This is an Ask a Geek Feminist question for our commenters:
I work in a research lab with about 15 employees. There are two women, and administrative assistant and me (an engineer) we are getting ready for a big design review and someone suggested we get shirts that we can all wear to match for the big presentation. The problem is that there is a local style of shirt that men wear but women do not typically, the woman equivalent of the shirt is usually sleeveless and sometimes skimpy and not work appropriate. I asked that we not do the local shirt because it wouldn’t really work for me and instead do polo shirts. When I made the request one of my co-workers suggest another local dress that is associated with old women and everyone laughed. I have just found out that the decision was made and we are buying the local shirt and I am supposed to just get a men’s small (they don’t make them in women’s sizes). If I don’t wear the shirt I won’t look like part of the team but I feel like my lab had the chance to try to be inclusive but chose not to. The other woman isn’t happy about it either but she doesn’t have to do a professional presentation. What do I do? I could dress professionally in my own clothes but then what do I say when a customer asks why I don’t match? Do I just put on the men’s shirt?