You probably wouldn’t love for people to show up to work wearing pajamas or a bathing suit.  

To Wear or Not To Wear; Should You Be Able To Wear Whatever You Want in the Workplace?

Dress codes are tough, though, because it’s somewhat inappropriate to tell people exactly what they can and can’t wear without a formal uniform.  So where is the boundary? What if someone honestly works better while wearing their pajamas?

Dress Code Rebellion Begins Early
In high school, girls are constantly fighting the dress code battle.  The typical rules for most schools may include: no leggings, no short shorts, no ripped jeans, no tank tops, and no low cut shirts.  The purpose of these rules are to not make peers or faculty feel uncomfortable. The typical girl retaliation is: “instead of training girls to monitor what they wear, teach boys to focus on schoolwork rather than how a girl’s body is looking in their clothing.” Both sides are valid arguments and while the feminist side of me is rooting for the girls, I understand that too much exposure of certain areas might just make teachers uncomfortable.  Do I think that is a valid enough argument to force a girl to change if she decides to wear a v-neck shirt one day? No, that’s very unnecessary. Can these clothing restrictions just become discouragements? No one is prohibited, but just recommended not to wear certain things? Would people follow this? Probably not. I guess I really don’t know where to draw the line.

Finding a Balance
When it comes to both school and a workplace, the most important thing to focus on is reflecting the school or company properly. In a school, you want the clothing to match the school’s focus on progressing kids academically, socially, artistically, and athletically while allowing them to develop their individuality.  Perhaps that means dressing more conservative, but it also should allow students to express themselves through their clothing choices as they slowly discover who they are. Similarly, in business, you want the dress code to match the companies focus but also cater to whatever will make the employee produce their best work. For example, here at Marketing Eye, our dress code is “smart casual and just casual on Fridays,” which is an accurate representation of the sleek company.  People take that and run with it, respecting the workplace but also wearing what fits themselves the best.

Representing the Company
When it comes to the coverage of clothing, I think there shouldn’t be requirements.  All employees should understand they are a representation of the company and should dress respectfully and to fit in with the team, but also not feel as though they need to hide anything.  People will dress how they want to be perceived, and for most part, that is put together and respectful.

The Studies
Then, there is another argument that is valid.  There have been many studies done that suggest dressing nicer improves the productivity of a worker, as it gives them a confidence boost which powers them through their duties.  So is it beneficial to require everyone to always wear formal clothing? I can’t imagine everyone would be thrilled with this requirement and feel uncomfortable and trapped by having to dress a certain way.  Not to mention formal clothing is expensive and not everyone can buy enough formal clothing to wear everyday.

Drawing the Line… or not.
It’s a hard line to draw and that is why I think no clear line should be drawn at all, just an expectation that the employees will accurately represent the atmosphere of the workplace in their own way.  Educate employees on the benefits of dressing more put together and let them make their own decision. There will be a diversity among the styles found in the office, but the differences will match the differences in characters and everyone will be wearing what makes them feel most comfortable.  

New blog coming soon,
Annika Goldman

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