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Office style Tattoos in ties out

Issued: 2018-03-08


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Long frowned upon in professional settings, visible tattoos have become a way to promote businesses, causes and show corporate loyalty.

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Thinking of getting some ink? Many people view tattoo's as a form of self expression .. but remember, they're typically permanent. Before you head to the tattoo parlor, here are some things you should consider. Wochit

The 23rd annual two-day Motor City Tattoo Expo took place at the Renaissance Center.(Photo: Christopher M. Bjornberg, Special to the Free Press)

A few months ago, LaTondra Cannon — a recruiter with a Southfield bartending side business Ooh La La — inked her company's logo, big pink lips, with the company name underneath, on the inside of her left arm.

"I bartend at night," Cannon, 34, said Wednesday. "So when I pour, people see it. It's a conversation starter."

Long frowned upon in professional workplaces, visible tattoos have become fashionable, especially as a way for entrepreneurs, like Cannon, to promote their businesses. Activists are using them to advocate for their causes. Workers and customers are getting them to express corporate fealty.

Cannon — whose day job is at Aerotek, a global staffing company — said visible tattoos are still a no-no at some professional service firms. But many seem to have eased up on their prohibitions.

"Times have changed," Cannon said, adding that perceptions that tattoos are just for rebels and rock stars are fading. "People are using tattoos to express themselves. You actually learn a lot about a people just through their ink."

A 2016 poll found that about 3 in 10 Americans had at least one tattoo, up from about 2 in 10 just four years earlier, and the younger they were, the more likely they were to have a tattoo: 47% of millennials — people in their 20s and 30s — had a tattoo; followed by 36% of gen Xers and 13% of baby boomers.

Moreover, the poll showed, a majority of Americans said they'd be comfortable seeing a person with a tattoo in a range of jobs including teachers, coaches, pediatricians, judges — and even presidential candidates.

And while Americans are getting more comfortable with tattoos in the office, they also seem increasingly adverse to wearing ties, which, for years, were part of the professional man's uniform.

As a recruiter, Cannon said she looks for tattoos during interviews to help start small talk and get nervous candidates to open up about themselves.

"I think its a new version of when people have children and put their pictures in their wallet and pull them out," she said. "It's like: 'Hey, these are some of my accomplishments. These are my babies. Look at what I got.' "

Consider events in just the past few days.

Last Sunday at the Academy Awards, young actress Emma Watson showed off a stylized temporary tattoo on her arm to show her deep devotion to the Time's Up movement against sexual harassment.

There was a bit of an uproar on social media.

But, the outcry wasn't because Watson — who played the goody-goody Gryffindor, Hermione Granger, in the "Harry Potter" movies and in real life is an Ivy League graduate — wore a tattoo to one of Hollywood’s most glamorous events.

It was because the tattoo itself had a typo, "Times Up" instead of "Time's Up."


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