10:18 13 July 2009
Breasts can be a girl's best friend in many situations, however showing too much flesh in the office could be affecting women's movement up the career ladder.
According to new research, gone are the days of power dressing like men. Instead, tight-fit tops with plunging necklines seem to be the office fashion order of the day.
However a survey by experts in the US into the impact of breasts on people's behaviour found that rather than attracting males as intended, low cleavage tops and short skirts could be having the opposite effect, and also harming their careers.
Women who are showing too much by wearing low-cut v-neck jumpers, scoop neck tops and short skirts are likely to be seen as sexual rather than professional, and therefore damaging their chances of promotion.
In the study, men were shown pictures of women in various outfits and with differing bra sizes, in a generic workplace.
When asked which female looked the most professional and personable, the majority of the men chose the discreetly dressed woman and selected those with a medium bra size.
American author Elisabeth Squires, who has written about breasts for the past 20 years and is nicknamed "The Boob Lady" on US television, commissioned the research.
How not to dress ... and more appropriate attire for the workplace.
Squires said: "Breasts are getting bigger but clothes seem to be getting smaller, especially in the workplace.
"But what looks great on a 20-something female can look ridiculous on a 40-year-old."
The author of 'Boobs: A Guide to Your Girls' believes that showing a small amount of cleavage is acceptable for some women as long as they have a good figure.
"To look really great in this kind of showy clothing, you have to have an almost perfect figure. But let's face it, most of us don't.
"Walk around any public place and you will see women with tell-tale muffin tops spilling over too-tight pants and a low-cut top.
"And even for those with perfect figures, there is a question of when to use breast power," she said.
Squires suggests that two or even three inches could be tolerated in the workplace.
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