Regarding the struggle of dressing as a professional woman.

4. Yes, We Knew This: It’s Worse for Women

Most news junkies have probably heard the story of Debrahlee Lorenzana, the Queens woman who sued Citibank last month, alleging she was fired for being “too hot.” Whether or not there’s any validity to the woman’s case, women in the workplace are often faced with a double bind: they are expected to be sexy but can be punished for being too attractive. Sixty-one percent of the hiring managers we surveyed—60 percent of whom were men—said they believe a woman would benefit from wearing clothing that shows off her figure at work. Meanwhile, 47 percent of those same managers said they believe some women are penalized for being too good-looking in the office. As a whole, women are perceived to benefit more from their looks: 39 percent of managers believe that being “very good-looking” is more of an advantage for women than men, while only 16 percent believe the opposite—that it’s more beneficial to men than to women. (Is anybody surprised?)
— Newsweek

(This quote comes via Newsweek. See also Equality Myth's blog on a recent Forbes article regarding women and flirtation in the workplace.)

So we want to avoid looking frumpy and outdated, or sloppy and unprofessional. Yet we're also expected to look attractive-- but not too much of that kind of attractive. Look good but not too good? *Sigh. And let me just say that as a part of the female clergy, figuring out how to dress is the most complex part of my job. More than once I wished we all wore loose, Middle Eastern robes or nun habits.

Update [24Oct]: Apparently this issue is on the minds of other female clergy, too >>