Fitting for the Workplace


 

The woman behind the counter wore a tube top dress with a jean jacket. On her feet were flip flops, with a big plastic sunflower in the center of each one.

If this were a public pool, that outfit would fit. But this was a doctor's office.

Welcome to summer in the workplace. When the temperature heats up, so do battles over dress codes. Dress codes exist for a reason – because some people make unfortunate choices in clothing and grooming.

It could be tube tops and flip flops were within the bounds of the doctor's office dress code. But that seems doubtful.

Appropriate wear is a sensitive issue, because it's personal. People see clothing choices as self-expression. They resist any change, saying, "I have my own style," or "This is who I am."

Employers don't want to have the "your outfit is inappropriate" talk with an employee, any more than the "body odor" talk. Those that need it don't always get the talk, they just get passed over for promotion.

When we work for an organization, we are not just representing ourselves. For many people we meet, we are the face of the organization. It's important to represent our organization well.

Some cover this topic by cataloging the Don'ts. Don't wear tank tops. Don't show your boxer shorts. Don't wear a thing with glue-gunned bling.

Instead, here are some guidelines to consider for all dress codes:

• Represent your organization's brand, mission and culture well.

• Select clothing that inspires confidence in others.

• Dress so people respect you, not inspect you.

• Keep it simple, so people hear you, not your loud outfit.

• Let your attire lead to where you aspire.

Whether your dress code is professional, business casual or extreme casual, strive to represent your organization in a way that's fitting.


 

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Culture and Manners Institute at www.cultureandmanners.com