt by a few months. For all you know nobody would notice, or you’d end up causing a general conversation about sustainability and a revolution in the company dress code and recycling practices, that’d be awesome. But in fact this is a new job, and you have no idea whether you would find any support or who it’d be most likely to come from. And because you’re new it’s likely every trivial thing about you will be noticed more, and talked about, in a way that would be moot in a few months. People might simply assume you are a Steve Jobs fanatic and into some uniform fetish. But what if you chafe under these restrictions and have an explosion of color and variety when this month is over? It’s not unreasonable to think you might suffer a rebound after conscious deprivation, much like people on diets do, how would you explain that to the new colleagues? Anyways, this is not a new concept by any means, your plan’s timing is entirely self-determined, it wouldn’t hurt you to introduce a bit of flexibility in the whole thing and concentrate on other things than a wardrobe experiment for your introduction to the job. Good luck, and congratulations on getting there now!

  4. IsbenTakesTea*

    OP#5 – It’s common at my company for people on my team to leave mid-meeting here and there for other priorities — usually a quick note in the chat about “ducking out for a client meeting” or “double-booked, I’ll check in later” is the way we go. It gives a small notification but doesn’t interrupt everyone. Unobtrusive departures is one of the few benefits of video calls!

    1. Angstrom*

      Exactly. A short vague message in the chat(“Have another meeting. Will catch up later”) is fine where I work.

      1. allathian*

        Yes, this. It rarely happens to me, because I don’t generally have very many meetings, 5 meetings a week is a lot for me. Some people I work with routinely have that many in a day, so they’re constantly either in back to back meetings, or double booked.

    2. Green great dragon*

      Here too. We usually add something like ‘really interesting, thanks’ if it’s close to the end of the meeting, or maybe ‘please can I have the slides and any meeting notes’ or ‘colleague x will let me know what I’ve missed’.

    3. Antilles*

      Agreed. I have a lot of meetings with various companies and this is extremely common.

      You can also do this if the meeting has several topics but you only need to be present for one of them. Say your piece, interact with your part of the meeting, then if you’re sure the rest of the meeting is irrelevant to you, you can then post your goodbye and bail out to reclaim the remaining 30 minutes of the meeting.

    4. Contracts Killer*

      Yes, I agree that a quick note is all that’s necessary and much appreciated. Otherwise, I know that some meetings will pause for a bit to see if you just dropped off for technical difficulties and are planning to hop back in.

    5. EPLawyer*

      Yes, just drop out quick without interrupting things.

      Although now I am very worried about the groats explosion. Hope nobody was hurt. I can just IMAGINE the paperwork involved with that.

    6. ferrina*

      If it’s a large meeting (15+) and you’re not explicitly active in the meeting, it’s totally fine to disappear. As part of my job I regularly do large presentations (30-70 people). I don’t even notice if someone drops out.
      In smaller settings (<10), a quick note in the meeting chat feature is fine. "Sounds like this is more focused on X, so I'm going to drop. Thanks!"

  5. SoupySales*

    If I were LW4, I wouldn’t bother with an explanation. I simply wouldn’t invite them. You’ve known them only for a year and you’re not keeping in touch with any of them. Nothing against you, LW, but I don’t think any of your former co-workers would be devastated if they didn’t receive an invitation, nor should they be surprised, given the circumstances.

    1. Aggretsuko*

      I once got a “save the date” from a former coworker on a MASSIVE email sent to like a hundred people. I reasonably assumed she didn’t mean to invite me and indeed, she did not.

      Former coworkers aren’t going to notice the lack of invite after you got fired. I would assume I wasn’t after that.

      1. Reality.Bites*

        I would definitely not bother sending an “unsave the date” to the ones who went radio silent to OP. If they have any small doubts about whether they’re invited, they get to keep them as long as possible.

      2. Pugetkayak*

        Unless it’s someone very close to me, I’m simply not saving a date 6 months in the future.

    2. Dark Macadamia*

      Yeah, I think sending out a “never mind” announcement draws attention to it unnecessarily. I guess if people were really excited or it’s a destination wedding or something else they might spend a lot on in advance it would be nice to update them but if I got a save the date to a work acquaintance’s wedding and then they got fired suddenly and neither of us bothered to stay in touch, I might not even notice I never got an invite until I saw wedding photos on Facebook! I’d be more likely to be surprised by an invite than disappointed by the lack of one.

      1. SoupySales*

        Yes! “Draws attention to it unnecessarily” That’s the discomfort I was feeling about Alison’s suggestion, but I couldn’t put my finger on it!

      2. Emmy Noether*

        I had the same thought. Essentially disinviting would be weirder than ghosting in this case actually. I doubt the former colleagues are planning on going and holding the date.

        1. Angelinha*

          They already got a formal save the date card, though. In that case, you do need to notify them the actual invitation won’t follow.

          1. KelseyCorvo*

            Agreed, of course. You told them to save a date – that is a pre-invitation. You asked them for a commitment, and now you have to formally rescind. It’ll be awkward and possibly painful. That’s unfortunate, especially considering the circumstances. But it still needs to be done.

          2. KRM*

            But nobody has had any contact at all after OP was fired. I doubt they’re really thinking about it. Just don’t send the invite. It’s not like you’re going to alienate your close friends by uninviting them. OP has literally had zero contact with anyone since being fired. I doubt any of them have the ‘save the date’ on their fridge while breathlessly awaiting an invite.

            1. Antilles*

              These are former co-workers who didn’t care enough about OP to even pick up the phone and make vague sympathetic noises about OP getting fired, nor to reach out in any way and see how OP’s been doing in the month since being let go.
              Why would we think these co-workers (who clearly don’t care much about OP) are going to pay much attention to whether or not they’re invited to OP’s wedding?

            2. Ask a Manager* Post author

              No, some of them have had contact! From the post: “their reactions ran the gamut from Extremely Supportive to Radio Silence.” If they were all radio silence, I’d agree with you — but some think they’re still on good terms.

              1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

                Which is precisely why I think that there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Those who never offered a word of comfort, deserve nothing. As Reality Bites said, “if they have any small doubts about whether they’re invited, they get to keep them as long as possible.”
                Those who did respond with empathy… I’d maybe scale back their participation, inviting them just to whatever part of the day could easily accommodate a few extra people. In France we have a “vin d’honneur”, which is just drinks and a few nibbles, in between the ceremony and the reception. My colleague who had a destination wedding, had to have the ceremony in her home town because that’s the rule in France, then the reception elsewhere. The vin d’honneur was held at the bride and groom’s home, after the ceremony, and was attended by all those who weren’t going to the reception. Some of those were not invited to the reception, others, like me, had declined to attend because we didn’t feel like spending six hours in the car or spending a fortune on a flight, just to get to the reception.

          3. Gray Lady*

            People who aren’t in touch with the LW are presumably not saving the date anymore, if they ever were. (I’ve received saved the dates for weddings I did not intend to attend for whatever reason, and just didn’t save the date for them.)

            If she wants to send out a concise email indicating that the guest list has changed for whatever excuses she wishes to give, it would be nice, but I wouldn’t worry about people expecting an invitation, or much care if they were miffed at not getting one after having had no contact with me in this situation.

            1. Charlotte Lucas*

              Yeah. I think of a STD (yes, that’s what my family calls them) as just an FYI. I wouldn’t hold that date for a coworker I no longer had contact with. In fact, I have a feeling none of the LW’s coworkers are saving that date anymore.

              Also, that employee sounds super shady.

    3. Claire W*

      Yeah honestly if I was one of the former coworkers from that letter, as much as I’d feel bad for OP, it would likely be a bit of a relief to not be invited so I wouldn’t have to worry about the awkwardness…

      1. londonedit*

        Yes – if I’d had a vague ‘save the date’ from someone and then I wasn’t working with them anymore, I wouldn’t expect to be invited to the wedding. It’d be the same if I’d been the one to move on to a new job – unless I was very close to the co-worker who was getting married, or the wedding was in a month and I’d already responded to a formal invitation, I’d assume the end of the working relationship would be the end of the invitation to the wedding.

        1. MK*

          Especially since I assume the point of “save the date” announcements is for people to keep that date free, and the reason it’s considered rude to then not invite them is because they might have altered their plans or declined other invitations. In this case, I doubt the OP’s former-and-now-estranged coworkers are making plans based on this, so they have probably forgotten the whole thing.

          1. Emmy Noether*

            This is the reason I always thought save-the-dates a strange custom (my culture does not do them). If the invitation is guaranteed to follow, then the save-the-date IS the invitation, it’s just that more details follow later. I think this is the first case I saw where there’s a reasonable distinction between the two and there doesn’t have to be an actual invitation to the colleagues now.

            1. londonedit*

              Most of the time in my (UK) culture if you receive a save-the-date then you can expect an invitation to follow, but I think with it being a work situation it’s a bit different and I don’t think the usual rules would necessarily apply – I certainly wouldn’t expect someone to follow through with an invitation if we were no longer in touch and no longer working together.

            2. KelseyCorvo*

              That is the correct way to view it. “You are invited to this event on this date. Please mark it on your calendar so you don’t schedule anything else for that date. You will be sent more details at a later date but we wanted to get this out now so you have a lot of time to avoid conflicts.”

            3. Snow Globe*

              The purpose of the Save-the-Date is that there isn’t yet enough information about time/venue to issue a proper invitation. But you would want those who may need to make travel or child care arrangements to have sufficient time to plan. (For my own wedding, I actually only sent out save-the-dates to family who would need to fly to the wedding. I didn’t feel the need to send them to local friends, who got their invitation about 8 weeks out.)

              1. Charlotte Lucas*

                Also so that they know a wedding is coming in case there is a conflict.

                I don’t remember them being a thing until the 90s.

                1. doreen*

                  I don’t think they were a thing before the 90s either. But in many situations where save the dates aren’t used, there is some functional equivalent. For example, when I got married in 1987, I don’t think I had ever heard of save the dates and had certainly never received one. But there were a couple of aunts on one side of my family who were the clearinghouses – before you booked a venue, you checked with them to see which dates other cousins had already taken. And they were your first calls after booking so anyone planning in the future knew your dates. And the same went for my husband’s large family. Of course, word spread so most of my guests knew the date long before the wedding and could avoid making other plans if they expected to be invited and wanted to attend.

                2. Bagpuss*

                  No, but I think it’s become much more common to schedule things much further in advance.
                  Previously, I think the planning period tended to be much shorter and invitations were sent out nearer to the date so you typically would know all of the relvant details and wouldn’t need to send a save the date.
                  I guess it’s partly that pople are more likely to be living together before marriage so the wedding isnt he passport to be able to leave home and live as a couple, and that weddings are often bigger and more elborate, and more likely to be at venues that get booked up in advance.

            4. starfox*

              Yeah, these comments are a bit baffling to me. If I receive a “save the date” for the wedding, in my mind, that means I’m invited. If I had, you know, “saved the date” and already planned to go, I might not even notice that I didn’t receive a formal invitation, and then awkwardly show up when I’m not actually invited…. Someone is going to need to tell me that I’m not invited!

    4. mreasy*

      To avoid people saving the date, it’s polite to reach out. But honestly I’d just send an email saying “our plans have changed, thank you but no need to save [date] for our wedding anymore” and they’ll get it.

      1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

        I’d be worried people would read other things into this, like the wedding is off. I don’t think the OP needs to say anything, but if they feel the loop needs to be closed, a bit more detail that it’s a smaller wedding or other verbiage that makes it clear the wedding is still happening will help stop gossip.

        1. philmar*

          if they aren’t in contact any more, why does it matter if the old co-workers think the wedding is off?

          1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

            Why invite unnecessary gossip? You ever know if a friend of a friend knows a coworker and before you know it someone actually invited to the wedding hears a rumor the wedding is off. If OP feels the need to say something, saying they scaled back the wedding takes just as much effort as “our plans have changed” but doesn’t leave to speculation.

            But my growing up in a tiny Midwest town, where once I returned for a visit and went out to a bar without my husband prompted someone to tell someone who knew my mom and then ask if my husband I were “ok”, may be guiding my advice. (For the record, I was at said bar all of an hour and didn’t do anything that would have prompted questions, small towns just suck like that)

            1. Eldritch Office Worker*

              I can see the small town skew, but in most cases that kind of idle speculation just doesn’t matter/will never get back to the bride/doesn’t impact anyone. I totally get that gossip can be harmful in more insular communities but I also don’t think those kind of groups tend to go full radio silence in a situation like this, so from context I’d err towards not worrying about it.

    5. Delta Delta*

      I’d think if someone got another save the date for the same date they might reach out to see what the story is, but otherwise would likely assume they’re no longer invited.

    6. ecnaseener*

      Mmmm, i still think it’s worth updating them – at least the ones who responded kindly to LW’s message after being fired. The ones who ignored LW, fine, that should be obvious – but if I got an “official” save the date, I’d put it on my calendar and keep it there. If I hadn’t done anything wrong, I wouldn’t just assume I’m no longer invited. I wouldn’t be devastated but I’d be miffed that they didn’t bother to tell me I was no longer invited.

      1. Lily Potter*

        +1. The folks who reached out to you post-layoff should be either sent invitations or an email indicating that you’re reducing the guest list. The ones who ignored you can pound sand.

        BTW, would it be terrible if the folks who were kind to you after the wedding DID attend? If they’re no longer interested, they’ll graciously decline, but a wedding might be a nice opportunity for contact, if you have room on the list and in your budget. Just a thought.

      2. Office Lobster DJ*

        This is kind of where I land, too. It’s awkward as heck either way, but I think leaving an open loop will cause more stress for everyone. People wondering if they missed the invitation, OP wondering if they’ll somehow show up anyway….

        I wonder if there’s a former co-worker OP could deputize to get a feel if people still care and/or spread the “plans have changed” story.

    7. Daisy-dog*

      But the trend now is to put a website on the save-the-date. The former co-worker may not even notice that they don’t get an invitation. If they see the save-the-date again, then they might just go to the website and get all the details there. This is obviously not “proper”, but some people are clueless. I think the loop should be totally closed – especially if the wedding is local to this workplace.

      1. doreen*

        I haven’t seen it for a wedding yet but I’ve received other invitations where you reply on a website which would eliminate even looking for the actual invitation to reply. I’m sure someone has done it for a wedding and it would be very awkward if these people who received save-the-dates accepted the invitation on the website when the LW didn’t intend to invite them.

      2. one L lana*

        Honestly, if I received a Save the Date but not an invitation, my first assumption would be that my invitation got lost in the mail, and I might check the website or try to RSVP. Maybe not in a situation like this (and most websites only let people who match the formal guest list RSVP), but that’s much more awkward than a quick note saying plans have been scaled back.

        Too late for OP, but: We didn’t do save the dates for current coworkers for exactly this reason — too much time for things to change. The wedding was local for them, and they got formal invites 10 weeks out, at which point I figured I’d be happy to see them again even if circumstances changed in the interim.

    8. starfox*

      If I received a “save the date” and not an invitation, I’d assume my invitation got lost in the mail and probably still show up (if it was a wedding I wanted to attend, anyway). Or I would not even notice that I didn’t get an official invitation and show up anyway.

  6. Anblick*

    LW1: I completely feel that, I used to work at a fairly strict ‘business …..casual (yeah right)’ office. One of my bffs was literally a network tv weather woman, and while she was horribly underpaid (the topic for an entire other post), she did get a stipend and what she recommended to me was the site thredup.com! Basically online thrift but you can sort by size, color, etc and it simplifies life a lot. I would absolutely check it out for a lower budget still nicer end wardrobe. (of course now I’m perma-work from home and I still cruise it and buy too much stuff but at least it’s CHEAP!! hahah!)

    1. Ellis Bell*

      I think LW1 might be trying to avoid buying clothes for other reasons than budget if she’s doing a sustainability challenge.

      1. Emmy Noether*

        Thrifting is also arguably more sustainable than buying new (only if you actually replace a new purchase you would have needed though, not if it’s in addition).

        I read an interesting study recently that currently, thrifting is more prevalent in *higher* income brackets. It’s being driven by sustainability concerns (the negative spin on it is that rich people are buying themselves a good conscience by doing their extensive shopping sprees in high quality thrift stores, leaving people with less resources to only be able to afford new plastic sweatshop-produced stuff that falls apart after three wears and clogs up the landfills anyway.)

        1. Ellis Bell*

          OP1, not sure if you’re doing it more for the fun of the challenge or for the sustainability element, but I think you can probably still do one or both in some way. You could do a four or five piece challenge which would be a huge help to people who feel they can’t do just one dress in their field (or for their new job!), or who can’t drop a lot of money into just one item which would hold up for 100 days without feeling nervous about it. A black suit, neutral bottoms and a couple of shells will get you through most jobs, and it’s still a lot more sustainable than panic shopping the budget department of a big box. If you just want to be more sustainable, buy fewer things of better quality that will last and can pair well, from sustainable places. Good luck in your new job whatever you decide!

        2. mreasy*

          In the era of fast fashion, buying secondhand can be considered the only way to avoid complicity in that system. Sites like Poshmark are a great alternative to local thrift stores if they’re picked over (a bit pricier than Goodwill, but definitely more selection and still orders of magnitude less expensive than buying new).

        3. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          yes, and also, thin women snap up clothes that are too large, and take them in, meaning there are fewer clothes available to fat people.
          I don’t know, it feels like we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

      2. Lilo*

        Yeah, look I’m all for sustainability, but can we get real for a second? This “100 Day Dress” thing is a marketing thing. A real sustainability challenge would be to not buy anything at all, not buy this one dress (and potentially accessories to dress it up). Add onto that having to maybe laundry more often to wear the same thing every day and I’m really not sold on this. Just wear clothes you already own.

        Don’t risk your rep at work to participate in a marketing ploy.

        1. KateM*

          Agreed – as soon as it is suggested to dress this dress up in 100 different ways, I call BS on sustainability.

          1. Lilo*

            Also, if we get one more letter about this dress, I’m going to be convinced these letters are astroturfing by a clever PR office.

            1. Cambridge Comma*

              Whether they sent this letter or not, they are for sure very happy about it.
              Perhaps they could just pay for a sponsored post next time.

            2. *LW1*

              LW1 here, and while I heard about the dress via the site, if WoolAnd are paying me, they’re being so secretive even I haven’t noticed.

              1. Lilo*

                But that’s my point, right? The original letter made you buy something. That’s what feels so off about this whole thing to me. We can talk about sustainability and fast fashion, but something that focuses specifically in buying a $140 dress, that’s marketing. And there’s less shower, less brand specific snd arguably more environmentally friendly challenges you can do. Like going into your closet and rediscovering clothes you haven’t worn in a while instead of buying anything at all.

                1. EPLawyer*

                  Yep. You are literally doing their marketing for them. I believe you have to do social media posts so they know you are actually wearing the dress for 100 days. All of them tagged to them so everyone sees their name.

                  BRILLIANT strategy. You buy the dress from them, you do their marketing. They get new customers and more money.

                  If you like the dress buy it. Wear it often. But you don’t have to do PR for free.

        2. Cambridge Comma*

          Exactly, this is marketing. Challenges like not buying new clothes for a year and making do with what you have are about sustainability.

          1. Elle by the sea*

            It’s not that hard. I rarely buy clothes and every time I buy something, I give away something for charity. But I buy good quality clothes and wear most of them until they tear. I still wear clothes which I purchased or made/custom made 10-15 years ago. They all look clean and professional (although a bit edgy).

            But I think we have digressed from the original topic a bit. I think if the dress that LW1 has chosen is something basic or black and she is able to wear it with different blazers, cardigans and accessories, it won’t raise any eyebrows. But people are sometimes weird and behave unexpectedly. For example, I have two very different style dresses which people – for some reason – mistake for the same dress.

        3. Emmy Noether*

          Wait up, you’re supposed to buy a new dress for this challenge? I’m sorry, but that’s kind of infuriating to me. It’s the opposite of sustainable.

          It’s like a book on sustainability that I once saw that advised throwing away your plastic containers and buying new glass ones. That’s really counterproductive, and all about appearance over actual sense. Luckily it wasn’t my book, so I was spared having to throw it away.

          1. londonedit*

            Yup. The big sustainability slogan here is ‘reduce – reuse – recycle’, meaning that first off people should look to reduce the amount they buy, secondly they should aim to reuse as much as possible, and thirdly they should recycle anything they no longer have a use for. The idea isn’t meant to be ‘go out and buy a whole new set of lovely glass jars because plastic is evil’. Or, really, ‘go out and buy a new dress to wear for 100 days instead of wearing the stuff you already have in your wardrobe’.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              Or how about just going to a consignment shop or thrift store? It’s interesting to look at articles about how much clothing we throw out ever year. It’s also remarkable what you can find at tag sales. I picked up a $200 raincoat for $2 that I still get compliments on. At one of my own tag sales I sold a similar coat (my friend’s and not my size) to a woman for a similar price. I thought she was going to start crying- she could not believe she was getting the coat she always wanted and never thought she would afford. It was a classic cut, I am sure she will use it for years.

              1. EPLawyer*

                OMG, I found a $300 wool car coat (so looooong) at a thrift store. Which was having a sale. I got it for $30 — after tax. I still wear the coat. It’s a pretty color and keeps my legs warm in winter (I wear skirt suits because I prefer them).

            2. Emmy Noether*

              Maaaayyybe if part 2 of the challenge is “buy NO other clothes for the whole year (except socks and underwear)”, that could qualify as “reduce”. Like replacing what one would have bought with just the one dress?

          2. Lilo*

            And when you complete the challenge they give you a gift card to buy more stuff.

            There’s absolutely nothing wrong with buying yourself a new dress if you want one.

            Spinning this as being all about sustainability is what I find infuriating. It’s just a blatant, obvious marketing ploy, and based on my googling, a very successful one. And every article I can find is about this specific company’s dress, not tips on styling or accessorizing any neutral dress. Just blatant claiming of sustainability in order to sell something.

            1. DisneyChannelThis*

              The gift card is for less than the cost of the dresses too. So it’s not like you get a free dress for doing this or something.

          3. RebelwithMouseyHair*

            The thing is, the more you use plastic, the more tiny particles are shed by the plastic item. These particles are often shed in the washing machine or dishwasher, then they make their way to sea where they join islands of sludge floating around preventing the fish underneath from getting enough oxygen.
            I’m on a mission to have as little plastic as possible come into my home, anything that needs replacing, I’ll take time to find a non-plastic version. But I do keep plastic tubs from ice cream etc, I put leftovers in them. We had a party last weekend and there was far too much food, so all guests had to accept a tub of something before I let them go home!

        4. KelseyCorvo*

          I consider it to be a prank on the people who voluntarily do it, who don’t get that they’re being pranked. It really accomplishes nothing except making the person wearing the same outfit daily get noticed for the wrong reasons.

        5. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Eh, I easily have 2 dozen scarves and some vests bought or made or inherited over the years–no additional purchase needed to accessorize differently. (My problem would be shoes, if I don’t vary what I wear my feet react poorly, and finding dress-appropriate shoes for my problem feet is no fun.)

        6. Falling Diphthong*

          This. Why not be sustainable with clothes you already have?

          Also, if you want to prove something to yourself via doing something unusual at work, welp, when starting a new job is often not a good time. You should put it off for a while.

        7. River Otter*

          Yes, if you do the sustainability challenge you get a coupon for your next dress purchase. It’s a substantial coupon, but still. It doesn’t encourage people to think sustainably about their clothing. It is marketing for the dress manufacturer and a way to increase sales for existing customers.

        8. DisgruntledPelican*

          This just makes me laugh thinking about companies that are trying to promote more ethical practices going around saying “SHHH! DON’T TELL ANYONE!” I don’t care about the 100 Day whatever, but like…even companies promoting more ethical consumption or practices have to market.

    2. Limdood*

      Why not simply…. Give them a heads up about it? You would do exactly the same if you had other long prepared plans. It lets you give some notice, so they can expect it rather than take gradual notice. It also lets you test the waters of management’s reaction while at the same time informing them, rather than asking them. If their reaction pushes you too far into “not comfortable doing this now,” then you can make an informed decision to change plans rather than making one out of the fear of how they might react.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        Because it might still read as odd and you’re still trying to build capital and reputation at a new job. It just seems like a risk for no reward (especially since others have pointed out this challenge is…questionable).

        1. EPLawyer*

          This. Also there is no timeline for the challenge. So if you wanted to do it, you could still do it … just later when you’ve been at the job for awhile.

      2. KateM*

        How many other people associate “long prepared plans to give your new employer heads up about before you start to work for them” with social media challenges or what you plan to wear to work?

      3. Anon all day*

        No. As soon as OP says that she intends to do this, it’s going to be an immediate ding against her. It doesn’t matter if she then changes her mind. I simply cannot imagine how a new employer would react if you emailed them saying “I intend to wear the same dress for 100 days – any concerns with that?” It would be beyond bizarre.

  7. Sleepyhead*

    LW 3 – this could be a sign of a vocal tic like for someone with Tourette’s or on the autism spectrum. Throat clearing in particular is common. In which case they cannot control it. So proceed with caution.

    1. WoodswomanWrites*

      While I can’t speak to vocal tics for people with Tourette’s or on the autism spectrum, in my experience there’s a difference between sighs and groans like LW 3 mentions and clearing one’s throat. I was definitely someone who made little noises when I was first in the work world. I was unaware until a colleague politely brought it to my attention because it was distracting. I stopped and haven’t done it again after that.

      However, clearing my throat was a response to pollen and mold allergies that weren’t well controlled in my past. That was a medical condition and I couldn’t help it when my throat was itchy and gunky. Fortunately, my allergies are under control now and I don’t have that response anymore.

      1. Just Your Everyday Crone*

        Sighs and groans are also common for ND people. It’s a way of self-regulating.

    2. Myrin*

      I never understand what “proceed with caution” means in cases like this (and I do mean that genuinely, not snarkily).
      Do you mean she shouldn’t go in all guns blazing yelling at this guy about how horrible his stupid noises are? Because I feel like that’s a given and it’s also not at all in line with what Alison suggested.
      Or do you mean something is going to happen if OP broaches the topic and it turns out there’s a medical reason? That’s kind of the vibe I always get with this “caution” advice but I’m never sure, because what is going to happen? OP is not going to get into any kind of hot water just from mentioning the noises in a calm, friendly manner!

      1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        Alison recommends saying “if you can help it”, giving plenty of room for understanding that someone may not be able to help it.

        I live with someone who lets out little attention-seeking sighs and doesn’t realise. Letter 3 could absolutely have been describing him, right down to the “Oh no, nothing’s wrong” innocent reply. It is maddening, and the only response I have come up with in twenty years is to take his reply at face value, and wear headphones or leave the room as necessary.

        1. allathian*

          Yeah, my husband has this weird way of puffing as he exhales when he’s focused on something. I find it really distracting, because it sounds like he’s very frustrated, but no, he’s just focused. I’ve tried to let it go, but he sounds so angry when he does it that it sets my teeth on edge. I’d love to spend more time with him, each of us reading in our recliners, but I can’t because listening to him is the opposite of relaxing. I’ve tried to ask him to stop, but he’s unaware of it himself, and I can’t keep reminding him of it, because that feels too much like nagging.

          1. Payne's Grey*

            I’m oddly relieved that I’m not the only person married to an aggravating puffer. If there’s no background noise I find it awfully hard to sit quietly with him in the evenings, which makes me feel sad and guilty for even noticing how the poor man breathes – but I cannot tune it out. :(

      2. JustaTech*

        I think the “proceed with caution”, in this instance, means 1) be kind and gentle, and 2) be prepared for this to not stop because the coworker can’t (for any of the reasons given and then some).
        So it’s about setting expectations both for you (that the behavior might not change) and for the coworker (that you’re not going to hold it against them if they can’t change).

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Lots of sighing can also telegraph the need for a check up.

      But the first step is to see if one can just stop on their own. If no, then move to outside help.

      1. Owwie*

        Or someone who’s had that check-up, but still lives with chronic pain. You may not realize it while looking at me casually, but I am constantly in some level of agony, and when I shift the wrong way, my body is on fire for a few seconds. Yes, I’m going to sigh, groan, and occasionally wince and hiss.

        No, there is no way to completely eliminate that from my life.

  8. Aggretsuko*

    I would not do the 100 day dress challenge at a new job, for sure. I would notice, albeit I probably wouldn’t say anything. Maybe you can get away with it for awhile if it’s a boring basic black dress and you wear a vest or cardigan or whatever to spice it up daily, but I suspect it would give people the “hippie weirdo” impression after awhile, sadly. (Note: I am one of those but in a totally different way.) Maybe once people have gotten to know you for a long period of time, you might be able to get away with it, or if you work from home.

    That said, I bought two dresses of the same style and different color and wore one one day and then wore the other the next day and nobody noticed that, so who knows.

    I will note that if anyone stains a particular garment and then wears it in the future (band teacher sitting in gum in high school), people will definitely notice that, especially if it’s distinctive stain and the next day.

    1. KateM*

      Except if you wear a different cardigan or whatever to spice it up daily, it rather nixes the sustainability idea IMO. I used to wear to office one pair of black pants, one pair of black shoes, and five different blouses (one for each working day) with five sets of matching accessories and that seems more sustainable to me than one dress with 100 different accessories.

    2. *LW1*

      The job is part WFH, so I’m probably going to wear the dress into the office once a week, every day I WFH, and in the evenings on days I’m not.

      (Also, I’m not buying all new accessories! I am filling in deficiencies in my wardrobe, but I do buy second hand, and I have a very obvious taste in jewellery, and quite a lot of it. And one of the reasons I thought I could do this in the first place was my many, many, pairs of brightly coloured tights.)

      1. KateM*

        I’d be hard pressed to think anything of a colleague wearing a black dress to office if I saw them only once a week. But people vary.

      2. NewGrad*

        I would be shocked if anyone even clocked you were wearing the same dress over teams, esp if you have a cardigan or jumper on top.
        If anyone notices at the office it’s so easy to say it’s just an easy office appropriate dress so you didn’t buy more office wear

      3. Chilipepper Attitude*

        I think you can do it and wear the dress more than once a week to the office. I once wore the same skirt for weeks just to see if anyone noticed. I wound up part of a convo where the lack of skirts in our office came up. No one noticed that I had been wearing the same skirt for weeks, they had not even noticed that I was wearing a skirt!!

        YMMV and it will depend on the type of office I suppose (don’t do this in corporate law?), but I say go for it. And have fun!

        1. KateM*

          Skirt is more akin to trousers than dress, though, in the sense that if you vary tops, then you can keep that one black skirt going for a long time. Dress is top as well as bottom.

          1. ADMedievalist*

            I throw a skirt over my dress sometimes to change it up. Different color tights/leggings, scarves…

            The thing is, I have been able to weed out a lot of clothing, and it’s helped me realize how much I have and don’t use. Some people do seem to get into more buying to make the dresses different every day. A lot of us are “team basic”, and don’t do a lot. It’s given me the opportunity to use a lot of accessories I had, but never used, even though most the time, I can’t be bothered.

            Plus, it saves me money for better hair care — people always notice that!

      4. Greige*

        I think you can get away with it if you’re mostly remote. Not sure if this meets your objective or climate, but wearing cardigans or blazers and mixing them up would help make it less noticeable.

      5. My heart is a fish*

        Given that added context I think you’re fine. Even if you’re on camera all day the days you WFH, people are only going to see you from the shoulders up, so they’re very unlikely to twig that you’re wearing the same dress every time.

      6. Stuckinacrazyjob*

        Oh! I actually wear the same clothes all the time but because nobody sees me every day people are under the impression that I have more clothes than I do ( if you see someone every Tuesday in a different outfit you’d think they’d have different clothes instead of just rotating the same ones)

      7. to varying degrees*

        Once a week definitely changes my perspective. I barely remember what I wore within a week much less a coworker regardless of how new they are.

      8. Nancy*

        I wouldn’t notice if I only saw the person in the office once a week.

        If I saw the person in office full-time, I would notice, regardless of gender. I din’t really care what people wear though.

      9. kiki*

        Oh, I think this really changes things. Especially with the pandemic, a lot of people pared down their work clothes. Wearing the same professional dress each time you go into the office once per week seems really normal.

      10. Sara without an H*

        Hi, LW1 — If you’re really only going into the office once a week, I doubt if anyone is going to notice, especially if you can be inventive with accessories. They’ll probably just assume that, like many women, you’ve built your work wardrobe around one color. Some people notice clothes more than others — I’m kind of oblivious, but I’ve known some people who were very into clothes and took note of what everybody wore. But if you’re only in the office occasionally, it probably won’t be a problem.

        If you had to go into the office every day, then that would be a different story and Alison’s advice would apply.

      11. AJoftheInternet*

        I’ve see this dress, and honestly between a variety of accessories and maybe a line about how you liked the dress so much you bought enough to wear every day (technically true), I think you could get away with it.

    3. Victoria, Please*

      I DO wear an identical black dress almost every day, with different jackets, scarves, jewelry etc. I’m sure my immediate team has noticed but have not said anything — I’m the boss so they likely wouldn’t — and I’m also sure that no one else has noticed. I decided upon the return to in person work last summer that I was done spending brain cells on what to wear. So I have five of the same absolutely plain, boring, washable black dress, and enjoy my nifty accessories.

      “Ha ha ha, you wear a black dress every day, like a nun?” No. Like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, President Obama, and Richard Feynman wore identical clothes every day.

      If I had a new member of the team and they wore exactly the same thing every day that looked professional and fine, I would not notice. I tend to notice when people are looking rumpled. It’s okay for my team to be a little rumpled. If it gets to a certain threshold, I check in to make sure they are all right.

  9. cncx*

    Re LW3, i worked with a Throat Clearer and i feel like noises like this keep happening even when the person is made aware of it.

    I feel like even with asking the person to be more aware this is a situation where both sides need to be accomodated, in my experience.

    1. Tirving*

      Often chronic throat clearing is due to the person suffering from Gerd. It’s not something they can just stop doing.

  10. Wintermute*

    #1– Whenever people don’t know much about you, anything that stands out in a notable way is going to loom larger in their minds than it would if it were one data point of many. If you had a long relationship with them they might think nothing of it, but when they don’t know you it may become the first thing they think of when you come to mind. It’s totally subconscious, and many people wouldn’t even be able to put a finger on why they have this perception, but it’s something that happens.

    This doesn’t mean you need to go full-on drone mode, but it does mean that it’s best to avoid any large personal quirks until you have somewhat of a track record. It’s always best for your professional career for the first thing people think of to be the quality of your work, or that you’re very helpful, or a fast learner, or whatever other positive traits you show through your work than it being “the one who always wears the same thing” or “the one that is always carrying a cup of coffee” or something like that.

    And that goes double when it’s something that could be viewed negatively, it’s one thing to be “the one that’s really into sports” or “the one that has quirky office supplies,” those are fairly harmless as long as they aren’t taken to the point people question your professionalism. But “always wearing the same clothes” is pretty out there, it’s far enough out there people may make baseless assumptions about your personal hygiene or organizational skills or personal finances.

    I need to be clear I don’t agree with this, as long as you’re otherwise professional wearing the same dress shouldn’t CAUSE those assumptions, especially if you’re otherwise put together, but what ought to be and what is aren’t always the same. It’s also crappy that a man could get away with this with a suit coat and slacks and it’s much harder with a dress. It’s just how people work, we remember significant differences more than we remember what blends in, and some people are prone to uncharitable assumptions or gossipy behavior and rumor-spreading. When you’re looking to make a good impression it’s important to emphasize your strong points and avoid something that would draw that kind of attention.

    1. londonedit*

      I posted a standalone comment that seems to have got stuck in moderation but I was pretty much saying exactly this! I think it’s less problematic if you’re an established member of the team and you let everyone know that you’re doing this challenge – then it’s just another facet of your personality. If it’s the first thing people find out about you, or if one of the first things they notice is ‘…hey, is she wearing the same dress every day…?!’ then you risk being known primarily as ‘the woman who wears the same dress all the time’.

  11. Juniper*

    I guess I’ll be an outlier and say that I absolutely would notice if a male colleague wore the same thing every day. Mostly because most of my male colleagues do mix it up just a little, so wearing only, say, a blue shirt would be pretty obvious. In some ways this is where women have an advantage — we can style one dress in countless different ways while men are stuck with pretty much the same outfit. Either way, don’t do this at a new job, and I probably wouldn’t do it at any job, period. But that’s just me.

    1. Dawn*

      Depends on the workplace. If you’re somewhere that wearing a dress every day would be normal, you’re probably somewhere that wearing a suit every day would be normal, and lord help me but I’d never notice if a man wore the same suit every single day of his life.

    2. mreasy*

      I don’t think I would notice it in anyone, and I’m actually surprised most people are saying they would! Not that I’m like “it’s a trivial detail,” I just have a bad memory!

    3. KelseyCorvo*

      That’s not an outlier position even though it was made out to be. It’s the norm. People notice *every little thing* about their co-workers. New hairstyle. Change in facial hair style. New glasses. Sore throat. They absolutely will notice someone wearing the same outfit daily, male or female. Someone’s just fooling themselves if they think that’s not the case.

      And if you do wear the same outfit for 100 days and no one says anything to you, be sure they’re talking behind your back. That’s an even worse case because if they don’t send over a friendly emissary to say something to you, they think you’re too far gone to be helped.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Plenty of people have been crushed to chop 15″ off their hair and no one notices, because it’s still “light brown hair past the jawline.”

        Also, I believe this is a 2-types of people thing, where some people register that you are wearing something normal for this context and don’t notice anything past that, and some people notice that you wore charcoal trousers with a subtle stripe both last Wednesday and today.

      2. Bagpuss*

        I think it’s *some* people notice evey little thing.

        I’m in the other camp – I don’t typically notice those things unless they are very extreme, and even then, I’m not confident I noticed straight away so at the point I notice that Jane’s hair is much shorter , or that Tom no longer has a beard, they may well have been that way for a week or more.

        So yes, in any office there’s probably going to be at least one person who will notice even minor things, and at least one who doesn’t notice even major changes,nd a bunch who fall somewhere in between.

        (Not in a work context, but while I was living back at home after garuduating, I went away for 24 hours for a jb intereview (staying with a relations. While I was aaway, my relation paid for my to get my hair cut, as a brsthday gift. My father met meat that railways station on my return. And about 40 minutes into our drive home asked me if I was wearing different galsses from usual.

        Readers, I was not wearing differnet glasses from usual. However, I had gone from hip-length hair to a jawline length bob. He was vaguely aware that there was something differnet but couldn’t see what. I think he’s probably a bit of an outlier, and it isn’t that he’s unobservant, but things like clothes and hair don’t interest him so he doesn’t notice them much.)

      3. Nameless in Customer Service*

        Well there’s noticing and then there’s judging.

        I would notice if my coworkers wore the same thing every day — I’ve noticed each one’s personal style. It’s interesting. They’re certainly more interesting than many of my job duties. However if I had to provide a peer evaluation for a coworker I wouldn’t include their clothes in my observations explicitly or implicitly, since no one is ragged or filthy. Where things become unfair, IMO, is that in my experience a woman who wore the same thing every day, even clean and pressed, would be more likely to get dinged in her evaluations for “lack of polish” or even “lack of attention to detail” Her outfit choices would be included in assessments of her work in a way that a man’s would be less likely to be.

      4. HS Teacher*

        I don’t think this is something you can say with certainty. I doubt I would notice such a thing, because I couldn’t care less what people wear.

        I am supposed to notice dress-code violations as a teacher, and I constantly miss stuff because, again, I just don’t care about clothes, or fashion for that matter. I have to rotate my clothes in my closet so I don’t end up wearing the same thing every day, or something that looks very similar. When I find a size and brand that fits me, I buy a bunch in colors that are a shade off of one another. Who cares?

      5. DisgruntledPelican*

        All your examples are changes. You notice when something changes. Not when something stays the same and becomes invisible.

    4. Wintermute*

      I really think it depends on the outfit, a plain white dress shirt, with a rotating set of ties would be pretty normal, even if you’re right most people do mix it up unless they’re in a very conservative office where black jacket + white shirt is expected.

      1. My heart is a fish*

        Hm. That’s true, since a plain white dress shirt is such a basic wardrobe staple that I think the default assumption is that anyone who wears dress shirts routinely probably owns more than one.

        If something marked that dress shirt as unique, it’d be a lot more likely for people to notice that it’s the Same One Every Day.

    5. People notice!*

      I for sure would. So would most people! Steve Jobs became famous for his black turtleneck for a reason.

      I remember early in his career, when we were struggling to make ends meet, my husband got pulled aside by a senior colleague who had noticed he only had one suit. (He brushed it every day, wore different shirts and ties, etc, but just the one suit since that’s the most expensive part of the work wardrobe.) They were headed to a weeklong conference and this colleague wanted to know if my husband needed to borrow a suit since it would look weird if he wore the same one every day. His colleagues in the office had noticed and were worried about the impression it would make at the conference.

  12. SatsumaWolf*

    Re #4: Please correct me if I’m wrong, and maybe I’m missing something, but aren’t employees, even in at-will employment in the US, protected in some way from being fired for reporting “shady dealings”. Does the employee being fired here really have no recourse? I know it may he a bit late for this particular OP but it might be helpful for others to have this clarified.

    1. Harper the Other One*

      I think the challenge is proving that it’s was because of the shady dealings, as opposed to, say, making such a mess of the new promotion that management decided to part ways – especially when you don’t have a history of positive annual reviews. I have a friend who works for the EEOC and she hates how many cases they just can’t get sufficient proof for.

      And a civil suit might get them some compensation eventually (maybe) but the process is long and gruelling and often expensive, which is hard to contemplate when you have to figure out how to keep body and soul together.

      It sucks, and I really feel for the LW.

      1. Antilles*

        It also depends very much on what kind of “shady dealings” we’re talking about.

        There’s endless ways companies can be unethical, immoral and awful but still legally in the clear – meaning that you might not be covered by whistleblower statutes.

    2. FashionablyEvil*

      Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. Depending on what the issue was (wage/hours violation, misclassifying employees, reporting racist/sexist/religious discrimination, ADA violation, etc.), there may be some protections against retaliation for the employee. Obviously, pursuing and proving that is a different matter all together, but it’s not necessarily the case that the employee has no recourse.

    3. I'm just here for the cats!*

      The OP says she “Called Out” shady dealings, not that she reported anything to like the EEOC. So this could be anything like the CEO making people do Tai Chi to a manager who is having an affair with their direct report. Or it could just be calling out some shitty behavior that is not illegal.

    4. Anon Techie*

      It’s really hard to prove and restricted on what those dealings are, who it was reported to, etc. If you make a whistleblower report, then there is protection. A lot of shady things also aren’t illegal, so even if you raise concerns over them it isn’t protected.

      Companies are also really good at covering their tracks. They can take small details and make them seem big, they have access to email/slack so they can use every interaction against you by taking words out of context.

    5. Anon all day*

      The other thing to add along with all of the other comments is that, even if there is a solid legal case and even if you found an attorney who would take it on a contingency basis (so you wouldn’t pay them anything up front), taking legal action against someone is a lot of work and can be very draining. It can be a multi-year process, with no guaranteed outcome. Also, lawsuits are generally public, and (for better or worse) you may not want future employers to know that you’re willing to sue. (Is that fair – no. But it’s reality.)

  13. Dawn*

    LW4: I’m not so sure I’d conclude you have “no recourse” here; if you were fired for calling out shady dealings in the company, you may very well fall under federal or state whistleblower protection laws or anti-retaliation statutes, and if you’ve got the spoons, it’s very much worth consulting an employment lawyer (who would probably be HAPPY to consult for free on this one.)

    1. KelseyCorvo*

      Perhaps what’s what their letter is really about since so much detail and focus was given to those circumstances.

    2. EPLawyer*

      Second this. Call an employment lawyer. Check your state or local bar. Your state may even have a hotline where people can call and ask.

    3. Lynn*

      Yes! I was hoping someone would have called this out. I hope LW gets some sort of recompense for this and has a great wedding!

  14. Green great dragon*

    LW4 yes, let people know if they might be holding the date free. But, well, losing your job is an excellent reason to downsize a wedding.

    I hope the wedding and jobsearch go smoothly.

    1. TW1968*

      I would be SO tempted to email the coworkers I’d invited previously to say “Unfortunately I was laid off suddenly (coincidentally or not, right after I brought up concerns about ) and so I have to downsize my wedding plans. I apologize but now we’re planning a much smaller gathering, etc. etc….”

      Altho that might run afoul of attempting legal recourse for whistleblowing…

  15. AB*

    LW 1: If it’s an office job with a business-y dress code, this is very doable: extremely generic black knee-length dress, accessorized smartly and colorfully every day, including pumps and sweaters/cardigans. Your closest coworkers might notice, but you could just say you’re trying to be more sustainable by having a core style and accessorizing. In that case though, you would probably not want to switch to a totally different style when the experiment ended.

    If you work in a less formal environment, you definitely can’t swing this without drawing attention, sorry.

    1. Chilipepper Attitude*

      I worked in a less formal workplace and wore the same skirt for weeks and no one noticed that I was even wearing a skirt never mind the same skirt. I commented upthread on this. People just don’t notice. The only one who did is a huge fashionista who worked at the next desk but there was variation in other things and she did not think it a big deal.

  16. londonedit*

    My immediate thought on letter 1 was the ‘I got in trouble for wearing the same dress every day’ letter (which Alison linked to in the first line)! The person who complained in that case was being ridiculous, but I suppose it shows that people are likely to notice and that you’re always going to run the risk of someone thinking it’s weird or not understanding how the challenge works (in the older letter, the co-worker thought the OP wasn’t washing her clothes).

    I’m all for people living their best lives, but I’m not sure whether the start of a new job is quite the right time to do something like a 100-day dress challenge. I always feel like you want new co-workers to get to know you as a person first of all, and I think you’d risk people’s first impressions of you being ‘oh she’s the woman who wears the same dress every day’ rather than ‘that’s Jane who’s an absolute whizz at accounts payable’. I think it would be easier to do a challenge like this if you’re already an established member of the team and then it’s ‘my colleague Jane who’s an absolute whizz at accounts payable and who’s doing a 100-day dress challenge’.

    1. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      I immediately thought of that letter too; but it seemed that Jan, the person who complained, didn’t really complain until after the letter writer had confirmed that they were doing the 100 day dress challenge. Jan only noticed because the OP was wearing a dress in an office that was much more casual — if she’d been doing a 100 day jeans challenge, Jan probably wouldn’t have noticed, and if she said she had a capsule wardrobe of 4 black dresses that she kept rotating, the nosy issue would have probably resolved.

  17. The answer is (probably) 42*

    OP1: (Hopefully this doesn’t double-post) I could have sworn today was a reprint because I remembered reading about the 100 day dress challenge on this site not too long ago. I was right! Although the question is a little bit different- OP, this is a cautionary tale:

    Hopefully your work doesn’t have anyone like Jan, but it might be better to be on the safe side.

  18. Woah*

    I wear a short sleeved floor length black linen dress every day. I bought it from Target and loved it so much I went back and got six more. Now I just rotate them, adding a sweater if its cold. I’m a fairly functional no nonsense person so no one really comments since it sort of “fits” that I would be a plain dresser, but I have noticed people comment if I wear jewelry for a special occasion or am having a very good hair/scarf day.

  19. Hosta*

    LW #2
    I have some lung damage and asthma. Sometimes I run out of air and have to take a few deep breaths to catch up. It sounds like a deep heavy sigh. It doesn’t make me grunt, though – at least, not that I’m aware of!

  20. Snoozing not schmoozing*

    I had a sighing co-worker. It was part of her arsenal of “woe-is-me, I-work-so-hard” performance. But she didn’t, she just liked people to think it. Pick up a piece of paper, time to heave a sigh. Finish a phone conversation, ditto. Answer a question, big dramatic sigh before AND after answering. She was a negative person all around, to the point that people referred to her (only behind her back) as Eeyore. Apologies to Eeyore.

    1. Violetta*

      I had one of these too, drove me crazy. It seems like every day for her was putting on a permormance for the rest of us to show up put-upon she was.

    2. Cat Tree*

      I once had a coworker who I thought was the most inefficient person ever. She would go to the printer, which was past my desk and through a door that she let slam closed loudly. Then she’d come back with one or two sheets of paper and go back to her desk. 5 or 10 minutes later she’d do the same and come back with another sheet of paper. This would go on all day long and was really disruptive to me. She had the same job as me and we rarely needed to print anything so I don’t even know what she was printing. For a long time I thought she was so disorganized that she couldn’t print two things together. And then someone I was complaining to said she was probably just trying to look busy while doing minimal work and that idea made so much sense.

    3. allathian*

      Oh no. I used to work with one of those. She would look daggers at you and sigh loudly if you dared to greet her before noon. She was *not* a morning person!

  21. battlesloth*

    LW2 – I am someone who interviewed with my current company outside of standard business hours. It was a crazy busy time at my old job and my now company understood and respected that. Having the interview at that time showed me that my new job respected my time and was flexible. I did accept the offer and have worked here for just over a year and half. I took the leap in part because of the flexibility in the interview process. I would urge you to consider it for exceptional candidates.

    1. Chilipepper Attitude*

      I mean, don’t be flexible in the interview process so you are honest with candidates?

  22. Cottagechick73*

    #2 In my industry (consulting engineering) after hours interviews are the norm. It is a nice curtesy for candidates that showed that you could confidently talk to other job opportunities without it getting back to your boss since the office would be empty. It just decreased the chances for gossip.

  23. SJ*

    For LW1: I have done this challenge. Tell people you have more than one and you’ve streamlined your wardrobe after realizing during the pandemic that you could simplify your life. Get all accessorizy with it, and don’t actually say it’s ONE GARMENT. No one will care after that.

      1. I should really pick a name*

        Or something is wrong with the fact that people judge others on the size of their wardrobes.

        1. KelseyCorvo*

          Sure, but not when the size is larger than 1 item, but they only wear 1 item. The most destitute person I’ve known or known of has more than one article of clothing. Especially people who work at jobs.

            1. KelseyCorvo*

              Because no one will assume a person who wears the same thing every day keeps it clean. It’s a cry for help, and usually signals a mental issue or poverty.

              No one’s going to look at Sarah wearing the same dress for three and a half months and think, “Well I’m sure she just washes it daily… to keep it clean… the thing she wears daily…” They’ll think she needs help of some sort.

              1. I should really pick a name*

                And I’m saying it’s a problem that people make those assumptions.

                Yes, people make those assumptions. It’s the way society is. I’m saying that it shouldn’t be that way.

                1. GythaOgden*

                  Coats don’t touch the skin, though. Dresses do.

                  Anything closest to the skin is most vulnerable to being soiled. The further out you go, the less you have to worry. That’s why we generally change our shirts every day, don’t change our sweaters much and wear the same coat for a whole season.

                  Unless LW1 is wearing a different undershirt or chemise every day, she needs to change the dress! The company may think that wool is a sustainable fabric and can be worn for 100 days straight, but the piece of the puzzle they’re missing is that modern women wear only bra and panties rather than a chemise, kirtle etc which were designed to be changed so a more expensive and durable gown could be worn without washing.

                  A little costume YouTube goes a long way.

                2. Cbot*

                  Do you wear your coat against your skin for 9 hours a day? I get what you’re saying but it’s not fair to compare a coat to a dress or shirt.

              2. GythaOgden*

                Yeah, this is where I am. The reason people used to wear wool garments for days on end was that they wore more substantial underwear than we do now. The clothes closest to the skin were made of more washable fabric like linen, so the outerwear could be of a more durable fabric that wouldn’t need washing so often.

        1. ADMedievalist*

          Explain “no one”. Your answers seem very US-oriented, and probably regional, too!

          I know someone who washes everything, including sheets and towels, after one use. I grew up in California and have lived through several droughts. The amount of water this person wastes is criminal to me!

          On the topic of clothes — if the clothes aren’t dirty, and you keep your body clean, why would you wash them (other than underwear, obvs)? When I wore suits/jackets to the office, I spot cleaned, unless they really needed to go to the cleaners.

          For most of human history, and in many societies (even western industrialized societies), people have had relatively few clothes that don’t get washed daily. That’s why we have underwear

          1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

            yes, underwear and collars and cuffs that could be switched out so you don’t need to change the entire shirt – now there’s a concept that plenty would freak out over here!

            1. GythaOgden*

              Other way round. Starched collar and cuffs were harder to wash and keep stiff. Shirts were the part closest to the body, hence the cuffs and collar were removed before laundering.

          2. GythaOgden*

            Underwear was more substantial than it is now. What we know as the man’s shirt/woman’s blouse developed from the linen chemises/shirts worn under things like the doublet. (Waistcoats/vests were another layer that partly died out when it became more acceptable to be in shirt-sleeves.)

            We still wear what the folk a few hundred years ago wore. It’s just more visible than they were before.

        2. DisgruntledPelican*

          But you don’t have to. People can choose to if they want, but no one’s making you.

      2. Come On Eileen*

        Nah, this is what white lies were meant for – polite, ultimately harmless, and fends off further comments on wardrobe. No harm no foul in my opinion.

      3. DisgruntledPelican*

        Why? I lie about things all the time in order to keep myself safe and sane. Nothing wrong with any of the things I’m lying about – more often the things that’s wrong is the person I’m lying too. Which would be the same in this case. I’m not changing myself or what works for me just because you’re a busybody who can’t help judging people for innocuous things.

    1. Sapientia*

      Definitely the way of least resistance while being able to do the challenge. Personally I’d keep it vague about the number of garments, but I think lying about having multiples is totally fine, too. As long as the dress is in good condition and does not smell, people should really mind their own business.
      And I say that as a person who would probably notice, but not choose to say anything unless it was a compliment about the dress or if I knew the colleague very well.

  24. Ijustsitbackandwatch*

    LW4 – This is a had lesson on keeping your social life outside of work. This doesn’t mean you can’t be friendly at work, have lunch with co-workers and so forth, but draw a line between work friends and friends. I take it a step further and don’t friend co-workers on social media, I’ve seen some nightmares from doing that! As you get further in your career you notice you will be involved in a lot less work drama by doing this.

    1. Rocket Woman*

      While I agree in theory, I moved 2000 miles away from everyone and everything I knew for my job at 22. The only people I interacted with at first were coworkers. 4 years later, some of my closest friends are still my coworkers. Now, would I invite ALL my coworkers to my wedding? No, certainly not. I think its fine for people to have friendships with coworkers but you don’t have to be friends with all of them.

    2. I should really pick a name*

      This is just an unfortunate occurrence, not a lesson or drama. It’s perfectly fine to be close enough to your co-workers that you want to invite them to your wedding. It’s also perfectly fine if you don’t want to be close to your coworkers.

  25. Maz*

    LW3: If your colleague can’t help himself with regard to his sighing and other noises, then perhaps you could ask if you can swap desks with someone who currently sits further away but who can wear headphones all day?

  26. I should really pick a name*

    There’s nothing unreasonable about someone asking for an out-of-hours interview.
    It’s not unreasonable for you to say no to the request either.

    There are a lot of bad practices around interviews that are common, so I suggest that instead of viewing this through the lens of “what is the accepted thing”, view it through the lens of “can I make this accommodation with minimal hardship”.

    The applicant is trying to find a job. You are trying to fill a role. It is in the interest of both of you to facilitate this. You are asking the applicant to take time off. Why can’t the applicant ask you to shift your hours? The attitude of “take time off rather than make it a prospective employer’s problem” is failing to recognize that it is in the employer’s interest to find a way to interview good candidates.

    1. The Other Dawn*

      This is where I fall. When I’m interviewing people I accommodate their schedule as much as I can since I know they’re working around an existing job or school usually.

      Also, people wanting to interview early or late doesn’t strike me as a new trend at all. It’s been pretty common for many years, at least in my industry (banking).

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        I agree, it’s a request I’ve always gotten. When I interview I try to at least leave slots from 8-6, knowing I might have to work a couple odd days. It’s not always doable and I probably won’t do an 8pm interview but the request and a brief conversation about what’s possible is pretty normal. And if we can’t work it out we might lose someone, oh well. I wouldn’t put a black mark on their resume over it. If there’s another opportunity in the future hopefully we have better luck.

    2. Bagpuss*

      Yes, it’s quite common in my experience – people can’t always take time off for intereviews and even where they can, may not want to (especially for a first interview) if they don’t have a lot of holidya time left.

      I think it depends a bit how far out of office hours – saking for a 5 p.m. or 5.30 start time is much more common, and reasonable, than 8 p.m.

      And thinking about it, when I first applied for a job with my current firm, which is now just over 20 years ago, my interview wason a Saturday – I was living a considerable distance away so I was having to travel to attend, and they were hapy to accommodate me. And I was fairly junior at the time so it wasn’t about accommodating a very senior person or dealing with someone theyd head-hunted

    3. Nameless in Customer Service*

      so I suggest that instead of viewing this through the lens of “what is the accepted thing”, view it through the lens of “can I make this accommodation with minimal hardship”.

      *heartily agrees and takes notes*

    4. Avril Ludgateaux*

      There are a lot of bad practices around interviews that are common, so I suggest that instead of viewing this through the lens of “what is the accepted thing”, view it through the lens of “can I make this accommodation with minimal hardship”.

      LOVE this advice. LOVE. It’s pretty broadly applicable, too.

    5. Eyes Kiwami*

      Yes! So baffling to see commenters above acting as if it’s not also in the interviewers’/employers’ interests to accommodate candidates! Surely they could spin it as a positive thing that candidates are so dedicated to their job they don’t want to take off unnecessarily.

  27. Cthulhu's Librarian*

    #2 – This may just be a factor of different fields, but I’m surprised that this seemed like such a big ask to the LW. In the non-profit sector, a lot of higher level position interviews happen outside of normal business hours, due to board involvement in the hiring process – most board members are serving in addition to the rest of their lives, and can’t be available during the normal business hours.

  28. Not a new thing*

    Interviewing outside of office hours – NOT a new thing. I did this a lot during the 90s when I was searching and changing jobs fairly frequently. Most who interviewed me didn’t bat an eye when before or after work times were asked for and accommodated when possible.

    If you’re trying to keep your job hunt under the radar…

    I did have a boss who when I told her I had a doctor’s appointment during office hours demanded I give her proof that I actually saw a doctor as she suddenly got paranoid that I was job hunting. I was and the doctor’s appointment was a lie. So, I did the interview and then marched down to a medical clinic and got a prescription for something and used that as my proof of an appointment. I didn’t get that job. My next interview, I asked for a 7:30 start, it was accommodated (their office hours were 8 to 4:30) and then once I was done, I grabbed a taxi to get to the job I was currently working and made it in the door for a 9 a.m. start with 4 minutes to spare. And my unreasonable boss was none the wiser. (I got that job and it was the best job I had until babies started happening.)

  29. Trawna*

    #1. Au contraire. Begin as you mean to go on. If you’re going to take the challenge, the first 100 days at a new job is the perfect time to do it. If anyone asks, say in an upbeat way, “Thanks for noticing, yep, it’s my work uniform”, then return to whatever you were doing.

  30. L-squared*

    #1. I agree with Alison. When you start a new job is probably not the best time to do something to make yourself standout like that, because it wouldn’t be in a good way likely. It will come off a bit odd, and people will likely whisper behind your back. Its up to you if you decide its worth it, but I wouldn’t. As an aside, while I’ve seen the video of the guy doing it every day on the news, the fact that its a suit where the shirt and tie could be switched out I think makes a lot of difference. I’m a guy who works in an office (doesn’t wear a suit though). I have no doubt that if I wore the same outfit for 100 days it would definitely be noticed and talked about.

    #2. Its your choice on whether or not you want to accomodate them, but the fact that you want to hold it against them makes you sound like a pretty bad place to work, or at least a bad manager to work for. I mean listen to yourself. You feel someone should use their time off to come interview for a job they may not get, and the fact that they’d just ask you for a way to not have to do that makes you think worse of them? You seem to think you are doing them a favor by interviewing, not that you need someone to fill a role, so you are both trying to get something out of it.

    #4. Sure you can disinvite them, but you definitely need to tell them sooner than later. They may have already turned down other events for your wedding. But, for the people you were closer with, it may come off badly. I can’t imagine being like we WERE work friends, and “I liked you enough to invite you to my life changing event, but because of something you had nothing to do with, now I don’t want you there”. But it needs to be done

    1. A Rusted Fence*

      Men who have to wear suits every day figured out long ago that changing out the accessories (tie, shirt, belt, shoes) changes things up enough that people don’t realize they have work the same suit multiple days in a row.

      There’s a reason plain navy blue and charcoal are the two most popular colors for men’s suits. They are so nondescript that people don’t even notice them.

      1. L-squared*

        I don’t disagree, but this isn’t the 50s. Most men aren’t wearing suits to work every day. So the idea that a man wearing the same outfit wouldn’t be noticed just doesn’t ring true.

        1. A Rusted Fence*

          As I noted above, I worked with a man that wore the same outfit every day: black shirt, black pants, black shoes. It was noticed and it did provoke comments.

          1. ADMedievalist*

            If you lived in many parts of the world that are not the US, it would be unlikely to raise any comment at all.

    2. Avril Ludgateaux*

      #2. Its your choice on whether or not you want to accomodate them, but the fact that you want to hold it against them makes you sound like a pretty bad place to work, or at least a bad manager to work for. I mean listen to yourself. You feel someone should use their time off to come interview for a job they may not get, and the fact that they’d just ask you for a way to not have to do that makes you think worse of them? You seem to think you are doing them a favor by interviewing, not that you need someone to fill a role, so you are both trying to get something out of it.

      This might be considered harshly worded for the general tone on this website but you’ve captured my thoughts exactly. It’s just so bold and hostile to, in essence, expect a candidate to accommodate you to their own detriment, but be unwilling to extend any such leeway to them, and then go so far as to look down upon them for the request. If it were me, I would likely see it as a red flag of an inflexible employer, if the reason was any combination of “we don’t do it that way,” “you don’t have any power here,” and/or “I just don’t feel like it,” as opposed to, “upper management won’t let us schedule interviews off hours” or “I have prompt, immovable obligations outside of work” and an attempt to find a happy middle ground.

      And I say this as somebody for whom work-life balance is sacrosanct and I respect the hell out of people placing boundaries for themselves in that respect. But there was something about the phrasing of the question, the quiet, derisive insinuation of “gumption” on the part of the candidate, that just put me off.

  31. Diana Trout*

    LW3 – I had this happen to me a few years ago. I didn’t really know I was doing it until a coworker told me. So after a few doctor’s trips, it turns out I have Asthma, and probably have for years. All these years I thought my breathing problems while running or working out was normal – it was not.

    But once my coworker told me, I realized I was sighing a lot and taking really deep breaths, and yawning uncontrollably (often in meetings). I am not saying that is what is necessarily going on here, but just a different experience/perspective or perhaps a reason (although I doubt it).

  32. Lorelai*

    It’s me. I am the sigher. LOL My old office mate would say to me, “Lorelai, are you breathing okay?” as a way to make a joke of it. Now I’m more of it and try not to do it. But in general, for me, it’s not a sigh, but a cleansing breath.

  33. Eldritch Office Worker*

    #1 – this is my own bias, but if I were aware *why* you were doing this it would make me side-eye your judgment a smidge. Not so much that it would impact our working relationship, but it would be in the back of my mind. I’m familiar with this challenge and it’s really a shallow marketing ploy more than a sustainability measure – one could argue that many aspects of it are anti-sustainability even.

    Which isn’t a deep argument I want to get into here but my point is at a new job with little capital people are going to judge you based on what little information they have. On the scale of “suggestible to marketing” to “MLM shiller” this is fairly to the left but it’s not nothing. Just keep the potential consequences in mind from all angles.

    1. Former Retail Lifer*

      It does seem to be the antithesis of sustainable. You’ll need to wash it at least every few wears, and if it’s all you’re wearing during the day, you’re not washing a full load of laundry. I do laundry once a week with two full loads. If I tried this challenge, I’d be running mostly empty washer loads at least twice as much.

    2. Ginger Pet Lady*

      Yes, this was my thought exactly. The 100 day challenge is a *marketing ploy* by the company selling the dress, it’s not truly sustainable. Plus the photos I’ve seen from people doing the challenge they buy SO MANY ACCESSORIES to change it up that it ends up being the opposite.
      I wouldn’t think you were being sustainable, I’d think you were gullible for believing it was sustainable and duped into being an unpaid rep for the company.

  34. Calamity Janine*

    not to be too much of an unbearable cynic, but are any of y’all also developing low-key conspiracy theories about subtle attempted marketing blitzes via letters when it comes to 100-days-of-same-dress purveyors?

    i mean the precious letter mentioning this also included notes of the gift card promo scheme and all that. i’m not saying Alison has been hoodwinked due to foolishness or is in on it, not by far. but i will say that i am somewhat side-eyeing the company a little. a place that so obviously tries to get customers to become a walking advertising blitz for minimal compensation is already something that garners minor suspicion, tbh. it feels like some intern could be gleeful about this new market to pitch towards, built around the idea of s “work uniform” for busy professional women. (too bad Alison’s answers are appropriately lukewarm.)

    …not that my maximalist approach to clothing means i’m in their target demographic anyway; i think owning more than three tiaras means you fail that vibe check

    1. Lilo*

      LW1 says they weren’t a plant, but I am suspicious of the first letter, given it had a solid paragraph on how much they loved the dress and company. And then multiple comments from people saying they bought it.

        1. Calamity Janine*

          yeah i think you may have the scent better, so to speak lol. twice is a coincidence, especially discussing the same 100 day challenge. it’s more likely that the company just has hit upon a very good marketing tactic that really relies on fans self-producing viral marketing campaigns with the snappy united theme of 100 days of the same dress (and therefore they should give their marketing intern more scooby snacks).

          if it happens three times, though, and i might bust out the tinfoil hats.

          (…but tbh i think Alison is canny enough to also be suspicious if number three rolls along. that’s when, at very least, you email the company saying “listen let’s just cut the hypotenuse here and you can pay me to write an article for you” lmao)

    2. top five???*

      I do have a little side-eye for this type of thing for sure. Let’s say I haven’t been convinced of the utility.

      1. Calamity Janine*

        tbh i know that in the credits, my role will likely be referenced as “cynical disabled woman”, but the idea of buying a dress to last a decade or more has always made me roll my eyes a little. partially because of how it’s gotten clouded with holier-than-thou snobbery. but partially because… well, the notion of finding something off the rack that actually fits me, and will continue to fit me for years, is a hilarious pipe dream. for those of us who are lumpy in odd places, and who have to deal with varying weights – even if mine is going in a good direction, it’s still changes that are hard to dress around without changing sizes! – simply cannot access this sort of thing. …but given most of the time i’ve seen this minimalist eco-conscious small wardrobe chic, they only go up to a size 12 if you’re lucky, they already make it quite clear that i ain’t their sort.

        let’s just say that when a company is trying to sell you on the morality of their goods (saving the earth with careful wardrobe choices, etc) and they notably fail some basic inclusions of intersectionality, i grow weary.

        and that’s before trying to sit down and do the math of “ok, it does help the earth to shop sustainably and use clothing long-term, but how much of that ecological benefit gets cancelled out by a challenge that means you’ll have to do a load of laundry every single night for your one dress instead of waiting to run a more resource-conscious full load”…

        but as i said, i am a cynic lol

          1. Curmudgeon in California*

            LOL. I wear a 24 to 26 in women’s. Also, a women’s 2X is more like an 18, not a 22 IME.

          2. Dahlia*

            They actually go up to a 3x which they say is a 24/26, but it does seem to run maybe a touch small.

          3. Calamity Janine*

            yeah a 22 that runs small, in dresses of deeply unflattering cuts to plus size women, so hope and pray the sustainable trash bag of sorrow is something you can fight, cajole, and plead with until it looks decent on you, and God help you if you don’t have the body shape of lazily sized up proportions since all natural nonsynthetic fabrics don’t include lycra or anything with significant stretch…

            i’m going to go get a dress i know fits instead.

            especially if my weight is changing. if i have to buy a new dress regularly, have i actually done any wins for the ecological impact?

            but really, it’s just not offerings that seem to suggest fat people were more than an afterthought. given the incredible ableism often slithering underneath “sustainability” efforts, and the growing rise of ecofascism… yeah, i simply don’t trust like that. there’s reasons the fatties don’t get invited to the chic sustainable future.

            1. Calamity Janine*

              and this is aside from how… to put it bluntly… a whole lot of this minimalist sustainable fashion that i have seen is, well.

              very white.

              and even then we’re not touching the class issues at play, as will be endemic whenever you encounter a Sam Vimes Boots Theory Of Economics situation. but much like paying for a yoga studio with time to meditate, or only buying premium certified organic produce, the element of class flourishes as a moral judgement. it has the possibility to quickly become conspicuous consumption as virtue signal, and a way to sneer at others – when really, the only “moral failing” on display is… happening to be poor.

              needless to say the fat girl has some disdain for such systems poised against her and others, lol.

              at least it’s not as annoying as the trend of “I’m very able to buy something much more expensive, and I know business-casual clothing in plus sizes is in huge demand at thrift stores… but it’s soooo funny when i can make a youtube thumbnail of me being shocked at how big fat people clothing is before i cut away half of it to make a dress to fit me instead! oh sure, some poor person might need clothes that fit, but i gotta get that thumbnail!!” trend…

    3. DisneyChannelThis*

      I agree with the its probably marketing. What’s funny if you google reviews of the dress challenge not on their website there’s a lot of people claiming the discount for doing the challenge wasn’t worth it, the dress didn’t hold up to cleaning, their partners doing the challenge and immune to the smell of the dress now, etc.

      1. Calamity Janine*

        “immune to the smell of the dress” is a terrifying phrase, especially with the knowledge that these are primarily wool blends, and some of those end up dry clean only or at least quite fussy… y i k e s

        (but also if it’s wool blends, and it’s being pushed as this thing every consumer can do for the earth, me and my living in the southeastern usa self are going to laugh into the sunset)

    4. Katie*

      I think it’s interesting to note from these responses today that people will judge OP for wearing the dress for 100 days. Not because it’s the same dress but because they are judging her decisions. It’s not real sustainability and she bought into some crazy marketing scheme. (I personally wouldn’t notice but would probably roll my eyes internally if/when I found out).

      1. Calamity Janine*

        well at least it has more dignity than ending up working for cutco, as far as scams go

        (though my new pro tip for lw1? speedrun it. just do 100 flatlays of outfits, email to company, explain that you’re shy about photos of yourself directly, ???, get that gift card)

  35. Midwest Academic*

    LW4: you could tell your former coworkers that due to being terminated you will have to scale back the size of your wedding, and thus unfortunately invites will not be forthcoming.

    1. Lady_Lessa*

      I like your wording, and that allows LW4, if she chooses, to invite the one or two that did reach out to her.

  36. Nancy*

    LW2: I have been working since the 90s and have always requested interviews outside of office hours (say 8am or 6pm) if possible. Many times it was requested, sometimes it wasn’t. My interview for my current job was 5 years ago and at 6. This is neither unreasonable, nor a new thing. You can say no, but candidates will ask.

  37. TheseOldWings*

    Back circa 2006, I was in an entry level position and was going to be moving back to my hometown so was job searching out of state. I was coming back for an event and was able to arrange a job interview on a Saturday morning with a company who ultimately hired me. I can’t really remember how it came about, but they didn’t seem to have an issue doing the interview then to accommodate my schedule, and I ended up working there for 5 years. It may not be something that works for every company/person, but I don’t think it’s an unreasonable ask.

  38. Qwerty*

    OP2 – As an interviewer and an interviewee, I think being open to after hours interviews are great!

    Interviewer – I generally let my HR department know that I’m open to after hours interviewers if a candidate needs them, they just take a little more coordination when scheduling (Ex: ask me first since our system is that our recruiters just schedule over any blank time on my calendar). Usually they are 5-6pm, so its not like I’m leaving work super late. The candidates are usually very polite and thankful as well as more relaxed than if they were trying to squeeze into a mid-day “doctor’s appt” excuse.

    Interviewee – A company once offered to split their 3hr interview into 2 evening interviews so that I didn’t have to take a half day off work. This is the main reason I accepted the interview with that company and seriously considered working there.

    As a very busy person, usually I can’t take time off for an interview. The last interview process I went through took months because each phone call had to be scheduled 2 weeks in advance for me to find enough time, despite the whole process being virtual. I know a ton of people whose entire day is booked with meetings and even getting lunch is an issue.

  39. Jennifer Strange*

    Just to add another POV for #2 – I have mild asthma and sometimes in order to get a really good breath I end up sighing (or yawning).

  40. kiki*

    LW 4: Most people will 100% understand not being invited. Honestly, I feel like any of LW4’s coworkers who are thinking about the wedding are probably just wondering if it would be weird to go. I think they’ll be happy to stop wondering what to do, so LW should definitely reach out and let them know the plans are scaled back.

    1. Alexis Rosay*

      Yeah, it depends on the workplace, but I personally would have been surprised to be invited to the wedding of someone I worked with for less than a year. I’m sure there are workplaces where people get closer to their coworkers more quickly though.

  41. Sunshine*

    OP#1: Am I misremembering or was there a similar letter a while ago about a woman who was trying to do a similar challenge, but a coworker complained that she was wearing the same dress every day? I might be mixing a few letters up. At any rate, I agree with Alison – it’s probably going to be noticed, unfortunately.

    1. River Otter*

      You are remembering correctly. The coworker brought it to their boss, who told the LW not to do it anymore just to be safe or something like that. LW had an outsized reaction and stopped wearing the dress rather than going back to her manager and asking exactly what the problem would be.

    2. Hlao-roo*

      If you click on the text [“100 Day Dress” attempt] in letter 1, the link will bring you to the previous letter that you’re remembering.

  42. Spicy Tuna*

    When I was working in an office, I had one outfit for each day. I wore the same thing every Monday, every Tuesday, etc. etc. In 10 years working in that office, NO ONE noticed that I did that. I hate shopping and have zero fashion sense, plus I liked to streamline my morning routine.

    1. Meghan R*

      I do the same! Only one person every said anything to me, but it was when I wore my Monday shirt on a Tuesday, lol.

    2. Hlao-roo*

      One of my professors in college had a shirt for every day of the week (or at least a “Tuesday” shirt and a “Thursday” shirt, because those were the days I had his classes). My friends and I noticed, and joked with each other that the world was ending when halfway through the semester he wore his “Thursday” shirt on Tuesday and then his “Tuesday” shirt on Thursday.

      That said, I would probably not notice if one of my coworkers had an outfit for every day of the week because the days in the workweek are more similar to each other than days in the college school-week.

      1. Curmudgeon in California*

        I have often thought of labeling the inside of my shirts with days of the week to make getting dressed in the morning easier. I am so not a morning person, and when I was commuting I hated getting up and having to figure out which clothes to wear. I narrowed down my wardrobe to a mix and match “uniform” that I could grab out of the drawers and that would never clash, and that knocked one stress factor off of my mornings.

        When the pandemic started and I went to WFH, I bought six purple t-shirts with dragons on them, and wore them for most of two years. They are starting to fade now. I’m back to polos, just because, even though I WFH.

        1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

          I bought a week’s worth of baskets and labelled them with the days of the week. Each weekend, I sort that week’s outfits into the baskets, so I can just grab the “Monday” basket (or whichever) in the morning and not think about clothes before I’ve had coffee. This also means that I don’t surprise run out of clean clothes during the week. (I started this originally when not all of my clothes matched each other as well and I couldn’t afford to buy more, so I needed to lay out 5 days worth of outfits and trade tops and bottoms around until I had 5 workable outfits each week. I have since both simplified and expanded my wardrobe and now pretty much everything matches so this is no longer an issue, but it still does simplify my mornings.)

      2. JustaTech*

        I think it’s also that, kind of like a TV news anchor, a professor is “on stage” and so you’re more likely to notice what they’re wearing because you’re looking at them for an hour straight. (Though the only outfit of any of my professors that I remember now is when my calculus prof explained that he let his 3 year old daughter pick out his outfit because it was her birthday, and that was why he was wearing a pink shirt and ballerina tie. I wouldn’t have noticed if he hadn’t said anything.)

        Also, some people are the noticing type and other people aren’t. I’m generally in that second group, where, unless someone is wearing something I really like, or is *really* striking in some way, I won’t notice at all.

    3. Aggretsuko*

      The book and movie “The Hating Game” have a guy character who wears the same shirts on the same days every week. Yes, it’s noticed.

  43. dealing with dragons*

    LW1 – when I was in the office I had a black pair of jeans and five of the same black shirts I would wear. I’d add a different cardigan, and admittedly did have other shirts I could switch in and out as I wanted, but I really enjoyed having one outfit to pick. So just say you’re doing that. Like Steve Jobs.

  44. Sassenach*

    Interviewing while employed is tough! Being the employer and conducting the interviews and coordinating with everyone that needs to be involved and doing this multiple times is tough. I think grace and communication on both sides is key without seeing any requests for accommodating schedules as a red flag. Many employers have relaxed dress codes and when interviewing most candidates dress it up a bit. This can seem out of place and raise suspicion as can taking time off frequently and randomly. I once scheduled an interview during my lunch hour but had dressier clothes in the car that I changed into and then changed back out of when returning to work and I FLEW to make it to the interview and back to my job on time. (I was late getting back so coming up with a reason added to the stress) I was sweating…I got the job in the end though and am still there 10 years later but I will never forget the logistics and anxiety of just preparing and getting to the interview. Again, communication is key with both sides trying to make it work.

    1. MAC*

      When I interviewed last winter for the new job I am now in, it was at the crazy busy time our nonprofit was in the final stages of our massive annual fundraiser. I did it from the passenger seat of my CAR in the parking lot of the venue we were decorating, balancing my elbows on my knees to keep the phone screen steady. (Apparently that really impressed some people on the panel, they said as much as we were wrapping up. ) Fortunately, I was able to explain being a little more dressed up because I had sent out a media advisory about the event and had a TV news interview scheduled the same day.

  45. TooTiredToThink*

    I am not complaining – these are repeats, right? Usually there’s a note that they are repeats because Alison is off (well-earned vacation, etc). The only reason I am commenting is in case there’s supposed to be a note and there isn’t because of the redesign or some sort of issue with the redesign. Either that or I’m having the worse case of deja vu ever.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      They are all new letters. It’s the second letter we’ve had about the 100 Day Dress Challenge though, so that might be what you’re thinking of.

      1. TooTiredToThink*

        Thanks Alison! It wasn’t just the 100 Day Dress, but all of them seemed familiar. I guess its just proof that issues aren’t as unique as they think they are! :)

        1. Sunshine*

          That’s true, but wearing the same dress every day for 100 days was so weirdly specific that I also had a moment of “is this deja vu?”

          1. KatEnigma*

            It’s not really. This is the 3rd or 4th time in the past year I have come across it (and I didn’t see the previous letter.) A couple people from publications have done the challenge, making what was originally something one or two people started for kicks into something a lot more mainstream.

    2. I should really pick a name*

      If Alison didn’t answer the same question from different letter writers, Ask a Manager would be one page with the following answers.

      1. Talk to them about it.
      2. It sucks, but it’s legal.
      3. Follow up no more than once, then forget about the job.
      4. Your cover letter shouldn’t be a summary of your resume.
      5. Get over yourself, they’re just rolls.

      1. TooTiredToThink*

        Yup, I commented above, but it was just that ALL of the questions seemed familiar. I’ve apparently been reading a looooooong time LOL.

  46. Former Retail Lifer*

    For #2, I am currently job hunting and I simply do not have the PTO or the schedule flexibility to do in-person interviews for all of the positions I’m applying for. Realistically, people have to find time to go to multiple interviews for multiple different jobs, sometimes for months on end, before an offer comes in. I’ve been able to convince two to do a video meeting, but the others have required that I find a way to come in. A few have offered interview times at 8AM or 6:30PM (my industry is typically 9AM to 6PM), and that has been a life saver. It’s pretty clueless to think that you’re the ONLY employer they have applied to and the candidate should willingly drop everything to come in. If you can accommodate a slightly off-hours request, it’s really appreciated.

  47. toolittletoolate*

    I admire your interest in reducing your carbon footprint and living more sustainably. The 100 day challenge is just one person’s idea of how to demonstrate that–albeit an idea that has garnered a lot of support. There is no rule that says that is the only way.

    I have 10 items of work clothing that match with each other–5 tops, 5 bottoms. I have worn these same clothes in various combinations every day for the past 7+ years at work. I have a black cardigan (which I guess technically means I have 11 items) I throw over them in the winter if I need to. Nobody has mentioned it. It’s a lot easier to not have to wash clothes every day, which has its own sustainability challenges, when you consider how much of the world is in drought conditions.

    1. top five???*

      Yes, I find the idea of wearing either the same dress or a set of identical clothes very… interesting. When I worked in an office I had a method more like yours, and it suited me well because I didn’t have to think about my clothes at all, just grab a full set of my mix-and-match options. In addition to potentially unnecessary washings (although I’m not totally sure about that because a lot of people feel like they have to wash clothes after every wearing anyway — unnecessarily, in my opinion), if you feel like you have to accessorize the dress every day, it’s going to take a lot more thought, a lot more time, and a lot more accessories, which are also a sustainability problem.

    2. KatEnigma*

      No one is paying you $100 to advertise for them on social media for having 5 outfits that you keep for years. If you post every day of the 100 day challenge, the wool dress company gives you $100/€100.

      And even without that, many women do it for the social aspect from the forums that surround it.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        ..which is what makes it a marketing campaign as opposed to a sustainability effort

          1. Alexis Rosay*

            Yeah. It can be a marketing gimmick and also a genuine exploration of relying on fewer items of clothing. Plenty of people just shop, shop, shop…honestly, whatever helps people reframe this mindset is a step in the right direction.

            1. Calamity Janine*

              to be incredibly cynical: if a challenge to wear something you bought for 100 days in a row (presumably washing it between each wear, putting increased wear and tear on it that means it simply won’t last for longer) is rewarded with a gift card to buy more things from the store…

              …is it really shifting out of the “buy, buy, buy” attitude? or is it a marketing “buy our stuff” attitude, as per usual?

      2. Velociraptor Attack*

        Except they don’t give you $100. They give you a $100 gift card that can be used on… more of their clothes.

  48. KatEnigma*

    LW2: in this post Covid world, it has become more common, but it has been pretty standard for senior positions for longer than that. It comes down to who needs whom the most. Yes, offer interviews out of hours! The initial phone screening can usually be squeezed in at lunch (done several from my car) but if you want the person to come into your building? Be respectful of people’s current job!

  49. Risha*

    LW 2, surely you must realize that job candidates have many valid reasons for wanting/needing to schedule an interview after hours. Some people may not get paid for time they take off; people can’t afford to not get paid to interview for a job they may not even get. Some employers are horrible when asked for a day or a few hours off. A job may be so short staffed that if the person leaves early, it will severely affect coworkers (ie: nursing). A little flexibility and understanding on your end would be great. Haven’t you ever been in the unfortunate spot of having to choose between an appointment (doctor, utilities, interview, anything) and working your crappy job with a boss who isn’t flexible? I’m so thankful that I’ve been lucky enough to have interviewers who were flexible with me too.

    Of course, you may also have reasons why you can’t stay late or do very early interviews. No one is saying you’re obligated to push your personal duties aside for a candidate. But if you’re able to or if another hiring manager can, why not do it? If you’re able to but still won’t, then it’s just a power play on your end (not just you, but all employers who do this). Interviews are a two way; why does the candidate have to always be the one to give give give but the employer doesn’t have to? You need the workers just as much as they need this job. Companies cannot function without workers and showing that you view job candidates as actual humans will go a long way.

  50. ABCYaBye*

    LW2 – If you can accommodate someone outside of normal hours, that sure helps. I have interviewed a couple of people outside of normal hours in the past because they let me know that their present employment wouldn’t allow for the conversation during my regular hours but asked if we could chat immediately following their workday, which wasn’t too much after my own. So I made it work. But if someone wasn’t equally as accommodating – like if you offer 6pm so they can get to you after their work day and they ask for 9pm – that’s probably a nonstarter, especially if you’re early on in a process.

    You want to be understanding of the challenges candidates face in stepping away from work to talk to you. You also need to remember that you and anyone else involved in the interview process on your side are humans and you need to account for their outside of work lives, too.

  51. Robin*

    Re: LW 1

    Seeing a lot of comments about how wearing the same dress every day for 100 days would be super noticeable and I would like to push back on that because it seems the assumption is that the _outfit_ would be the same every day. This is not the case. The website that is home to this challenge shows off several different ways to style the dress to create different outfits: layering with another skirt or a shawl, for example. The point is to wear the dress for 100 days, not wear _only_ the dress for 100 days.

    With that in mind, I actually think OP could get away with the challenge much more easily than she imagines. I have a few staple pieces I wear often – I imagine others do as well – but I change up what I wear them with, creating different outfits. I have worn the same skirt multiple times a week this way. Did people notice? Perhaps, but the chan