It had been 10 years since I’d last visited the Las Vegas Hair and Nail Show and I was fairly excited to be going again. Anticipating dressing up, I brought the always popular black slacks, new dress shirts, and a pair of snazzy black sandals. Well, after two days of walking around the strip, my feet were swollen and I could barely walk. The only shoes tolerable were a new pair of cushy flip flops, but they would not go well with the black slacks. So on the opening day of the show I hobbled around in my rhinestone flip flops, Capri pants, and a T-shirt.

I felt bad that I didn’t dress up for the show – that is until I saw how a large segment of my peers were dressed. A lot has changed in the last 10 years and not for the better.

The day before the show I observed the people attending the jewelry convention in town, the men wore business suits and had GQ hairstyles. The women wore either business suits with slacks or skirts (that came to just below the knee) or they wore nice blouses that were buttoned up and tucked into their skirts. I’m not sure if they wore pantyhose, but they did wear one-inch or lower heels. Jewelry was at a minimum and everyone looked stylish and professional. I watched for a long time and didn’t see one person who looked scruffy.

Then I watched the beauty professionals at our show. Most were dressed as casually as I was, with shorts or capris and T-shirts. Some were dressed more nicely but they looked like they were working at the booths.

However, a large segment of women came looking like they just left the nightclub. Cleavage was spilling out (front and back cleavage) with bras openly visible. Bellies were not only exposed, but were literally hanging out over their too tight pants (known as “the muffin top” or if they are wearing white, known as “the exploding biscuit can”). Skirts were worn way too short, mostly showing off dimples and fat rolls. These women looked like they could’ve been attending an adult film convention instead of a beauty convention. Frankly, I was embarrassed for them since they didn’t have enough sense to be embarrassed for themselves.

When did it become acceptable to look “hootchie”? It used to be that people dressed up at conventions to look their nicest. Not church attire, but fashionable attire. Some women seem to follow the trend set by the pop or rap stars we see on TV, but they fail to realize that they don’t have the face or body to pull it off. Instead they end up looking sleazy when they let it all hang out. If these women dress this way at a national trade show then chances are they dress the same way in the salon and see nothing wrong with it.

Oh, Stacy and Clinton (from TLC’s “What NOT to Wear”), where are you when we need you? For the truly clueless here are the top give most inappropriate things to show in a professional and environment:

  1. Cracks
  2. Cleavage
  3. Bellies
  4. Underwear
  5. Bras

Perhaps by speaking out we can prevent this lack of taste in attire from spreading any further than it already has. How can we expect society to treat us as professionals if we don’t even respect ourselves enough to dress the part? At the very least, cover up your back cleavage because nobody wants to see that! Remember, you are not a pop star so please don’t dress like one. You are representing our beauty industry so show some class and dress accordingly. I’m afraid at this rate if I attend the convention 10 years from not it’ll be clothing optional.

Jill Wright owns Jill Wright Spa for Nails in Bowling Green, KY.

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