Dress code is something that has been there for a long time. You have adhered to specific dress codes yourself. Every occasion you attend has a dress code. When you go to an event, interview, party, or work in an office, you always know what the dress code is or what you should wear. If you’re going out with friends, you will dress casually because it is not a professional meeting. But, if you are going for an interview, you will opt for an official dress code.
When it comes to workplace environments, various companies have different dress code policies. In this article, we have defined what a dress code policy is, the purpose of a dress code policy, types, and how to write one.
What is Dress Code Policy?
Every company has a dress code policy. It is a document that informs employees on what the appropriate dress code is for a specific company. Dress codes are used to explain to workers what attire the company finds acceptable. A dress code policy helps the employer to set standards on the impression the company wants to make. Dress codes may be formal or casual and may require the use of uniforms.
The Purpose of a Dress Code Policy
Impressions that employees make are essential to the success of an organization. The purpose of a dress code policy is to portray a certain image of a company. What does this mean? For example, let’s say you are the CEO of a hospital, and the dress code policy you have in place does not include a white lab coat. A patient visiting your hospital will be confused since they already have an image of what the hospital staff should wear. In this case, the image of a hospital has not been portrayed correctly. Some companies also have dress code policies for safety and comfort purposes. For example, car manufacturing companies where you will be operating heavy machinery, helmets, gloves, etc., will be included.
Dress Code Types
Different companies have different types of dress codes. Employers should determine which form of dress code will have an image they want to portray and the company values. We have identified and defined the different types of dress codes below:
Employers implement the business formal dress code to present a businesslike image to customers. Casual clothing and shoes are not allowed in this case. The most common organizations that employ this type of dress code include banks, law firms, e.t.c.
Business professional and formal business attires are similar, but you do not have to wear your best shoes and suits for business professional wear. Women normally wear a skirt or a trouser with heels, while men can wear a blazer or a suit jacket, a button-down shirt, tuxedo pants, a tie, and dress shoes.
If the company’s dress code is casual, that means you don’t need to wear a suit. However, it does not call for casual clothes, such as jeans and t-shirts. Women usually wear a shirt with a collar or sweater with dress pants and dress shoes or boots. Moderate dresses and skirts are also suitable clothes. A man’s business casual attire includes a polo shirt, collared shirt, or jumper—Khaki or dress trousers, along with dress shoes. A tie is not compulsory.
The term ‘casual’ means relaxed and casual, so clothing is practical and comfortable. Informal dress codes are on the rise in corporate environments, replacing standard business dress codes such as casual business attire, especially in small, family-run companies, young start-ups, and the fashion industry. In the fashion industry, it is appealing when workers use the freedom offered by this dress code to showcase their styles. T-shirts, jeans, and trainers are permitted under the casual dress code. But you can only wear clean clothes without any ragged or damaged areas. Flip flops, jeans, or baggy clothes, such as sweatpants or hoodies, are not accepted.
Many companies provide summertime policies and programs to keep workers active and comfortable on hot, sunny days. The relaxed summer dress code is normally for staff who have no interactions with customers. Jeans, t-shirts, and running shoes are allowed, but managers may have special rules against wearing crop tops or sandals.
In most companies, Friday is known as casual dress code day. Employees wear informal clothes away from the usual day-to-day business attire. However, this mainly applies to employees who have no customer interactions. The common casual attire includes blue jeans, plain t-shirts, and sports shoes.
Grooming and hygiene
Grooming and hygiene generally mean cleanliness. In the dress code policies, the employers have included requirements such as wearing clean and plainclothes that are not revealing or ragged. Regular showering, good oral hygiene, and the use of perfume can also be included.
What to Include & How to Prepare a Dress Code Policy?
When you are drafting a dress code policy, how detailed it will be is up to you. Your employees are will adhere to your dress code policies when you explain the reasons for the chosen dress code. It is advisable to use a respectful tone in the policy.
There are various elements that you should consider when writing a dress code policy.
We have explained those elements below;
Start by introducing how the company expects employees to present themselves and why it is important. The purpose of dress code policies varies. Some companies employ dress code policies for safety, while others are for image purposes.
Who the dress code policy applies to
After the introduction, mention specifically who the dress code policy applies to. For example, in a restaurant, there are different categories of staff. Waiters and waitresses wear uniforms, and managers generally wear suits. In this case, state that wearing a uniform is for the waiters and waitresses to avoid confusion.
In the next section, you must instruct your staff on hygiene, jewellery, acceptable clothing, and other aspects like having tattoos. You could state that it is important to cover tattoos since the company portrays a particular image, and clients may not find the tattoos in line with the company’s values.
The company dress code
Proceed to explain what the company dress code is. Include every detail on what you expect your employees to wear to work. This eliminates any possibilities of future misunderstandings as the employees know what you expect. In general, the employee dress code is business casual. However, sales and marketing personnel who have regular contact with the company’s customers should follow the business professional dress code for customer interactions and meetings. Technical staff involved in hardware repairs and upgrades are permitted to wear more casual clothing, such as shorts, and can also use the company’s overalls for this purpose.
The next element is accomodation. It is important to be democratic. State that your employees should feel free to address any issues that do not sit right with them regarding the dress code to you or to human resources.
”If there are any issues that do not favour you or you may find offensive, please feel free to address them to the human resource department or me.”
Violation of the policy
Lastly, state that violating the dress code policy has consequences. An example of a consequence can be sending any person who violates the policy home to change. Managers or administrators may warn their staff when the dress code is breached. The problem should be promptly rectified by employees in breach.
”You will have to leave work to change clothes.
Repeated infringements or breaches will lead to administrative proceedings up to and including termination.”
Template of Dress Code Policy
We have provided a dress code policy template below to give you an idea of what the format looks like.
The dress code policy of [company name] is intended to help us all give our customers and colleagues a clear professional appearance. Our outlook focuses on us and the business. The purpose is not to upset consumers, clients, or co-workers but to ensure a positive outlook.
To whom does this policy apply?
The [company name] dress code applies to [positions to which the policy applies].
The company requests the employees to follow the following guidelines when choosing work attire:
[List the guidelines]
Dress Code Policy
The dress code for staff is [elaborate on the dress code]
If there are any concerns about the dress code policy: [state what the employees should do in this case]
Dress Code Violations:
[mention what happens when an employee violates the dress code policy]
Example of a Dress Code Policy
The dress code policy of Lonex is intended to help us all give our customers and colleagues a clear professional appearance. Our outlook focuses on us and the business. The purpose is not to upset consumers, clients, or co-workers but to ensure a positive outlook.
To whom does this policy apply?
The Lonex dress code policy applies to all employees.
Lonex Dress Code Policy:
Employees should dress in [casual, business, and smart casual, business] attire unless otherwise needed by the day’s duties.
Workers always have to be clean and competent. Everyone is supposed to wear clean clothes and be well maintained. Clothes should be free of holes, tears, or other signs of wear.
Though we accept stamped garments, the latter should not be offensive and suitable for the workplace.
Employee clothing should not be too revealing.
We encourage women to wear diamonds but advise the workers to remove body piercings during working hours.
The business does not have a rule against visible body tattoos but urges staff members to cover them where necessary and practical.
Religious or racial garments and clothing types are excluded.
Company dress code
In general, the employee dress code is business casual. However, sales and marketing personnel who have regular contact with the company’s customers should follow the business professional dress code for customer interactions and meetings. Technical staff involved in hardware repairs and upgrades are permitted to wear more casual clothing, such as shorts, and can also use the company’s overalls for this purpose.
If there are any issues that do not favor you or you may find offensive, please feel free to address them to the human resource department or me.
Dress Code Violations:
Managers or administrators may warn their staff when the dress code is breached. The problem should be promptly rectified by employees in breach. You will have to leave work to change clothes.
Repeated infringements or breaches will lead to administrative proceedings up to and including termination.
Free Dress Code Policy Templates
Writing a dress code policy can be difficult, especially if you do not know the format or what to include. But do not be discouraged. We have dress code templates on our website that are easy to follow and are downloadable. Feel free to visit our website and try them out. We hope that they will come in handy for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an acceptable dress code for the workplace
Examples of suitable workplace attire include polo shirts and khaki trousers, a jumper and a shirt with corduroy pants, a skirt or jacket, and a blouse or a skirt or pants with a sweater. Jumpsuits and sports jackets often suit the casual business environment provided they are not too formal.
Can you get fired for not following the dress code?
Yes. Employers are allowed to control their employees’ appearance as long as they do not discriminate against some employees.
Can an employer change the dress code?
Yes. Employers are entitled to implement various dress code requirements for employees. However, they should not place a greater burden on them.
What should you not wear in an office?
You should not wear tight or provocative clothes to work. Necklaces, crop tops, transparent fabrics, mini skirts, and dresses don’t apply to the office. A man’s unbuttoned shirt isn’t meant to show off his chest hair. When you wear provocative clothing, people will not recognize your professionalism.
Why do employees have dress codes?
Dress codes determine how customers perceive companies, and it makes their employees recognizable.
Can an employer force you to cover your tattoos?
Even though more workplaces are embracing tattoos, managers have the right to create personal image policies. These policies may need workers to cover up tattoos. No law forbids an employer from having such a policy as long as it does not discriminate against an individual.
Can employers make you shave?
Legally, employers can ask male employees to shave as long as they do not violate their civil rights or cause unnecessary hardship.
Can your employer force you to wear make-up?
Legally, employers can require women to wear make-up as part of the existing dress code. They may enforce these requirements on female workers while not burdening male employees at a similar level.
Are leggings appropriate for work?
Many employers do not consider leggings as appropriate work attire. Leggings are often slim compared to trousers like denim or khakis, making them slightly more controversial.
What are examples of business casual attire?
Acceptable casual business wear usually includes dress pants or khakis, dress shirts or blouses, collared or polo shirts, optional or seasonal athletic coats, dresses or skirts on or below the knee, fitted blazers, knit shirts or sweaters, and loafers or dress shoes that cover the majority of the feet
What is a casual dress code?
A casual dress code indicates that employees will be able to dress in comfortable, casual attire. A comfortable button-down shirt is a perfect choice for men, and ties are not worn. Women have a wide variety of top choices, but it is necessary to avoid low-cut or provocative tops.
What is a smart casual dress code?
Smart casual is a dress code that usually consists of well-fitting, neat and suitable elements that are somewhat less formal than business casual or professional business attire
What is the business dress code?
The business dress code is the attire you usually put on when you go to work. Appropriate business dress code varies from company to company.
Are dress codes legal?
Yes. Dress code policies are legal as long as they do not discriminate against employees.
After reading this article, you now know what a dress code is, a dress code policy, the different types of dress codes, and how to write a dress code policy. Dress code policies vary from company to company. In some companies like welding, these policies are for safety and comfort reasons to prevent accidents like burning yourself while in banks; they are there so that employees portray a professional image. Therefore, when you are drafting a dress code policy, you first have to consider the type of company.Although dress code policies are legal, you should be careful not to discriminate against anyone as it may lead to a lawsuit. Your policies should be gender-neutral to avoid confrontations in the workplace.Lastly, we hope that this article has given you more knowledge on the topic of dress code policies and that you have enjoyed what you have read.