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Dress Code Challenges

Posted By Governmental Affairs Committee, Wednesday, May 9, 2018

“I can’t believe she wore those today! Has someone told her boss? So inappropriate. She’s always bending the rules.”

If you haven’t started hearing this around the office, brace yourself, it is coming! There will always be office gossip and someone who pushes the envelope in what they wear to work, but having a documented dress code, with photo examples, can help you navigate how to best respond when the issues arise.

For those working in an office environment, the flexibility of an alternate dress code during those dreaded, long, hot summer days can be of great benefit. Some questions to ask if you are thinking about altering the dress code for a period of time include:

  • What is appropriate given our level of in-person customer contact?
  • We already have casual Fridays when employees can wear jeans, should we allow shorts on Fridays during certain months of the year?
  • Should a special dress code be tied to a company goal (fundraising, project completion, etc.)?
  • Should we lay out expectations of modesty for a company picnic?

If you choose to move forward with creating an altered dress code, be sure to keep in mind things such as:

  • Skirt length (and sometimes necessary – how high a slit goes – eek!)
  • Short/capri length (if you will even allow shorts/capris)
  • Shoulder strap width (some may also add, no portion of a bra can show)
  • Neckline descent (is any amount of cleavage appropriate?!?!?!)
  • Condition of clothing (holes, cutouts, etc.)
  • Transparency of fabric (I know I’ve seen blouses leaving nothing to the imagination)
  • Acceptable shoe types – sandals, flip flops, Toms, etc.

It is also advisable to include your employees in the dress code discussion. When they have a voice, they will be more likely to actually follow the policy instead of push it to the limit. Plus, they might have some really great ideas!

Each new season brings new trends and new reasons to revisit a dress code policy – don’t think of this as a one and done; it is an every year affair. Mark your calendar now to revisit your newly revised dress code in 10-12 months!

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7/10/2018
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