Daily Archives: October 24, 2012

The Dress Code Dilemma

You Pick Wednesday

You wake up in the morning and think to yourself, “What am I going to wear to work?”

So many aspects need to be taken into account.

What am I doing today?

What’s the weather like?


And, of course, what is your job’s dress code?

I’ve worked in places that have very lax dress codes and some that are more strict.  A well-written dress code is not something all companies have so sometimes employees are left to their own devices.  For example, where I currently work our dress code reads:

Decisions regarding appropriateness of professional dress are made at the discretion of individual administrative officers. These officers have the responsibility for communicating these decisions to supervisors. Supervisors should convey these guidelines to their employees and regularly disseminate information, as necessary, related to department dress standards.

Which basically means that each department supervisor or manager can come up with what works for his or her division.

Recently a reader contacted me with a dilemma regarding work dress codes and coworkers.

What happens when you’re wearing something that is not technically prohibited by the dress code but you have co-workers who take it upon themselves to point out something you may or may not be doing wrong in terms of wardrobe at work?

My thoughts?  Those other employees may be interpreting the dress code differently than you.  So, say to them, “Gee, I never really thought of this as a violation.  Do you think the dress code says something different?”

If it’s just a conversation between coworkers and never goes any further you can probably get away with a shrug and a statement to the effect of “Hmm, I guess I never interpreted the dress code that way.”

However, if the comment makes it’s way to a supervisor then you’re probably going to have to relegate that outfit or item to weekend wear regardless of what the dress code actually says.

But, it never hurts to ask your supervisor directly if other coworkers say something to you.   Maybe offer to help update the dress code policy to make it more clear?

What are your thoughts?  Have you ever dealt with something like this? 

Don’t forget to submit your questions or requests for future You Pick Wednesday posts to looplooks@gmail.com!