Real Talk: Can I Wear a Bikini at a Work Event?

Women at pool


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Leah Thomas866

Sometimes, deciding what to wear in professional settings can be incredibly stressful. And when you throw a pool in the mix, things are bound to get complicated.

“Are bikinis inappropriate to wear in front of your co-workers/boss while on a work trip with downtime to relax by the pool?” one FGB'er asked the Community

“I'm going to a work conference, and we're going to have some down time to be outside at the pool, and I'm curious what you all think about wearing a one-piece versus a two-piece?” she continued. “I prefer to wear a smaller bathing suit, but I'm also worried about looking professional because it will be with coworkers and my boss! I'm so conflicted. Help!”

Almost a dozen other FGB women responded to offer advice, most siding with the one-piece swimsuit.

“I would definitely suggest a nice looking one-piece!” one woman wrote, and to which another woman responded, “The one piece gets my vote as well.”

“I would suggest for a one piece semi bikini,” another said. “This is is safe."

“I would prefer to err on the side of caution,” another FGB’er advised. “ If I wouldn't show cleavage, a navel or butt cheeks in the office, why would I show it during the down time of a work event? A conservative one-piece or swim tank and shorts maintains the professional image.”

In this scenario, it is important to note that every workplace is different, and each individual knows her workplace better than the next person may. 

If you truly feel comfortable wearing a bikini around your coworkers, and you feel their professional opinion of and attitude toward you will not change because of it, you have every right to wear a two-piece swimsuit. 

But while women should not have to worry about their bodies affecting their coworkers’ opinions of them, this may sadly still be the case in certain office settings. 

“I would strongly advise against wearing a swimsuit in a semi-work setting,” one Fairygodboss woman wrote. “Yes, it would be nice to swim during the downtime. However, you cannot recover from being seen half-naked by colleagues and your boss. I am in my 40's, so there's a good chance that I am more conservative about this topic than you. However, I have also been in many, many discussions about employee evaluations and promotions. Some of the factors that are used against women are intangible ones, like ‘lacking executive presence’ and ‘lacking gravitas.’ Don't give anyone reasons to doubt your professionalism.”

“These are all stellar suggestions, and I suggest heeding the advice,” another said. “As far as we've come as women in business, we're still held to a different standard, and sporting a swimsuit in a business setting (whether it's during business conference 'downtime' or not) is taboo for future interactions with those who encountered the 'bathing beauty.'”

Maintaining professionalism is important, but, again, you know your company best. In a completely modernized 2019 workplace striving for equality of all employees, spending your downtime in a bikini by the pool should not be frowned upon. But it’s important to remember that this may not be the case. 

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For all work, career and lifestyle questions, consult the Fairygodboss Community to receive advice from other FGB'ers.