Susan M. Heathfield, About.com tackles the topic of casual dress codes, an issue that is important all year but that takes on even greater significance in the summer when outfits can sometimes be a little more casual and skimpy. She offers a variety of articles on dress codes for various setting and sample dress code policies. She also includes some helpful photo galleries casual dress code and business formal, which is a great idea for supplementing a policy – you might want to compile your own to reflect your organization.
Often, it comes down to the type of business and the role the employee plays. Tech employees who spend their days away from the public working on computers might have a little more leeway than customer service reps who meet and greet the public. A manufacturing plant might have different standards than the financial sector. But it’s hard to make generalizations – the NBA Player Dress Code is stricter than many might associate with a sports team.
Communication is the key to avoiding misunderstandings. What might be considered appropriate casual wear to one generation may cross the line to another. Stephanie Armour of USA TODAY talked about how various employers are handling this issue in an article about business casual trends in recent years. To avoid confusion, it helps to be specific. Are flipflops allowed? tank tops? jeans? mini-skirts? t-shirts with slogans? Armour also reminds employers to be careful not to discriminate against women in dress code policies and to be cautious about policies that might exclude religious dress, such as headscarves. In addition to offering specific guidelines, make sure you are clear about any associated disciplinary actions that might be taken for violation of the dress code, such as warnings or sending employees home to change. Having this outlined in a policy can help to keep any such actions from seeming arbitrary or personal.
For casual dress guidelines, here are some resources that may be helpful to employees and employers alike:
- Phyllis Korkki of the New York Times Career Couch also addressed this topic last week in her column Please, No Board Shorts in the Boardroom, where she offers advice to new job seekers and first-time employees.
- From LegalWorkplace.com, an article on Impelemting and Enforcing a Business Casual Dress Code Policy.
- Image consultant Jill Bremer suggests that there are three levels of business casual: Basic, standard, and executive. She offers guidelines to distinguish each style, along with items that should be avoided at all costs.
- Viviana Ruenda of Brazen Careerist offers job holders her take on The Top 10 Business Casual Mistakes, And How To Avoid Them.
- Sample Dress Code Policy
- Dress Code Legal Issues
- Handling Dress Code Violations