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Clothes call: business attire, casual business attire, jacket required?

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Question: “We need to address an issue regarding a company dress code. Can you offer any guidance?” — Eva Arche


What is the issue? Knowing this will help in giving advice.

I agree with Rebecca - what is the issue?

In the mean time, here is a dress code that works:


• Slacks, skirts or dresses.
• Dress knit shirts and collared shirts, blouses or sweaters.
• Tailored sandals and close-toed shoes.

Not Acceptable:

• Cropped pants, jeans or shorts.
• Sweatshirts or sweat pants, athletic wear and running suits.
• Denim skirts, skorts, or mini-skirts.
• Leggings or other form-fitting stretch clothing, strap tops, bare midriff tops or T-shirts with slogans on them.
• Tennis shoes (hiking boots, flip/flops, beach sandals.

It's still up to management to enforce the dress code.

Ditto to Rebecca. Is it a case of needing a dress code and not having one? Having a dress code that is not enforced? Having a dress code that needs to be adjusted? All three of the scenarios would be treated differently, so I can't think of any help to give without knowing what you are talking about.

Also, we need to know if you have people who deal with the public. In my company we don't have a formal dress code, but those who deal with the public are expected to dress less casually than those who don't. Also, Fridays are "dress down" days, again with those who deal with the public dessing less informally than those who don't.

I agree that we need to know the issue. I developed the dress code where I work and I generally agree with the other responses. My only difference of opinion is that we have no dress down or casual Fridays and we also have a majority of employees who wear uniforms. There is strict criteria for those employees. The rest of us adhere to the dress code which is business casual - same as listed in the other responses. I do believe that a dress code is easier to maintain if it is a written policy. A distinct policy will make any argument out of the question and all issues clear cut.

Having a dress code is never easy, and if you are not going to reinforce the dress code it will be a waste of your time. We have a dress code that has become a little more relaxed in the past years because we are now part of a large corporation, and they do not have a dress code, and it has been left up to the individual sites. Everyone being forced to wear corporate gear takes away from the individuality, creativity, and it is boring.

Here are my suggestions; and it will only take a short time to create. Create a scrapbook from catalogs like Lands End, Eddie Bauer, Penney's, etc. with pictures of the proper way to dress. Add the pictures from any other catalog of what is not appropriate, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Some items you may want to address - these were all I could think of right offhand:

No tattoos showing
No bare skin at midriff
No underwear showing
No bra straps showing (yes I know this should be covered under "underwear" but not everyone GETS IT...
No cleavage showing (oh, darn, that spoils all the fun...)
Shave your legs/armpits
No dripping sweat on the customers (!)
No piercings showing other than earrings
No artwork/logos/slogans on T-shirts
No jeans PERIOD - Or, if allowed on Casual Day they must be CLEAN & PRESSED, no rips, tears or stains
No flip-flops

I wish that my department HAD a dress code. We have a girl at the front reception desk who comes to work every day with her cleavage showing. It is so inappropriate, yet it is allowed to happen. How does one get that type of thing stopped?

Don't we all wish your fellow associates just used "common sense" when dressing to come to work? We actually had an associate who came into work with rollers in her hair. Hair rollers, cleavage showing, thong underwear showing, etc., etc., just should not be worn/done at the workplace. But unless a Dress Code Policy is enforced, it is very hard to get associates to follow it.

Oh, and NO HAIRY CLEAVAGE (at either end of one's body, back or front) - plumbers, this applies to YOU TOO!


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

andie September 18, 2009 at 11:14 am

Very informative article. Here is another site that may be alot of help to you guys.


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