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Why Your Workplace Has a Dress-Code, and Why it Matters

Whether you dread or appreciate your company’s dress-code, a lot of time and thought has been put into the topic. I can almost hear you now, going…


“Ugh, a dress code? Why does it matter what I wear?”


According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, it was found that dressing more formally instills confidence.

While confidence is nice, let’s look at a few other reasons there’s a dress-code in place.



Why a Dress-Code Matters:

· Creates guidelines

· When we look professional, we act more professional

· You represent your company in a better light

· Customer expectations


We’ll take a closer look at each of these, to help you understand that a dress-code isn’t a bad thing. It’s not there to squash your identity, it’s simply there as guidance so you make the best choices to represent your company’s brand.


Create Guidelines: When a company sets a dress-code, they’re setting boundaries. Sometimes it’s related to HR issues, like hoping to stop sexual harassment before it starts. Sadly, it’s a reality today, and one that companies can avoid by putting measures in place to keep things such as “club attire” out of the office. They may want to create an air of sophistication if it represents their brand. A formal business may feel that it’s partly in keeping with its overall tone.


Acting Professional: Isn’t it funny that when you get home and slip on your loungewear, you’re much more relaxed? It’s like an automatic triggered response. Ah! Soft, comfy clothes…but just like you wouldn’t wear sweatpants to a black-tie wedding, you don’t wear them to the office. When we dress properly for the situation, we tend to behave properly. It’s as much as a sub-conscious thing as it is a visual signal that you’re in a professional environment and certain etiquette should be followed.


You Represent Your Company: Whether they choose a uniform or a dress-code, the idea is that you’re the “face” of your company. They’ve worked long and hard to create an image of who they are and what they stand for. You’ve joined their staff of employees and feel you’re a good fit. That means you need to play the part since you opted to take the job. It means that while you’re on the clock, you represent their business. Dress-codes do matter—especially to those who created them.


Customer expectations: If you’re a customer-facing company, it’s important that you not only follow your company’s expectations, but also remember that your customers want and need to have confidence in you. Here are a couple of ideas to think about.


You go into the bank to apply for a business loan, but the person behind the desk is wearing a T-shirt with a snarky, sassy, and rude saying on it, that’s not appropriate. Whether you realize it or not, you’ve already cast a judgment. What you were expecting was somebody dressed formally.


What if you were to turn on a football game, and the quarterback was in a tailored, Italian suit with loafers. Would you expect them to perform their job the same way? Of course not. It’s not saying they aren’t just as talented as they were in their uniform, but when we aren’t dressed for the part, we often don’t act or do our job the same way.


Why Else Might there be a Dress-Code?

Sometimes a dress-code is as simple as being unable to wear jewelry due to a safety hazard or keeping your hair up due to health code violations. We easily adapt to those because we see the value right away.


Many times, companies have tried various ways of doing things, and adapted what worked best for them. And honestly, many companies have relaxed their dress-codes over the years and gone from formal to business casual.


Unfortunately, there’s always that one person who pushes boundaries to see what they can get away with. Dress-codes are a quiet guideline, so you know what those hard limits are, without thinking, am I allowed to wear this? What should I wear? What shouldn’t I wear?


It can save the company a way to streamline their ideas without having to come up with individual scenarios. Whether it’s about the type of shoes you’re allowed to wear, if you’re business casual, or need to wear a suit to work, dress-codes matter.

And remember, choosing to work for a company is adapting to their rules. Want to add a pop of color to a boring gray suit? Try a brightly colored watchband. But save the sequins for the dancefloor. There’s a time and a place for everything, and being a professional means following the rules that have been put in place. Dress-codes matter for more reasons than one, even if it seems pointless to you.


Nobody doubts that you can still work on your laptop in a sweatshirt, but it may not be the image the company is trying to uphold.

Choosing where you work, means you’re also choosing to be a part of their environment. So, rather than dreading that dress-code, embrace it, and understand that they’re happy you joined them.


And if dress-codes just aren’t your thing, consider starting your own business!

Set your own rules, dress how you want, and don’t forget to form your business properly. Incfile can help with that. It’s a one-stop place to set up your LLC and simplifies the process. They offer transparency during a confusing process, which helps save you frustration. One quick question. If you start your own company, will you instill a dress-code for your employees? It might make sense, given the reasons above.


*What tips or advice did I miss? What helps you be a strong, clear, and effective communicator? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

* Enjoyed the post? Like, and Share it with your friends on Twitter or Facebook! * Feel free to leave a comment or send me a message. I’d love to hear from you!

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