Punk Dress in the Workplace: Aesthetic Expression and Accommodation

Monica Sklar, Marilyn DeLong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Individuals who identify with punk subculture negotiate between aesthetic expression of their subcultural identity and the role they believe they are expected to play at work. Men and women, aged 26 - 45 years, in a wide range of professions were interviewed and asked questions related to their workplace dress. They were asked to bring to the interview a display of how they dress to express both their punk and workplace identities. Interviewees reported a balancing act of blending in and standing out, taking into consideration viewer interpretations and subsequent outcomes. Efforts to wear "appropriate" dress included accommodations such as modifying one's punk appearance by conceding to dress codes and using perceived non-confrontational aesthetic choices with punk cues subtly coded to appear conventional. Dress features were selectively revealing or concealing punk symbols as interviewees strive to push the boundaries of workplace appropriateness for satisfying aesthetic self-expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-299
Number of pages15
JournalClothing and Textiles Research Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • appearance labor
  • identity
  • punk dress
  • workplace dress


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