Dress codes at work

My girlfriend has a dress code at work where woman are allowed to wear earing and skirts, but men are not. Is this not sexist?

Um, to coin a term analogous to racialist, it’s sexualist, maybe?

Are there things men can wear (or go without) that women can’t? Then it can balance.

(I was hoping this would be a debate about dress codes, because I have some things to say about those . . . )

In the case of the OP, no. The purpose of the dress code is basically to avoid anyone’s attire disrupting anyone else’s productivity. If a man came to work wearing a skirt and earrings, no matter what you personally think of it, it would disrupt the workplace.

I’m sure HR would be willing to work something out in the case of transgendered employees (we have [a] transgendered members[s][?] so hopefully we can get a firsthand account of this.)

I’m afraid that you will need to dumb this down for me. Are human beings that frail that they can blame a mistake on what someone else is wearing? My girlfriend works at a hospital. If all it takes is a skirt to disrupt a surgeon, perhaps surgery man not have been that person’s best choice for a job. Otherwise, all a surgeon needs to say when they operate on the patients wrong elbow is “the nurses hair disrupted me”.

Dunnow, dress codes don’t seem to me to have a lot to do with productivity. They often seem more like a uniform that, instead of being paid by the company, is paid by the employee and which, instead of being more comfortable and easier to clean than what you’d wear at home, are more uncomfortable and harder/more expensive to clean. To me the only dress codes that make sense are either the ones that have to do with safety or actual uniforms. While there is a general assumption in our societies that “skirts are for females”, banning earrings on males nowadays is not a reflection of society’s mores… it’s just being an old crow.

Are women in that job allowed to wear trousers? The Opus-Dei owned Hospital de Navarra (Medical School) used to forbid trousers on female employees and students, they had to wear skirts below the knee… until one too many elderly patients fell off a bed trying to look up a girl’s skirt :smack: And I’m not talking an 18-yo student: for a guy who’s 80, a cleaning lady in her '40s is a young lamb.

I disagree. A dress code can be very important, especially in companies where employees are publicly facing.

Employees facing the public represent the company; if the employees look terrible, the company will look terrible. If I’m the owner, I can decide what people wear, and will do so to protect my company’s image.

I don’t agree with it, but that’s basically the answer I’ve gotten whenever I’ve challenged the dress code in my line of work. I don’t think it’s necessary for us to have a dress code because we don’t do business with the public, and don’t do any face to face business with our clients on a normal day, but apparently people are not yet mature enough to see each other’s legs without having a fit. I’m sad to say that most employees actually agree with the dress code for this very reason. The standard response you will get if you bring it up is, “I worked at a company that allowed shorts and things got out of control.” I’ve never been able to figure out exactly what they mean by “out of control”

My last office took the p somewhat, men had to wear their shirt and tie, women whatever they wanted that didn’t reveal much flesh. It was one more item on a list of things to rage about before I was promoted to another office :slight_smile:

That’s pretty much been my experience, too, except we don’t have to wear ties.

Guys: Slacks, dress shoes, nice shirt.

Women: Skirts, sandals, flip flops, tank tops, capris. About the only thing they can’t get away with wearing are actual shorts. Some girls even wear their pajamas. I have no doubt a guy would be severely reprimanded for this and possibly fired.

Of course, that’s how it goes when you work in a business that is well over 90% female. It gives me an idea of how they feel in male-dominated jobs.

I rather approve of dress codes it makes things a lot simpler for both males and females, males can get a load of identical suits and shirts, and females can do something similar.

In a place I worked, a software house, I was the dress code enforcer, another department interviewed a young programmer and wanted to employ him but …
I simply told him, cut your hair and don’t wear the earring at work and the job is yours.
He wasn’t worried at all (to be honest he had probably looked at the rest of us and decided to smarten up anyway).

We really did not like our programmers to look like programmers, it confused the clients, they expected hippies - and found a bunch of programming bankers.

Dress codes aren’t really for your co-workers, they’re for you. The philodophy is, if a persoon is dressed in a professional manner, he’ll think in a professional manner and act in a professional manner. Sloppy dress, so it goes, leads to sloppy work.

I don’t know if this has been tested or not, but I tend to think there’s something to it. I tend to work better if I’m dressed like a grownup.

This is a complete hijack, if you are interested in the OP, please move to the next post.

I think that your dress code may have kept other, useful people away. I work in the tech industry, and it is still an employee’s market. I have a co-worker who just left my company so he could work in his underwear for twice the money, and another who came back with a pay cut so he would not have to wear button down shirts and slacks every day. Both are a bargan at twice their current pay. The only member of our team that left for a suit job left because he had differences with management. He fantasizes about coming back to work for us. I have to remind him he gets paid more than twice his rate at my company, and he works literally 1/2 the hours.

I know I work harder for companies with policies that make a lick of sense.

I’ve always looked upon company dress codes the way I looked upon school uniforms – it’s a great leveller, so the squares don’t feel too square and the poor don’t feel too poor, it presents your company as a professional outfit, reinforcing your brand, and puts people in a ‘business’ frame of mind.

Having said all that, I work in a design agency so I can wear whatever I like, as long as I look reasonably ‘cool’ as it’s what the client expects of their designers. Maybe that’s a dress code in itself. I certainly couldn’t turn up in a navy suit and tan tights.

These days, I think a dress code reflects the customer’s expectation more than the company’s preference. If you’re in an advertising business, or fashion, for instance, the expectation is more of a hip, “now” look. My sister, on the other hand, works for Deloitte & Touche, and they have a more conservative look.

On my college campus, only the administrators, deans and such walk around with suits and ties (if male) or dresses, pantsuits, or skirt and top (if female).
Occasionally you’ll spot a prof in a tie, but usually they are seniors.
The younger and middle-aged wear whatever they like, from casual-sloppy to sort-of-nice-and-almost-formal. Of course, one would not expect to see lots of facial piercing, tattoos, bare midriffs, or skirts slit up to the hips on faculty and other staff. Jeans are common, as are t-shirts. Uniforms are seen only on the campus police and others who need to be identified by their garb.
Some of us are known to dress nicely during the first few weeks of the semester and then get a bit lazier as the term goes on.

It all depends on the expectations of the culture in which you operate. Silicon Valley is a good example. The whole business was started by a bunch of geeks who felt it unnecessary to abide by the old dress-code rules. Therefore the whole culture is much more laid back. But you can’t show up for work at google wearing a leather daddy outfit.

Now take Denmark, for example. It is a very casual business environment with very few exceptions. It is extremely rare to see people wearing suits here. In fact, it’s a good indicator that they are probably foreign businessmen here for a meeting. There is one glaring exception, Maersk, but they are kind of weird anyway.

America is somewhere in between. It’s common (from my experiences in New York Offices) for people to wear the normal business dress sans tie, on a day when it isn’t required to meet clients. England, I’ve heard is the most formal. I’ve heard that people wear suits for even the most mundane job interviews (bar jobs, etc.).

The point being, you have to go with what is expected of you by the people who pay you money. Business aren’t very keen on breaking rules if they are well-established (although they have the most power to do so).

I am baffled by that.

Oddly it did not, we paid seriously well, probably you don’t understand the primary function of ‘city camauflage’ - dress smart and rip the arse out of the rest.

vivalostwages, how do the staff at your college dress compared to the faculty? I’m curious, because when I wear jeans and t-shirts to work, everyone tends to assume I’m the work-study student in my office. If I wear more professional-looking clothes, I don’t get that and I get treated with more respect by the students and parents who don’t otherwise know me.

If they’re administrative staff, they usually wear casual pants and a nice blouse (most are women), or if male, they wear pants or jeans and a casual shirt. It depends a lot on where they are and how many people are going to see them. The telephone operator could wear whatever she wanted, I suppose, while the guy in the mail room wears work clothes and a back brace. The lady in print services often wears jeans.
But if you go to some other office like financial aid, assessment, etc. you may find the employees in slightly less casual wear than mentioned just above.
You do have a good point about the professional look and the assumptions made by others.

One more note on the faculty:  it's not unusual to see male profs showing up in Bermuda shorts and Hawaiian shirts when the weather turns hot and humid here in CA.    That's when I actually feel sorry for the admins who are compelled to wear suits no matter what the weather is like.   One wonders if the global warming/climate change will lead to some more leeway for the formally dressed among us?

I’d be happy if we could simply banish the necktie. Not ALL males come standard with nice tall bodies and long graceful necks. Having to have my shirt buttoned all the way up and a tie on my rather thick, short neck is almost enough for me to seek employment elsewhere.