Office Dress Codes

Well, the only paying job I’ve ever had was for a federal government agency with a very strict dress code. There was never any confusion to be had about appearances, let me tell you.

I’ve worked two IT internships, my first in a corporate-law firm in the really posh part of town. Having grown up in the DC area, I thought of law firms as the kind of place where you really dressed up, but apparently it works differently in San Diego. Everyone who didn’t have direct interaction with a CEO that day was at or slightly above the T-shirt-and-jeans level, especially in IT. I actually had to dress down from what I wore to high school every day (casual collared shirt and khakis). At my other IT internship–at a small Bluetooth devices company in a less stuffy but still pretty well-off area–my high school dress code fit right in. Go figure.

I love my dress code. Jeans, flip flops, shorts, t-shirts…whatever I feel like wearing. (I’ve got Birkenstock sandals, jeans, my boyfriend’s t-shirt, and a bright orange Life is Good sweatshirt on right now.) We never see customers here, only vendors. And who cares if they’re impressed by us? We make up A LOT of their sales, so we don’t need to impress 'em. I also have a feeling that this lax dress code is a big selling point to all the college students that get interviewed. I know it certainly helped with my decision.

Oh, there is a restriction on what you can wear in the lab, but that’s just practical. I think the restrictions are: no long sleeved shirt unless you have an ESD smock over it and no flip flops or high heels, because it’s hard to wear grounding straps with those.

Amen. Khakis aren’t casual, they’re what I’d wear to church, if I went.

For a while, just in attempt to express some real style, I did wear suits to the office occasionally, but they just fit so bad I said to hell with it. At 5’8" and a 32" inch waist it’s really hard to find slacks that really fit. And by that I don’t only mean that you can put them on and they reach your heel when you stand up, but that you can sit down and not have the hems hike up past your ankle boots.

:eek: :eek: :eek: Had to wear makeup… :mad:

Update: I asked my boss about my open-toe Birks and almost before I finished she said she doesn’t care what we wear. woot

I wish I could do that. Believe me, we can’t “just do it”, it’s explicitly against company policy. They used to allow it, but started retrenching on it several years ago. One longtime employee who’d been allowed to telecommute three days a week, due to medical reasons, involving not needing to sit in a car several hours a day commuting in from East Elbonia, was told she’d either have to resign or start showing up every day. And if you need to be home for emergencies, repairmen, or deliveries, you have to log it as PTO. If you have work you are committed to getting done any way, you have to do it and still burn the PTO.

I work in an office which went through a dress code change a few months ago. Before the change, when we could choose our own clothes, lots of people wore jeans and T-shirts. Some dressed a little nicer. Then there was me and one other lady, who wore dresses and pantyhose, and at the other end of the spectrum, a girl who wore T-shirts with huge stains and holes. (We all secretly think the dress code was instituted on her account.)

So, the new dress code was handed down: matching polo shirts and khakis. There was a lot of bad feeling about the whole thing. The girl who wore raggedy T-shirts quit. The rest of us kicked up a lot of shit, especially me and the other lady who wears dresses. The outcome: Everyone is wearing the uniform, except for me and the other lady, who get to continue to dress up. The exception was made for us because we frequently work with the public.

I was surprised how strongly I felt about continuing to wear my own clothes. There are some good things about wearing uniforms. But this is the first office job I have ever had, the others were all scrubbing toilets and running registers. I have taken a lot of pride in my appearance since I came here, and it would just break my heart to have to put on another McUniform.

I work in TV, and the rule of thumb is that people who are on camera have to dress very nice-- but pants are optional if no one will see your legs. People who aren’t on camera can wear whatever the hell they want.

If I know I have a one-on-one meeting with a VP, I’ll try to remember to dress up. But he’s probably wearing a ratty sweater and white sneakers anyway.

We’re pretty casual around here, but I wasn’t able to find non-heeled shoes in time for winter. So, I wear my flats with knee-highs and whatever slacks I have on that day (khaki, brown, black, or grey). Friday is jeans and sneakers.

For tops, it’s usually a knit top (not a T-shirt) or a button-down. Through the week, I have a black cardigan in case I need extra layers. For Fridays, I use my grey hoodie.

In the summer, capris, open toes and sleeveless tops are OK.

I work for the gummint in a cubicle farm. We really don’t have a dress code, per se, but that’s with the understanding that if VIPs are visiting or if we’re tagged to do a presentation, we dress professionally. I have a couple of dresses and nice pant suits should they ever be required of me. But most of the time, I’m in jeans or khakis, sneaks, and whatever top I grab. If I pick a t-shirt, it’s plain. I dress for comfort.

There are some folks, tho, that I think go too far. I saw a couple of women wearing tight capri pants, snug tank tops, and high heeled sandals. I can’t imagine any office environment where that would be appropriate. I’ve also seen some guys in rather tatty jeans, but I think they’re the computer folks who sometimes have to crawl around under desks or take up floor panels to deal with lines and junctions and stuff, so I’ll cut them some slack.

Interestingly, we also have some men who wear suits and ties every day, and women who wear dresses and hose. I’ll gussy up if I have to, but I prefer to be comfy.

One of the profs here has been known to wear running shorts that his wang flops out of occasionally, even when it’s -40 outside.

I can pretty much wear whatever I want, having no wang to worry about.

I guess if I showed up with my boobs hanging out, there might be an issue, but I’m not actually positive about that.

At my regular job the management is very concerned about image, so our policy is no jeans, cargo pants, sneakers, or t-shirts. One coworker who showed up in exactly everything she wasn’t allowed to wear evidently had some kind of meltdown when the boss lady told her she couldn’t work dressed like that.

As a substitute teacher, I am expected to dress ‘professionally’, which for me usually involves slacks, a nice dress shirt, and a tie. Since I work both jobs on the same day (subbing in the morning/afternoon, tutoring in the evening) I wear this attire to my other job.

I don’t mind dressing up nice; I enjoy dressing up for special occasions as it is. That, and I get a lot of compliments at work about my attire.

I have to wear a blue chambray button down, khakis (though I get away with brown jeans), comfy shoes (thank god) and a ::shudder:: nametag.

I loathe nametags.

When I worked at Best Buy, the dress code was pretty standard. Standard blue polo (must be worn with a tshirt, if you value your skin), khakis or black pants (black jeans were okay for warehouse people), sturdy shoes (I wore boots for safety) and a BLACK BELT. REQUIRED. You would be sent home if you forgot your belt or if it wasn’t black. So weird.

I’m curious what your companies’ policies are on piercings? Most places I’ve worked are totally sexist when it comes to piercings. Women can have two in each ear, men can have one in one each ear. No cartilage or facial piercings.

What about hairstyles? Again, totally sexist policies. Women can wear their hair any way they choose. Men must have hair above the collar and not in their eyes.

Office jobs here in Calgary usually have pretty relaxed dress codes - business casual (i.e. no jeans, no sweat pants, no sport shorts, no raggedy runners) is pretty much the standard here these days, unless you’re dealing with the public. Working as a temp in many different offices, I always wore dress pants and a dress shirt with flat dress shoes, and never had any trouble with any office. Of course, when I say “dress” I mean the most comfortable, stretchy version of dress - I look good when I dress for offices, but I am always comfortable. If I ever ran into a mandatory skirt/heels/make-up office, it would be a deal-breaker for me.

I’d also have to say, in my experience, people here are pretty good at interpreting dress codes. I’ve rarely run into people who wore dirty, sloppy, or completely inappropriate clothes.

Can you actually make a rule that women have to wear skirts/heels/make-up/nail polish these days? I would think that could be fought on sexist grounds.

Ours is pretty relaxed biz casual - the big no-nos are athletic wear (sneakers, jogging suits, etc), flip flops, halters - that kinda thing. In the summer - generally between Memorial & Labor Day, we can do summer casual - jeans 5 days instead of just on Fridays, sneakers are a go, too.

As office manager, I’ve only had to really send one person home…for wearing a FCUK t-shirt that set off a firestorm. It wouldn’t have bugged me so much except for the disingenuous “Wha? What’s wrong with it? Wha?” attitude from a 40+ woman who damned well knew better.

The other problem we have is that skirts must be at least 3" longer than your longest finger when your arms are straight down at your sides. Someone should call the Museum of Natural History because we have an inordinate amount of women with EXTREMELY short arms. :smiley:

I forgot to add that I love to dress & generally dress a notch above the general populace. I love dresses & I’m all about sandals in the summer.


I work at a college. There’s no official dress code, and many of the profs come in jeans, hiking boots and sweatshirts. If I dress like that, people (students, profs, other staff, visiting parents) tend to assume I’m a student. So I have a personal dress code of “no jeans, no sneakers, no logo t-shirts.” It’s very interesting how differently I’m treated when I dress professionally as opposed to casually.

I have a very relaxed dress code for the students who work in my office: no bare feet and no visible underwear. I’m surprised how often students have a problem with that.

Very Large Software Company.

looks at self

In the summer, I’ll wear jeans and flipflops, and a T-shirt. Or a tank top (when I can face the arctic air conditioning). Otherwise, it’s bootcut jeans and heavy boots year-round. Low riders are the work of the debbil, they are. (I have enough arse problems thanks much)

I just ask that it be clean. With no obvious holes. And yes, no visible undies or naughty bits. Although the Minnesotan who wears shorts year around is in a class of his own… :eek: :wink:

People tend to avoid the obscene/controversial clothes and so on, by and large. Although I can generally spot the marketing and/or upper management folks from the length of the cafeteria. They’re the ones who’re dressed up, although jeans are still common.

Piercings? I don’t think there’s a section in the Book about it; we’ve got a few coworkers with visible metal in their faces or whathaveyou. Or dyed hair. Heck, I came to work for about a year with electric blue extensions in waist-length hair. :smiley:

I’m appreciating my boss all the more here. We can’t really have a casual Friday at our software company 'cause the whole week is casual. The boss/owner usually wears jeans and a golf shirt, while I usuall wear a casual long-sleeve, unless I know ahead of time there’s a meeting, in which case I’ll try to remember to wear my khakis.

I do wear sandals every day (no, I keep them here, it’s Edmonton :p) as a concession to my size 13 feet which can’t really be in shoes all day.

I work graveyard shift locked in a little room in the bowels of the jail. The only thing that stops me from coming to work in my pajamas is the fact that I sleep naked. Usually, though, it’s jeans or shorts and t-shirts (some of us purchased some t-shirts with our agency’s name on the back, but they’re not required, just comfortable), sandals or tennis shoes in the summer, boots in the winter.

I learned something interesting about a neighboring county’s dispatch center last night. Those poor sods have to wear uniforms, but they’re not allowed to wear them outside the dispatch center. So they have to come to work, change clothes, spend the day locked in the communications room that is accessible to “Authorized Personnel Only”, then change clothes again before they go home. How very stupid. We’re getting a new director soon; I hope he’s not one of those Professional Uniform demons.

Scrubs, color coded by day. Today is Monday, So I wore khaki and pink. I could also have chosen lavender and white. Our color spectrum includes: khaki, pink, white (any time), lavender(until October first), black (from October to April), navy, burgundy, and ceil blue. Shoes must be white, nurse-type or plain white sneakers. I have white Birkenstock Pro clogs.

It makes getting dressed in the morning VERY easy. But scrubs SUCK! The fabric is thin, so here in PA, you freeze just walking in from the parking lot in the winter. And, it’s like working in pajamas, which sounds great, until you realize just how much weight you can gain before the scrubs don’t fit anymore :frowning: I joined a gym just so my next purchase of scrubs won’t need an “X” on the size tag anymore.