Wednesday, 3 April 2013

The Clothes do not maketh the man!

Depending on your industry you will find there is a set dress code for the types of clothes that are deemed acceptable and normal. Obviously for women this list is a lot more complex than for men. The types can be broken down into four main categories:

Formal Business Attire

Most office based companies insist on smart formal business wear from both genders meaning suit and a tie for the men and a smart pant suit or skirt and blouse for the women. But how important is this really? Why do companies bother? Its an interesting question and considering many employees only conduct internal interviews so have no external client face time you can understand the frustration but there is a purpose for it. Those who dress smartly are effectively putting on not only clothes but a mindset. That mindset will be professional and smart. It is easier to speak with authority, improves engagement by ensuring everyone speaks eloquently and also creates a tone that will mean your office may be a more sombre and professional work space.

Tips on guidelines:
For men ensure shirt is ironed and top button is fastened with Tie on show.
For Women ensure covered up (no short skirts or low tops) and colours are not too vibrant.

Some examples of good and bad:

Good Suit

Bad Suit


Good Work wear
Bad Work wear
 Smart Casual

A lot of modern offices have now adopted the smart casual approach where shirt and shoes are still expected but ties and suit jackets can be left out. The bad part of this approach is that it leads to a lot of confusion especially for your female workers, they already have a difficult choice when it comes to office wear and this can often lead to an environment where some still apply formal business attire rules and others really go to town with the casual element.

Tips on guidelines:
For men ensure shoes worn and shirt collar visible, jumpers should be without slogans.
For Women ensure covered up (no short skirts or low tops) and no open toed sandals.


For modern and art type industries you find the choice is mainly casual, jeans and a tshirt are deemed everyday staples for those working in a more creative environment. This breeds a culture of comfort, engagement and innovation. Allowing your staff more freedom with their clothing lets them express themselves which should be encouraged when working in a creative field. Comfort is also important if they are spending long periods of time at a desk, workbench or other 


For the rise in homeworking this has become the office wear of the blogger. Wearing your PJ's is comfortable easy and quick, but it does present some issues, for instance you miss that lovely feeling of getting into your PJs after a long day at work. Also with the rise in the use of skype for meetings the 101 Dalmations onesie may be viewed as slightly peculiar when speaking to a potential client. Also when working with webcams ensure you wear something which has a high neckline, all too often people forget that the other user can only see your head and shoulders so may think you are naked!

The choice of work wear for a business is essential in setting a tone and not a decision that should be chopped and changed, also ensuring that there is a blanket code for all is important to not create a clothing hierarchy. If you supply staff with uniforms then to improve engagement you may wish to take feedback on the uniforms and let the staff have input into the design.

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