Dress code or no-Dress code that is the question?


One of the big questions that started last year was the question of Company Dress Code policies. Are they out of fashion?  Are they still needed?

What does ‘smart casual’ really mean? It’s open to so many interpretations and often poses more questions than answers. One of the reasons why I guess UBS hit the headlines back in January 2011 with their uber-strict Dress Code!

So why do companies come up with these manuals?  Is it a control issue, or is there really an explosion of badly dressed people at work?

I guess the answer is simply: as human beings we judge each other by two pieces of information our appearance and our behaviour.  But as far as we are concerned when it comes to ourselves and how we look you want to look, we all have our own styles and appearances and behaviours.

How we look matters to us but also to our employers.  Our perception of others is rarely clear, or visa versa. Rather we see one another through a series of culturally created lenses.  Whether we build relationships online or not, we usually will eventually come face to face.  At which point there are no logos to hide behind and no airbrush that can help us.  We all start with a basic collection of features and things that make us who we are.  Gender, ethnicity, race, ability, size and others are all parts of a package we carry around with us in the world.

I guess the true need for a dress code for businesses is so that everyone has the same guidelines to work with and will save any discrimination from or to anyone, and for those who would like guidelines and need a hand to really understand whats required in your particular business then maybe it’s a good thing.

The jury is still out but I know that because as human beings we do judge people on looks and behaviour its essential this is covered.  Looking young, or old for that matter, being a woman or a man, how we dress, these things all change how people react to the message we are sharing…sometimes for the better, but not always.   We cannot control how others will take us.

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