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To ask help wording a dress code policy for our office?

(184 Posts)
OvertiredandConfused Thu 01-Oct-15 15:21:26

I am in despair of the dress code at work and want to change it so that it gives a reasonable idea of expectations but isn't a ridiculous list of dos and don'ts! We're all intelligent adults for goodness sake!

The aim is to have what I would call a smart casual / business casual environment. So that would allow for tailored jeans with a shirt or jacket and smart shoes, for example. Your favourite tour t-shirt, ripped jeans and trainers is not ok.

We currently have what reads like a very prescriptive dress code and yet half the staff still look scruffy even thought they technically follow the guidelines whilst the other half are irritated that the jeans example above is not allowed.

I was thinking of a statement along the lines of "we expect employees to present themselves in clean and smart attire that is appropriate for their role and an office environment." However, I think that is a little too open to personal interpretation.

Has anyone got any useful suggestions, or great policies that they're willing to share?

hedgehogsdontbite Thu 01-Oct-15 15:29:07

I can't stand work dress codes. If you want to dictate what people wear introduce a uniform and pay for it.

homeaway Thu 01-Oct-15 15:29:13

Can you give them an example of what you have said is not acceptable, as you have done here ?

Gottagetmoving Thu 01-Oct-15 15:32:08

I can't stand work dress codes. If you want to dictate what people wear introduce a uniform and pay for it

I agree with this ^

IKnowIAmButWhatAreYou Thu 01-Oct-15 15:34:18

Black trousers & company Polo shirts.


Bunbaker Thu 01-Oct-15 15:35:57

I think dress codes are very useful because they give guidelines as to what is and what isn't acceptable. My workplace has relaxed its dress code so we can now wear jeans and trainers to work.

We are asked not to wear ripped jeans, vest tops, halter necks and boob tubes though. I don't think this is unreasonable.

Tarzanlovesgaby Thu 01-Oct-15 15:37:15

cover up your bits, be comfortable.
that should do.

BojackHorseman Thu 01-Oct-15 15:39:06

If it was up to me I'd ban see through clothing, on Monday I saw a young woman wearing a see through top in my office and her white bra was visible to everyone. Not a good look in a corporate environment, I'm all for dressing casually but that was too far.

manicinsomniac Thu 01-Oct-15 15:42:33

I would use what you said - "we expect employees to present themselves in clean and smart attire that is appropriate for their role and an office environment."

It is open to interpretation but that interpretation would be yours. If your boss says you can't wear something because it's against a policy document nobody's going to argue with it.

molyholy Thu 01-Oct-15 15:46:01

tailored jeans with a shirt or jacket and smart shoes

Michelle Fowler called. She wants her outfit back

fredfredgeorgejnrsnr Thu 01-Oct-15 15:47:10

manicinsomniac But they are, a policy which is not clearly written is one that you will struggle to justify in an unfair dismissal tribunal.

If you want to dictate how people look - then a uniform. Otherwise, focus on the work people do, not how they look.

JessicaFletchersEyes Thu 01-Oct-15 15:49:22

Do staff meet clients?

IceBeing Thu 01-Oct-15 15:49:57

I agree with either have a uniform or shut up about it....

Some people look scruffier than others wearing the same thing. It has to do with attractiveness. So to be honest I would view any attempt to ban scruffy as discriminatory.

What sort of work is it? Why do you need a code?

Bunbaker Thu 01-Oct-15 15:50:31

I think you need to list what is not acceptable as well.

TheHouseOnTheLane Thu 01-Oct-15 15:51:43

Do it amusingly. With images.

Mermaid36 Thu 01-Oct-15 15:52:41

We have a "dress for your day" policy - if you have meetings or site visits, business casual is expected.

Any other time casual is ok - but the exceptions are as follows - no shoestring straps/crop tops or see through clothing, no football/rugby shirts, no beachwear (!), no clothing that is scruffy or unclean...

I can send you the policy if you message me...

Janeymoo50 Thu 01-Oct-15 15:53:12

I'd go as far as stating that jeans and casual tops are not acceptable Mon-Thursday (I guess you have dress down Friday?) and that smart trousers/shirts and blouses/jumpers would be considered more appropriate.
It's a tricky one though, as it's so open to how people read it.

I much prefer a dress code, ours is very informal (used to be stricter) and sometimes some people look like they are heading down the pub for an afternoon (especially during the summer with the young girls being the worst with their skimpy dresses etc). I have two wardrobes, one is work and one is weekends and the two never meet – so the grey work trousers (ladies M and S), pale blue short sleeved shirt (again M and S) and smart black cardigan (yep you guessed it M and S) I am currently wearing is work clothes and would never be worn at the weekend. I literally have about 6 or 7 interchanging work outfits of this type of stuff (no suits owned). Friday is dress down, so I wear jeans or cords and a less formal top and a colourful cardi or hoodie and trainers or funky boots as opposed to smart black lace up clarks shoes.

InTheBox Thu 01-Oct-15 15:55:57

What sort of environment is it? And is this your specific problem to sort out or have you just taken umbrage at some of the scruffier people?

I've always wondered why common sense doesn't prevail with this sort of thing. Clearly if it is corporate and includes going to events and meeting clients then people should understand that.

I've worked in an environment which required formal attire. In my spare time I'm usually in leggings and a shirt. I don't need a 'written' policy to make me aware of this fact. Why do others struggle with something seemly so straight forward? It's not as if you are dictating which brands are acceptable etc.

OvertiredandConfused Thu 01-Oct-15 15:57:21

Thanks for the practical suggestions. I really don't think the choice is between a uniform or anything goes! Many staff sometimes meet clients, suppliers etc. The reputation and image of our organisation is important and staff need to reflect that.

This might not be to everyone's taste, but I don't see it as Michelle Fowler, or inappropriate. However, this isn't appropriate.

As I said, I want to trust people and treat them as adults whilst also making it clear that business requirements mean there are some rules.

snowgirl1 Thu 01-Oct-15 15:59:10

If you've currently got a prescriptive dress code, but employees still look scruffy then I think having a statement that's open to interpretation (clean and smart) is not likely to improve things.

I've worked in organisations which have had very prescriptive dress codes (one even specified that underwear was required confused ) and organisations which have had just a statement like the one you're suggesting. There were inappropriately dressed people regardless in both types of organisation. If you want a consistently applied standards of dress, you need managers to give feedback to people who come in inappropriately dressed - "I notice you've come into work in Birkenstocks today, I don't feel those are appropriate for work. Please don't wear them to work again, thanks". Sadly, many managers just don't have the balls feel comfortable having those conversations.

BikeRunSki Thu 01-Oct-15 15:59:11

I think I'd go with what you initially said, and add what is not acceptable. As well as the items already listed by others, in my office this includes flip flop / mule style shoes. We also have optional logo'ed fleeced, blouses and polo shirts. I generally wear mine on site visits/public meetings/field work or conferences, where I am representing my organisation externally, but not on days when I am just in the office.

Spidertracker Thu 01-Oct-15 15:59:17

I work at a school, our dress code says dress appropriately for the school environment. The specifies no jeans no slogan shirts, skirts,if worn, must be knee length, no lowcut tops or bare shoulders. No flip flops.
It also states sports wear must be worn for PE lessons

FishOn Thu 01-Oct-15 16:01:17

'if you wear it to the beach or the gym don't wear it to the office' grin

DontBuyANewMumCashmere Thu 01-Oct-15 16:01:50

I've only ever worked in two offices and they were both office attire only. You couldn't get away with jeans and trainers there, and they weren't even customer facing.

I would have no problems imposing a more strict Office attire only rule, with a possibly dress down Friday, with the understanding that if this becomes scruffy it'll be removed.

Why would anyone think it appropriate to wear ripped jeans or trainers to work?! confused reveals fuddy duddy personality

mrssmith79 Thu 01-Oct-15 16:02:10

Tailored jeans with a shirt or jacket and smart shoes

Just send a quick memo around informing all staff that they must come to work dressed as Mary Berry. Easy. grin

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