Corbett: 0 LOLZ: 2

Two interesting news items coming out of the new Tom Corbett administration.

1. The new secretary of health it seems had a snit in a diner in Harrisburg when he thought the eggs he was being served had been sitting on the griddle for some time (it seems they hadn’t), resulting in the diner being inspected by the city health department. You can read the story, but all you need to know is this:

What followed, Mr. Hanna says, was a testy exchange that culminated with Mr. Avila shouting, “Do you know who I am? I am the secretary of health!”

There is just something so ridiculous about following an angry “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?!” by shouting “I’m the secretary of health!”

It’s like “Do you know who I am?! I’m the director of marketing and communications!”

Pro-tip: Unless you are the president of the United States or Justin Bieber, don’t ever preface a statement with, “Do you know who I am?” because either they don’t know, or they do know and they just don’t give a crap. Either way, you sound like a douchebag.

Note to self: Cross “Commonwealth of Pennsylvania” off of your list of possible future employers.

2. Gary Alexander, the head of the state’s public welfare department, has outlined in a memo to his staff, what he expects from their professional attire.

Others may defy explanation for the female 45-and-under crowd: No open-toed shoes, please. And panty hose or tights are a must, which, taking the next logical step, presumes leaving your dress slacks at home.

Executive staff weren’t the only ones told what to wear. Employees in a program that helps groom them for leadership roles were told by e-mail that to attend an April 27 luncheon featuring a speech by Alexander, they should wear “professional dress.”

“For men, this means a suit and tie,” the e-mail said. “And for women, this means closed-toe shoes and nylons or tights.”

Okay, now there are certain professional places of work that I think women may want to eschew the open-toed, bare legs look and that would be in the courtroom and in the operating room.

Otherwise, I firmly believe that in 2011, when there are adorable and professional looks like these, that no man should tell his female office staff that they must wear skirts, pantyhose, and closed-toe shoes unless he first spends a week working in a skirt, pantyhose, and closed-toe shoes.

Amen and that’s church.


  1. mrscrappy
    May 23, 2011 4:07 pm

    OK, I don’t have a problem w/bosses occasionally pointing out that certain styles of dress are not appropriate for the office. I mean, I have seen some inappropriate dress in the office since we’ve come to land of casual dress Fridays. However, pantyhose aren’t really in vogue anymore, nor is requiring women to only wear skirts or dresses. So if you’re going to make comments on dress, make sure you’re fashionably up to date on what you are saying.

  2. CrashJK
    May 23, 2011 4:08 pm

    What about plunging neck lines…can we have those at least ???

  3. Kim Z.
    May 23, 2011 4:13 pm

    This may seem horribly old fashioned of me, but I feel that open-toed shoes and bare legs are rarely appropriate in a business formal environment. More casual environments may have different rules, but I think that, although uncomfortable, bare legs don’t go with a suit. Personally, I avoid the issue by wearing pantsuits. As for the shoes, I think a peep-toe is fine, but strappy sandals are a bit much.

    I can also say that as late as 2000, when I last worked there, pants for women were not considered appropriate business formal attire at US Steel Headquarters. Perhaps they’ve relaxed now that the building is no longer named after them.

  4. burghbaby
    May 23, 2011 4:15 pm

    I confess: I hate seeing open-toed shoes in the workplace. I won’t wear them because they just don’t seem right. I blame Mickey because his dress code doesn’t allow them (actually, Mickey has the same dress code as Corbett, except that Mickey is cool with women wearing pants suits because he’s not a complete curmudgeon). The giant rat pretty much shaped my idea of “professional.”

  5. Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl
    May 23, 2011 4:20 pm

    Unfortunately, a lot of cabinet members and elected officials (and even some staff) throw around the “don’t you know who I am” line on a daily basis here in Harrisburg. Many times, it happens when I am waiting at a restaurant for a table for dinner or lunch. Sadly, I worked briefly for one of these bozos.

  6. spoon
    May 23, 2011 4:26 pm

    I’m wear a thong and low rider jeans to the office every day cuz y’all love the muffin top man

  7. Biggest fan
    May 23, 2011 4:29 pm

    Can I be under 40 and disagree? If your toes are pretty and manicured, your heals are pumiced and free of blisters, and your legs are bulging vein and bruise-free, sure, show those toes and legs! However, people are nasty and their hammer toes, peeling toe polish, leg hair, and calf cellulite should be concealed in a professional workplace. And because you can’t make these demands without a million lawsuits, the appropriate thing is to require closed toed shoes and hose.

  8. Noelle
    May 23, 2011 4:34 pm

    I see the closed toe shoe thing, but to not allow women to wear dress slacks is sexist.

  9. Biggest Fan
    May 23, 2011 4:56 pm

    15 reasons why open-toed shoes and bare legs are inappropriate in the workplace:

    Hammer toes
    Peeling polish
    Flaking un-pumiced heals
    Foot odor
    Thigh cellulite
    Calf cellulite
    Knee cellulite
    Scrapes and cuts
    Bulging veins
    Bulging purple veins

    And since employers can’t force their employees to get pedicures, shave, have foot surgery, and keep their BMI within normal limits, hose and close-toed shoes are the only way to keep things as professional as possible.

    I agree with Noelle about the pants thing.

    My humble, under-40, opinion.

  10. Mike
    May 23, 2011 5:14 pm

    Well, to be honest, I think there’s too much focus on this type of thing. If you’re a professional, and you don’t deal face-to-face with customers, I’d say you should wear what makes you comfortable and at-your-best at work. I work with people who are sitting at a desk programming for 12 hours a day, plus raising families, etc. If dressing ultra-casual makes them more comfortable, and they maintain a level of productivity that way, where’s the harm? Now obviously, if they meet with customers face-to-face, then a certain type of attire can and should be expected. Otherwise let your employees wear what makes them happy.

  11. crobr
    May 23, 2011 5:16 pm

    ” I firmly believe that in 2011…that no man should tell his female office staff that they must wear skirts, pantyhose, and closed-toe shoes unless he first spends a week working in a skirt, pantyhose, and closed-toe shoes.” AMEN, sister! Thank you!

  12. YinzerInExile
    May 23, 2011 5:44 pm

    @ biggest fan — if women are in a position to do nothing more than serve as aesthetic decorations at your place of employ, then I say your “rules” make perfect sense.

    Since I actually have, you know, like, *work* to do (beyond being aesthetically pleasing to my boss), I think they’re sexist, arcane, offensive and ridiculous. Because I”m betting dollars to donuts that I wouldn’t find your face attractive, however I doubt that I, were I your boss, could make you wear a paper bag over your head in the workplace.

  13. Monty
    May 23, 2011 5:45 pm

    That dress code for women must confuse the shit out of Rex Ryan’s hormones.

  14. Sheepthemoon
    May 23, 2011 5:52 pm

    If it makes you feel any better, at my old job in Fla., a memo went out that told women that they had to wear underwear. Apparently one of the saleswomen was going up the steps (which were kinda free-floating, artsy style steps), and a customer “somehow” noticed she had gone commando and mentioned it to the president of the company.

    Of course, no one really questioned why the customer was looking up in the first place….

  15. cmd_45
    May 23, 2011 6:10 pm

    Is this administration from the 1950s? I can understand pointing out examples of acceptable dress in your particular workplace, but REQUIRING women to wear skirts or dresses or else hose under their slacks is completely sexist. If they wore knee highs with slacks, would someone strip search them to ensure the hose were in place? Would they be sent home for wearing slacks?

  16. Kathy
    May 23, 2011 6:33 pm

    that will be recalled in short order. private businesses might be able to get away with that – provided the dress code was in place and made clear at the time of hiring – but a public official can’t do it because it’s sexist.

    our office executive took pains to point out that women could wear anything professional and always used pants as an example. it was kind of funny, actually. what was sad was that he went into detail about making sure belt and shoe color matched and also wearing matching socks. that email was fodder for many wasted work hours…

  17. ImGonnaGetInTroubleForThis
    May 23, 2011 6:51 pm

    At my place of employment, every so often an e-mail goes out “reminding” the employees of the dress code. No capri pants allowed. Next day, several woman wear capris, nothing is said. No tennis shoes to be worn around the office. Next day, it looks like half of the staff is getting ready for the marathon, nothing is said. No track suits (even (especially??) the velour ones!!). Now we’re really ready for that race!! Again, nothing is said.

    I wish they would “remind” us that sex on the desks is a no-no. Or open containers of alcohol are frowned upon. Now that would make for an interesting day at the office.

    Why say it if you aren’t going to at least pretend to enforce it?

  18. tehamy
    May 23, 2011 8:55 pm

    I am probably to most straight-laced, under the age of 35 accountant that you will find. I only wear pantyhose if I wear a dress in the winter and I spend the majority of my summer in open-toe shoes.

    When I started working in a professional environment almost 15 years ago, pantyhose and closed-toe shoes were the norm. The conservative public accounting firm that I used to work for changed their dress code (which had stated no open-toe shoes and pantyhose required if wearing dress/skirt) 8 or 9 years ago. The bank where I worked a corporate accounting job didn’t require panty-hose and open-toe shoes were common place.

    I know that a lot of people would say that in the financial world, it’s not acceptable, but from my experience, it is absolutely acceptable and professional.

  19. bucdaddy
    May 23, 2011 9:25 pm

    The women in that link?


    Just sayin’ I wouldn’t get any work done.

  20. unsatisfied
    May 23, 2011 9:57 pm

    I have no problems with my employer’s dress code. I usually just wear what I woke up wearing.

    gotta love working from home.

  21. Burgh Bird
    May 23, 2011 10:45 pm

    Perhaps they should invite Stacey & Clinton into the office to show what is “work appropriate”….

    Of course, if pants and open-toe shoes are allowed, there will be those who stretch that line until everyone is wearing denim capris and flip flops. However, designers have really outdone themselves year after year as the corporate world has adapted to a more casual dress code. Professional suits are now made with cropped pants and shorter jackets, and they look just as sharp and actually much less stuffy than the traditional plain black suit.

    I have to say, I walked into a restaurant on Friday and there was a woman sitting at the bar, with a very snazzy looking skirt and silk top and cute metallic ballet flats, the envy of style mavens everywhere. Until I noticed that she was wearing white panty hose with this awesome beige mono-tonal ensemble. The hose totally wrecked the outfit for me. I wanted to take a picture of her and sent it to the Fashion Do and Don’t section of Glamour Magainze. Sometimes panty hose are the wrong choice. Srsly.

  22. Magnus Patris
    May 23, 2011 10:49 pm

    I believe everyone should be required to wear Star Trek-type uniforms. Corbet could wear blue ‘cuz he’s like Kirk. Mr. Avilia is obviously the Science Officer, so he wears blue; all the state workers wear red shirts because they are expendable. And of course all women must wear skirts and go-go boots ala Lt. Uhura or Yeoman Rand. Make it so! (I know I’m mixing my Trek-isms).

  23. K80
    May 24, 2011 8:27 am

    Is Mr. Alexander really unaware of the existence of knee-high nylons? That’s all I’m sayin’. Oh, and, @Burgh Bird, internet high-five!

  24. Chris
    May 24, 2011 8:44 am

    The last time I was told open-toed shoes were verboten I was working for nuns…and after about a year even they got on board with no stockings and tasteful open toed shoes in summer.

  25. Lee
    May 24, 2011 8:47 am

    I’m confused that this dress code doesn’t include June Cleaver pearls…strange.

  26. Dan (Not Onorato)
    May 24, 2011 8:54 am

    No wonder all state workers, for the most part, are grumpy

  27. red pen mama
    May 24, 2011 9:29 am

    @spoon, I threw up in my mouth a little. ;)

    I like to really push the “professional” dress boundaries with a cap sleeve shirt that lets my tattoo peek out. It’s a good thing I work in “creative”.

    Otherwise: no hose. ever. And if I wear open-toed shoes, I like to polish my toenails. It just looks nice.

    @biggestfan, if a list like that went out to women, what kind would you like to go out to men? No facial hair, because food could get caught in it. Belts with pants so I’m not exposed to plumber’s butt. You’re right that employers can’t make employees “shave” or “stay within a normal BMI”. That cuts both ways.

  28. spoon
    May 24, 2011 10:30 am

    oh please rpm, you know thats hawt :)

  29. Shelly
    May 24, 2011 10:53 am

    I’ve worked in offices with similar dress codes. I don’t think it’s as unusual as you think. If a man has to wear a suit and tie, shouldn’t a woman be expected to dress professionally also?

  30. bucdaddy
    May 24, 2011 11:15 am

    If it’s OK for women to wear open-toe shoes to work, then by all rights it should be OK for men to wear open-toe shoes to work. Do you ladies really want to go there?

    The rest, I’m on your side. Nobody’s getting me into a dress (well, not in the fashion sense).

  31. jmarie1973
    May 24, 2011 11:16 am

    The only problem i have is the not wearing dress pants. However, I’ve seen that dress code before.

    open toe shoes fine. but please women wear nylons. i’m tired of looking at your pukey feet that you don’t take care of but think it’s ok to display. And believe me there are more of those than the ones understand that you can use cream on your feet.

    and that is why i say it’s fine because you have to make everyone obey for the ones who just gross you out.

    and truthfully i think there should be a rule for low cut tops too. a)the only reason you should wear them is if your trying to sleep with the boss and that pisses me off when you get promoted and my hard work means nothing. b) i’m tired of females leaning over and giving a show to the other females. Now if we can get no zippers on males so i get a show the other women can show their boobs. jmho

    in my current job it depends who you are. if i don’t dress bank appropriate i get yelled at. but others get away with it. Life is so unfair! lol

  32. Lee
    May 24, 2011 11:26 am

    I’m a professional. I wear dresses when it’s too hot for dress pants. I haven’t owned a pair of pantyhose in the last five years…at least. I think the problem here is that the definition of ‘professional attire’ is evolving but some people are not evolving.
    I don’t think ties should be required for men. I think a dress shirt often looks nicer alone — without the ties some men pick out (see: cartoon characters or ties with cars on them *eye roll*).
    I think requiring women to wear dresses smacks of forcing women into a mold. It’s ridiculous. And, seriously, it’s no one’s business if I’m wearing panty hose…and if you’re wearing panty hose (not tights) correctly, I think they’re supposed to be pretty similar to your actual skin tone, which shouldn’t make them stick out enough to be noticed in the first place.
    Men should be forced to wear panty hose every day for a week and see how much they enjoy that feeling and then get back to us on whether or not we should be forced to wear them.

  33. jennviolet
    May 24, 2011 11:31 am

    Here’s the deal, I’m 30, work in a casual office that used to be business casual and years before that professional. I CHOOSE to wear skirts and dresses everyday because to me, they’re more comfortable. And oh yeah, I look super cute too. But hellz to the no will I slip on panty hose. Tights in the winter, yes. But panty hose are just plain weird and dated. As for open toe shoes, I do that too but I DO give myself regular pedicures! I’m just a girly girl.

  34. Monty
    May 24, 2011 12:08 pm

    jmarie — giving men the chance to see boobs all over the workplace in exchange for your right to see some hanging brain is roughly equivalent to the Cowboys’ windfall when they dumped Hershel Walker on the Vikes.

  35. Joe K.
    May 24, 2011 12:39 pm

    Open toed shoes might be a safety issue if you work where there’s a shop or warehouse/shipping area. I would definately agree with no flip-flops in the office, and I think it’s reasonable to say no open-toed shoes in the office. They’re not professional, they’re for evenings and weekends.

  36. PittinDC
    May 24, 2011 12:57 pm

    I didn’t know that anyone still wore panty hose anymore. In DC, you never wear them. It is WAY too hot out.

  37. BrieCS
    May 24, 2011 12:58 pm

    I think that requiring women to wear skirts, ever, is totally inappropriate and sexist. If we’re talking about covering up people being too “sexy” for work, then pants would be more appropriate, and if we don’t want to see people’s “unattractiveness”, pants are even more appropriate.

    @Biggest Fan – that’s such a shallow list. If you’re so obsessed with other people’s appearance, you need to reassess your priorities. Plus, if people are wearing pants, none of those are an issue, and hose doesn’t necessarily hide all of those things, nor do closed-toed shoes.

    I do agree with skirts being an appropriate length (around up to 3 inches above the knee is typically fine), but requiring skirts? That’s just wrong. Requiring hose means people will be uncomfortable. Requiring closed toes shoes can make more sense – like Joe K. says.

    The fact is that allowing people to wear pants and no hose isn’t making them unprofessional. If people were given actual etiquette classes these days, people would understand the difference in dress and what is appropriate.

  38. PittinDC
    May 24, 2011 1:00 pm

    Also, no flip flops I totally get, but I don’t get the no open toed shoe thing. Again, totally normal here.

  39. mfj
    May 24, 2011 1:15 pm

    My favorite “do you know who I am?” story came from a friend who was a cop in a small town. The mayor’s son got pulled over, says “do you know who my dad is?” and the cop says, “sorry, kid, can’t help you.” Apocryphal, maybe, but still a good story.

  40. Moxie Bestos
    May 24, 2011 1:30 pm

    Am I the only one who isn’t sure if skirts or dresses are required? The text quoted above says that the “next logical step” is presuming that we leave our slacks at home. But who is taking that step? The person commenting on the code, or the code itself? Because no one has said that the dress code requires skirts or dresses. Note that there is nothing logical about how government works. And if you presume, you make a Pres out of U and Me. Wait, you know what I mean.

    And apropos of nothing, panty hose and open toed shoes should never be worn together. Pedicures should be admired. Panty hose seams should not.

  41. mmppgh
    May 25, 2011 8:29 am

    If the men are required to wear suits, they must NEVER loosen their tie or take off their jacket – esp at the height of summer. After all, women can’t take off their pantyhose or loosen their shoes because that would be breaking the dress code. Ridiculous and old fashioned. Though I unfortunately realize not everyone shows good taste or grooming. So since we can’t use common sense and respect for colleagues, let’s make a rule! Wanna bet it was one person that prompted this?

  42. rachel
    May 26, 2011 3:41 pm

    I think if Michele Obama can meet the queen of freakin’ England in a dress with bare legs, I should be able to get away with the same get up while sitting at a computer for 8 hours or making photocopies.