From bustling boardrooms to casual co-working spaces, the question of appropriate attire remains relevant across workplaces.

Enter the dress code policy: a set of guidelines that clarify this often-ambiguous territory. But beyond dictating shirt collars and hem lengths, does a dress code still hold value in today’s diverse and evolving work environments? Absolutely! Dress codes serve the important purpose of fostering professionalism, promoting safety, and even reflecting company culture.

What is a Dress Code Policy?

Ever wonder what stops lawyers from showing up to work in a ratty T-shirt or a construction worker from wearing flip-flops? A dress code policy dictates the appropriate attire for employees while they’re at work or otherwise representing the company. The purpose of the policy is to maintain a professional appearance, uphold company reputation, ensure safety, and project a cohesive brand image.

Typically, it will outline acceptable and unacceptable clothing choices, including specific items such as attire color, style, fit, and accessories. The policy may also include guidelines for grooming, such as hair length, facial hair, and personal hygiene.

What Should be Included in a Dress Code Policy?

Dress code policies can vary greatly depending on the nature of the business, its industry, and its culture. Often, they break down appearance standards into specific categories, which further clarify and inform what is and isn’t acceptable for employees to wear during working hours and in different situations:

  • Dress code levels: If you have different levels of dress code for different occasions or roles, define each level clearly. For example, you might have “business casual” for everyday work, “business professional” for client meetings, and “casual” for company events.
  • Grooming standards: Address hygiene, hair length and style, jewelry, tattoos, and other aspects of personal appearance within reason and with respect for individual preferences.
  • Religious or cultural exceptions: Clearly state that the policy allows for reasonable accommodations for religious or cultural attire.
  • Enforcement: Explain who is responsible for enforcing the dress code and how it will be done. This could involve managers, HR personnel, or a designated committee.

Keep in mind that a dress code policy can be as broad or specific as your company deems. Whether there’s a written clause for “Casual Friday” or a specific standard for what to wear to client meetings, the policy is the appropriate place to lay out expectations for appearance.

Does my Company Need One?

Whether or not your company needs a dress code policy depends on several factors including the nature of your business, your company culture, and your industry norms. Here are some considerations to help you determine if one is necessary for your company:

  • Industry standards: Some industries have specific dress codes for safety, professionalism, or customer expectations. For example, employees in finance or law may be expected to dress formally, while those in tech or creative fields might have more relaxed attire.
  • Company culture: Consider the culture of your company and how you want employees to represent it. A dress code can help reinforce company values and create a consistent image.
  • Customer interactions: If your employees regularly interact with clients or customers, a dress code may be necessary to maintain a professional appearance and make a positive impression.
  • Safety and functionality: In certain industries such as manufacturing or construction, safety regulations may require specific attire for protection (PPE). Similarly, some roles may require functional clothing for ease of movement or practicality.
  • Legal considerations: Ensure that any dress code policy follows anti-discrimination laws. Avoid policies that could be seen as discriminatory based on factors such as gender, religion, or disability.

Ultimately, the decision to implement a policy should be made thoughtfully. If you decide to implement a dress code, clearly communicate the expectations to employees and be open to feedback or adjustments as needed.

Create Your Own Dress Code Policy

A dress code policy doesn’t need to be reactive. In fact, it should be proactive. Setting the tone for acceptable appearance helps bring transparency to your company’s standards and expectations. With a well-written dress code policy, there’s no ambiguity in how your employees should represent themselves and the organization.

Create your own Dress Code Policy or schedule a demo with SixFifty and take the uncertainty out of what to wear to work today, and every day.