Views #1408 | Intermediate (B1)

Dressing for Work

John and Sarah discuss tattoos, piercing and if you need to dress professionally for work.

Sarah: So John, what do you think about tattoos and piercings?

John: Oh. Well, I think they're okay. Personally, I have my ears pierced, and I have many tattoos. But in the professional world, different people have different ideas. So I had to make sure all of my tattoos can be covered by a t-shirt, so any person who sees me doesn't know that I have any tattoos.

But I personally think tattoos are okay. So if I saw a police officer with many tattoos on her arms and her neck, I wouldn't have a problem with it. What about you?

Sarah: Do you think in the future, maybe as you and I grow up, it will become more common to go to the doctor or maybe go to the bank and you see people, and they are professional people, but they have visible tattoos or earrings?

I also have a tattoo. So I think they're okay.

John: I agree. I think that in the future, it will be more and more commonplace to see people who have visible tattoos and piercings.

Of course, right now, people are having more and more visible tattoos that are very small. But maybe in the future, tattoos will be bigger and bigger. I think it's the same with piercings.

Nowadays, it's normal to see women and men who have their ears pierced. But it's still not common to see a professional working with their nose pierced or their eyebrows pierced. Maybe in the future that will be common as well.

Sarah: I think so. But one thing that I think won't change is professional clothing. I think these days and the future, I think a nice suit, a professional collared shirt, ironed pants – I think those type of clothes are really important for your job or for the type of job if you want a promotion.

And I think in the future, we'll see people with really nice professional clothing and then they might have visible tattoos or earrings. I think your clothes show how important your job is to you.

John: I see what you're saying. If I was trying to hire a lawyer and I saw two lawyers and both of them had tattoos and their ears pierced, but if one of the lawyers was wearing a suit, even if that person have tattoos and piercings, if they're wearing a suit, I would rather choose that lawyer than someone who had tattoos and piercings who was wearing a t-shirt and shorts.

Sarah: Uh-hmm.

John: So I agree with you that the clothing is more important for professional image.

Sarah: What do you think – these days, some of the computer companies or tech startups, the CEOs are young people and they'll go to work wearing jeans or shorts and a t-shirt. And they like to portray a casual atmosphere through their clothes. What do you think about that?

John: Well, in my opinion, the environment at a job, as long as everyone working there is in the same environment, maybe they should be able to choose what kind of professional attire is appropriate inside of that company. But the problem would arise when those workers have to interact with people from another company.

So if another company has a dress code where everyone is wearing suits and these two companies have to work together, there might be a problem.

Sarah: It's strange that clothes seem like they're so important. The knowledge and the product should be important but I think everyone looks at the clothes and makes a judgment.

John: Yeah. It's interesting that we all know the saying "Don't judge a book by its cover" but we can't help but do that. Everyone is judging people by what they wear, and that's not going to change.

Sarah: I agree.

Answer these questions about the interview.
Audio Lessons about Phrases and Vocabulary

have a problem with

imageI wouldn't have a problem with it.

When you have a problem with something, you are not happy about it. Notice the following:

  1. The teacher has a problem with students sleeping in class.
  2. Do you have a problem with me coming late to the meeting?


imageThey have visible tattoos or earrings.

When something is visible, you can clearly see it. Notice the following:

  1. The city lights are visible in the distance.
  2. The stars are very visible tonight.


imageI think it's the same with piercings.

Piercings are holes in the body used to hold jewelry like earrings and such. Notice the following:

  1. She has a piercing in her lip.
  2. I do not like the look of nose piercings.


imageI like the environment at my job.

Here, the environment is the feeling or mood of someplace. Notice the following:

  1. It is a nice environment to work in.
  2. The environment on campus is fun.


imageWhat kind of professional attire is appropriate?

Attire is a set of clothing a person wears. Notice the following:

  1. I like your attire.
  2. What is the dress attire like at your work?

Don't judge a book by its cover

imageDon't judge a book by its cover.

The phrase 'Don't judge a book by its cover' means you should not make judgments based on first impressions. Notice the following:

  1. The movie looked boring, but as they say, don't just a book by its cover.
  2. When I am looking for something good to read, I try not judge a book by its cover.

Vocabulary Quiz

have a problem • visible • piercing
environment • attire • judge a book
  1. Many students have a body .
  2. The sign is clearly for us to see.
  3. You must wear professional to work.
  4. You should not by its cover.
  5. It is a nice to work in.
  6. They with how you work.

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Hello, and welcome to elllo. My name is Todd Beuckens. I've been an ESL teacher for 25 years. I created elllo to provide teachers and students free audio lessons and learning materials not usually found in commercial textbooks.
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