Determining an office dress code should be given great thought. You want to be comfortable during your work day but you also need to look professional, presentable at all times and dressed for success. While it may seem easy to determine what is appropriate for the office, it’s possible to make mistakes that you don’t even realize you are making.
When a company has no dress code, you need to make the effort to develop a personal dress code for yourself. With a creative environment, small company or casual work place, it’s easy to find yourself wearing whatever you’d like. It may not seem like there is an issue, but your colleagues may be secretly looking at you differently based on your clothing choices. Avoid the workplace drama and implement a dress code for your company in order to keep things professional and successful.
Dress Code Rules: What to Avoid
Since summer is here, it’s important to express that showing too much leg is not appropriate for the office. In addition to short shorts, watch tank tops, tube tops, micro miniskirts, and sheer dresses. It’s normal to want to dress cooler with the warm temperatures, but you’ll end up revealing too much skin, distracting others and causing drama in the office. Don’t allow females to bare their midriff, and if a female continues to do so, you may need to pull her aside to discuss the issue.
Avoid looking sloppy with torn clothing, baggy pants, un-tucked shirts and baseball caps. It will make you look unprofessional and appear as though you just rolled out of bed. Make sure tattoos are covered up to avoid offending customers. Jewelry should be kept to a minimum and hair should be well groomed. Being clean shaven isn’t required, but it should be expressed that male employees are to be trim and tidy. Be aware and understanding of certain religious beliefs when it comes to beards, but feel free to be restrictive on crazy haircuts such as mohawks, shaved patters and neon colored hair.
What is Acceptable?
Rather than wearing slacks, summer is a great time to start wearing capris. This will keep you cooler while avoiding showing too much skin. If Bermuda shorts on men are too relaxed for your company, consider allowing it on Fridays only during the summer.
If your staff is looking sloppy before a dress code is implemented, let them know that business casual is acceptable but the sloppy look has to go. Business casual implies that khaki trousers, clean button-down shirts, matching shoes and a belt are preferred. Business casual attire will look better than no dress code and won’t scare potential clients away because they sense that your company is unprofessional.
Employees dressing sloppily or too provocatively need to cover up. If a female is trying to wear crop tops, maybe a top-and-vest combination would be a good recommendation. Eliminate flip flop shoes, sneakers and encourage closed-toe options.
Business Formal vs Casual
Lastly, you need to determine if your office is a business casual or business formal type of atmosphere. Business formal includes dressy evening events and award ceremonies, dark colored suits with silk ties and French cut style shirts. For women, formal settings require suits with pantyhose, closed toe pumps and skirts. Business professional attire would be similar, with women having the option of pants and men having the options of blazers or suit jackets, button down shirts and ties.
Business casual is much more relaxed. Women are allowed to wear collared shirts, sweaters, and dress pants. Men can be seen wearing polo shirts, sweaters, khakis and no tie. Small business casual could also allow well-tailored jeans, casual blouses, flats instead of heels and in some cases, even t-shirts or sneakers.
Consider what your office atmosphere is before determining the best changes to the dress code. A casual office may function better while formal attire may produce the best results.