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Corporate Dressing

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Quay11

Loads of workplaces have dress codes or specialised work clothing. If that's the policy just tell them. Do the other partners agree it's an issue? It should come from all the partners.

 

I don't work in law or corporate but I manage about 20 people and there is specialised clothing they have to wear (PPE).

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Froyo

I'm seeing the same thing in education. Yesterday I interviewed a candidate to replace me who wore a t-shirt. Not a dressy t-shirt, a grey marle t-shirt.

It didn't affect the outcome, but it was definitely inappropriate.

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casime

I'm seeing the same thing in education. Yesterday I interviewed a candidate to replace me who wore a t-shirt. Not a dressy t-shirt, a grey marle t-shirt.

It didn't affect the outcome, but it was definitely inappropriate.

 

 

I agree with you about this. I went for an interview a few weeks ago for a position at my school (I’m on contract) and I was sitting waiting when the person before me came out (also on contract at my school) and was wearing leggings and a t-shirt. I was absolutely horrified. And no, it wasn’t for a PE teacher job. By the way, I got a job (ongoing position, yay!) and she didn’t.

 

My school is pretty relaxed about the dress code but I see some teachers coming in to school wearing shorts and a t-shirt and I think that’s not ok. Even when I wear the school polo shirt, I still wear it with a pair of tailored slacks. I know we spend most of the day sitting on the floor, or kneeling next to a student’s desk, but I think that when you’re trying to have a serious conversation about a student with a parent, that looking professional is important. I don’t mean dressing a suit, but a pair of nice slacks and a top (Jacqui E make some nice slinky fabric wrap around ones) is as easy to put on as a pair of leggings and tshirt.

Edited by casime
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Hini

Pp who offered to share policies - yes I'd be very grateful. We're a small firm. Only 25 of us all up so when we introduce policies some of the staff take it personally.

 

The boys all wear suits and ties and our support staff all dress well too. The 'leggings as pants' phenomenon has thankfully abated!

 

Branded work wear might be fine for some firms but definitely not for ours.

 

And I have managed to fix spray tan Friday when they'd all come in iridescent orange before the weekend!

 

I also liked the comment up threat about dressing for the job you want. I definitely made mistakes when I was younger. It's hard to get it right.

 

And yes all the partners agree. New lawyer says are taking their cue from our existing lawyers rather than from the partners and as we grow it seems to be becoming more entrenched.

 

We do have a casual Friday policy so perhaps we just expand that.

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casime

I also liked the comment up threat about dressing for the job you want.

 

My mother drilled that into me from a young age. "Dress for the job you want, not the one you have." When I was doing my teaching placements, I was probably one of the best dressed in the whole school, and I was just a student teacher. I actually had to have a discussion with one other student teacher on my course who thought it was ok to show up in jeans with rips at the knees, thongs, and a t-shirt with a very inappropriate saying on the front. As far as I saw it, everyday was a job interview.

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MsNorbury
My mother drilled that into me from a young age. "Dress for the job you want, not the one you have." When I was doing my teaching placements, I was probably one of the best dressed in the whole school, and I was just a student teacher. I actually had to have a discussion with one other student teacher on my course who thought it was ok to show up in jeans with rips at the knees, thongs, and a t-shirt with a very inappropriate saying on the front. As far as I saw it, everyday was a job interview.

 

I had a student teacher this year (at ha high school) who slumped in jeans and hoodies everyday. The kids didn't' take her seriously, and she had real trouble with establishing herself as presence in the classroom. Dressing is only part of that, but the easiest bit to fix.

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FuzzyChocolateToes

I'm seeing the same thing in education. Yesterday I interviewed a candidate to replace me who wore a t-shirt. Not a dressy t-shirt, a grey marle t-shirt.

It didn't affect the outcome, but it was definitely inappropriate.

I see it too in health care. You need to define acceptable dress through policy, not an image consultant.

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harmonic_wizz_fizz

I like the lunch discussion idea. I also think if you want to avoid too draconian a stance, maybe send out an email about court-specific dress and worry less about the daily in-office styles.

 

As for button-up shirts and pantyhose, unless you also have a weight/bust-size limit, just let it go. Women are not men and one unified look cannot possibly suit or even fit on all female bodies. I would have to wear a size 24 business shirt to fit my boobs, and I am a reasonable 18 in every other shirt/top, so I opt for looks that don't require so called business shirts. And I think pantyhose in Australian climates are anti-OHS and anti-feminist in any climate.

 

I think its discrimination to force specific attire onto one gender. In other words, women are allowed to wear suitable pants if they choose, you cant force them to wear skirts / pantyhose.

 

This may be state specific though, not sure.

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IamOzgirl

I was thinking about this so more.

 

I am an exective assistant. And have sat on a lot of senior meetings.

 

I used to mirror what the execs who report to whoever i supported wore. So i didn't stand out.

 

That used to be more suits etc.

 

I also used to have very clear distinctions in work and weekend wear.

 

But i wonder if you could deliver the message somewhat flipped.

 

Ie if you feel comfortable wearing it to a nightclub on a weekend - don't wear it to the office?

 

Cause most younger generation would not wear work attire to a nightclub.

 

I wear a lot of Leona nowadays. There are a lot of tops that are business appropriate that are not business shirts.

 

OP I sent you a PM with our company guidelines.

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AuntyJJJ

what about a dress code?

 

As a young journalist it was pretty easy to dress from Target workplace clothing lines, and throw on a suit jacket for interviews...

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Elizabethandfriend

I think a well worded email, together with photos showing the kind of look you feel is appropriate would be the right place to start. Sending it towards the end of the year, making a point that in 2018 the firm's corporate image is going to be a priority, might spark some shopping in the sales. (especially if you pay Xmas bonuses!)

 

If that doesn't work, then the corporate image consultants aimed at graduates might be a good idea.

 

(I left the law over five years ago and we found dress code a problem for support staff but not the lawyers. It sounds as though younger lawyers are now coming through with different expectations).

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Chicken Pie

frankly, you need to implement a dress code or policy - if they dont take it well? Hell, its their job and they paid to be there and its part of the requirement as they are representing your firm during a working day.

 

My attitude would be if you dont like it theres the door - im a bit harsh like that and obviously i would be "nicer" about it - but people are paid to do a job with a certain standard expected

 

its about what is expected to be professional etc in your industry and firm, simple. you dont need expensive clothes to dress professionally.

 

our firm has codes

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EmmDasher

All the uniform comments are really off base for most law firms. While it may work for a small number it would be counter productive for most.

 

Most lawyers are trying to establish a personal brand and sell themselves and their abilities to a market. While they may work in teams, they maintain an individual identity and expertise which is really critical to their ability to market themselves within a firm, within a profession and to clients. A uniform in that context would be a psychological symbol that we're all the same and any one of us can do the job. That's the exact opposite message that most people want send.

 

Most lawyers that I know dress very carefully to align with their personal brand.

 

Part of the battle for young lawyers is working out who they are and where they want to go. Once that is sorted they generally start dressing to follow that path.

 

It's a bit like product packaging really. When you're on the shelf you want to stand out and be remembered for all the right reasons.

 

Edit - not to mention how weird it would be to trust someone with complex advices or million dollar transactions but then dictate to them what to wear every morning like a school student.

Edited by EmmDasher

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Cimbom

I would tread carefully and make sure it's not too prescriptive. Also be careful of specifying certain things for men and women such as an expectation that heels are "professional" or that skirts are preferred and that kind of thing. The way it's delivered can make a difference too - you want to be seen as helpful rather than condescending or infantalising towards the staff.

 

I work in the public sector and used to work in an office where there was a cafe across the road that staff from a few different agencies would go to. The head of one of these other departments was there and saw a guy from my agency (saw his lanyard and pass) who was dressed very casually. He ended up calling the head of our department to complain about this very serious transgression. The head of our agency replied "How about you worry about your staff and I'll worry about mine" :lol:

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MarciaB

I think you just have to be blunt with them along the lines of

 

"the dress standard of a few individuals across the office has been slipping over the past few months. We don't want to single anyone out, however, please be mindful that we work in a professional environment and our clients expect us to dress accordingly. We really don't want to go to the lengths of implementing a dress code or formal rules, so we trust you will all take note and make amendments where necessary. As a general guideline we expect all staff to dress in business attire every day. If you have any questions or need any assistance in this regard, please see me".

 

I am sure you can word it better - but along the lines of - shape up and lift your game otherwise we will start enforcing some rules around here.

 

I wouldn't bother with pictures of appropriate dress - these are smart kids - they know what they need to do.

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IamOzgirl

I think you just have to be blunt with them along the lines of

 

"the dress standard of a few individuals across the office has been slipping over the past few months. We don't want to single anyone out, however, please be mindful that we work in a professional environment and our clients expect us to dress accordingly. We really don't want to go to the lengths of implementing a dress code or formal rules, so we trust you will all take note and make amendments where necessary. As a general guideline we expect all staff to dress in business attire every day. If you have any questions or need any assistance in this regard, please see me".

 

I am sure you can word it better - but along the lines of - shape up and lift your game otherwise we will start enforcing some rules around here.

 

I wouldn't bother with pictures of appropriate dress - these are smart kids - they know what they need to do.

 

i like this response a lot! Maybe use some of the descriptions of dress that i sent in my PM?

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yummymummycakes

Heck I must be behind the times.

 

I have recently gone back into corporate and love wearing a suit. The fact that I dont have to spend time mixing and matching outfits is a blessing for me!

 

Heck I refused to see a different Dr at our local clinic when mine was away as she was wearing jeans, runners & a singlet top - just didnt inspire confidence in me

Edited by yummymummycakes

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CallMeFeral

Heck I must be behind the times.

 

Yep, about 10 months!

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seayork2002

I will never wear pantyhose, heels or makeup and have never had a pair of trousers or business shirt fit me but i do work in an office now and my boss is not bothered in my long black plain skirts and simple tops and black flat shoes.

 

If spoken to correctly (speaking for myself op not saying how you would or would not speak to the staff) i would happily reach a compromise on what i wear.

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littlepickle

I work across a couple of corporate offices across a few different roles so I change my work attire depending on what I am up to that day. If I am spending the day working solo in my office writing documents then I am more likely to be a little more casual - Tailored pants and a lace top (not plunging ) and flats. Days where I have meetings or meeting with clients I wear suit pants and a button up shirt / heels. If I am presenting in the board room then I add a jacket. hanging on the back of my office door is a suit skirt, shirt and jacket just in case I get caught out. I like wearing stockings with dresses but have noticed that I am certainly in the minority and that no-one under 30 wears them.

 

At my main office we have 'casual Fridays' and there is both a policy and pictures of what is considered suitable for both men and women.

 

Address both men and women in the communication piece, make the focus on presenting a professional image and allow for a transition period as not everyone will be in a financial position to make immediate changes.

 

Good luck..

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ExpatInAsia

If image is so important then you need to introduce a policy or uniforms. Times have changed - dress standards have changed. The quality of work and performance should be more important than what someone is wearing.

 

In some industries/professions dress standards have not changed.

 

If you have let this go for some time then it is difficult to wind it back - you really should have advised new staff what the dress expectations were when they commenced.

 

The only way you can do it now, without leaving yourself open to accusations of discrimination, is to introduce a dress code. Tailored business wear when dealing with clients. No sheer, low cut tops, no tight, short skirts and the like.

 

The image consultant can help you here with the drafting and introduction of the new dress code to your staff. You will need to be clear about what standard you are expecting as what constitutes tight, short and appropriate can vary. It would also be good to have your staff feed in to the dress code - their buy in will increase the likelihood of successfully introducing the dress code.

Edited by ExpatInAsia

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ExpatInAsia

I am not a lawyer, but I work in a job with a dress code and a compulsory uniform was introduced a few years ago. It is amazing that even with a uniform, people can make it look unprofessional pretty easily! The sleeveless shift dress meant to have a shirt under it looks no where near as professional when no shirt is worn under it, or 3/4 tights are worn under it.

 

My point is no matter how strict the dress code is, people will still dress in the way they want.

 

Not if it is part of their annual review. Ultimately the way the OP’s staff present themselves reflects on her firm and in some professions staff cannot express their individuality through their clothing as much as they might like.

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TigerQueenofSheeba

*10 years working in various sized firms from large top tier to small 4 man team"

 

The image consultant idea seems so bizarre to me. It won’t result in an enforceable dress code, won’t have any impact on future staff, may be considered condescending and offensive by existing staff.

 

In my firm we have meetings about developments in the law, not about our clothes. We have a policy about our clothes, as do most law firms.

 

I agree with this. I don't actually think that is appropriate in this situation.

 

I'm seeing the same thing in education. Yesterday I interviewed a candidate to replace me who wore a t-shirt. Not a dressy t-shirt, a grey marle t-shirt.

It didn't affect the outcome, but it was definitely inappropriate.

Oh wow... so inappropriate and unacceptable!

 

Put a policy out and then follow up at various points when you are having one on one regular performance type catch ups.

 

An image consultant is a waste of time. The people who don't need to sit through it will be offended by it. The people who do need to take on board what they are saying won't or will think yep I'm basically doing that yay me.

 

Write up a policy and distribute it to all staff. You can word it along the lines of taking into consideration feedback from some of our clients the partners have undertaken a review of the way our business operates so we are making a few updates to existing policies and formalising previously informal policies.

 

Very much agree with this.

 

I think a well worded email, together with photos showing the kind of look you feel is appropriate would be the right place to start. Sending it towards the end of the year, making a point that in 2018 the firm's corporate image is going to be a priority, might spark some shopping in the sales. (especially if you pay Xmas bonuses!)

 

All of this except for pictures. I don't think that is appopriate.

 

I think you just have to be blunt with them along the lines of

 

"the dress standard of a few individuals across the office has been slipping over the past few months. We don't want to single anyone out, however, please be mindful that we work in a professional environment and our clients expect us to dress accordingly. We really don't want to go to the lengths of implementing a dress code or formal rules, so we trust you will all take note and make amendments where necessary. As a general guideline we expect all staff to dress in business attire every day. If you have any questions or need any assistance in this regard, please see me".

 

I am sure you can word it better - but along the lines of - shape up and lift your game otherwise we will start enforcing some rules around here.

 

I wouldn't bother with pictures of appropriate dress - these are smart kids - they know what they need to do.

 

This is really spot on actually.

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Ellie bean

...

Edited by Ellie bean

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Mollyksy

I know it's been almost a year since the OP but if you are around OP, what happened?? I remember this thread and want an update!

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