Female Bank of England Employees Must Wear Makeup and Heels (Updated)

Mervyn King (left) and Sir John Gieve. Mervyn could use a lesson in tying his tie, too.

Well, this is appalling: Earlier this week, the Bank of England held "Dress for Success" day. On that day, they sent out a memo to female employees detailing just how they should dress for success, important now more than ever in These Economic Times, the worst financial crisis Britain's dealt with since the Depression. WWD obtained a copy of the memo:

“Look professional, not fashionable; be careful with perfume; always wear a heel of some sort — maximum 2 inches; always wear some sort of makeup — even if it’s just lipstick.” Shoes and skirt must be the same color. No-no’s include ankle chains — “professional, but not the one you want to be associated with;” white high heels; overstuffed handbags; an overload of rings, and double-pierced ears.

On behalf of all women at the BOE, excuse us? A woman can dress almost exactly opposite to these rules — in black flats, with gray trousers, no makeup, and a giant handbag — and still look professional and chic. We understand the need to enforce a dress code, but mandating heels of a certain color, makeup, and degree of handbag-filling is ridiculous. What about rules for the men? It wouldn't hurt BOE governor Mervyn King and deputy governor Sir John Gieve to wear ties that aren't so loud — set an example if you're so concerned about color-coordination, gentlemen. And while you're forcing women to wear two-inch heels, you should, too. Sarko does it, after all.


Update: The Bank of England has responded with this statement:

The facts are that an informal lunchtime gathering was organised by a women's staff group at which an external company presented their ideas about building confidence. The session was provided free and had nothing to do with the management of the Bank. A list of ideas about dress was discussed by the consultant. Most Bank staff will not have seen this and those that have are free to treat it as they wish. Like many organisations, the Bank simply expects staff to wear smart business attire.