Speaking to an employee about her clothing--kind'a quick would be good

I agree. Explain what the policy is. But don’t initiate any discussion about why she isn’t complying with it. If she wants to discuss why she hasn’t been complying, let her raise the issue. And then only address the issues she raises; don’t speculate on any other possible issues.

Chill, I am female, and I have never discussed or commented on that since she told me about it. Nor would I bring it into the discussion of her work attire. Simply backgrounding.

As I said, I’ve brought it up to her before, gently, and she said at one point that she knows there’s a issue, recounted her jr. high story and said that if she starts “dressing up” now people here will tease her, and she’s never gotten over jr. high in that respect.

“This is the dress code for the job. I expect you to follow it. I also expect that I won’t have to discuss this with you any further. Are we clear?”

Back in the day, I created a dress code presentation that involved “yes” and “no” photos so employees could see what we considered “business casual” and appropriate for client meetings.

I agree that you should tell your employee that she needs to be properly dressed to meet with a client any time that she’s at work.

Tunics can be a fabulous choice, especially if she’s a little taller than average.

A dressy tunic, slim-fit trousers, and a pair of low-heeled shoes would be as comfortable as jeans and a t-shirt, but way more professional-looking.

A long, “flyaway” cardigan can also look great on someone with a little midsection issue to camouflage. They come in various material weights, so can be layered up or down.

Since it’s autumn and going into winter, she could get a lot of mileage out of a “uniform” of a black or brown skirt (or trousers) and a pullover sweater of good quality. Add plain earrings and a necklace or scarf, and you’re dressed very nicely for the office. Add tights and boots when it’s cold; heels when it’s not. She can mix tops and bottoms, and get away with just a few pairs of trousers and a few skirts.

Edit: source: my own midsection, which has never been wasp-like. :frowning:

This is the job of HR or your personnel group. If you don’t have one talk to your boss before you have the ‘talk’. You need guidance on what is acceptable in writing. If you don’t have that, then wait until you do.

I think the suggestion for a small cash advance is good.

I wouldn’t lie to her. It’s unnecessary; plenty of places have “business casual” dress codes even if nobody ever sees a client, and the backlash if she finds out it’s a lie will create distrust. Just tell her what everyone else said. This isn’t a big deal, and given the potential issues one can have with employees, it should be relatively easy to fix.

It’s not the Army, ffs :smiley:

OP: Just phrase it along the lines of “In your new role, we have to be a lot stricter about complying with our dress code”. Be nice about it, clothing is quite a personal thing, and being too confrontational might have unexpected consequences.

Also, just be thankful you are not having the “It might be better if you washed/washed your clothes a bit more regularly” conversation.

No it’s not, this is basic line-manager stuff.

I think we were all harassed one way or another in junior high. It’s the nature of the pre-teen beast. She needs to find clothes flattering to her figure and appropriate to the work place.

No, she doesn’t.

Yes, she does.

The comments about how much/little she is being paid are irrelevant. Khakis/Chinos cost the same or less than jeans. There is also no excuse to show up to work in frayed/torn/ripped clothing.

How about you ditch the dress code? Is that really going to destroy your business?

Any staff who tease her about her professional dress should be brought in line. She might be especially touchy about the subject, and prone to take offense easily, but no one should have to put up with teasing at work.

C’mon man, I dislike dress codes myself and have the luxury at my particular isolated position of wearing just about anything I please ( though I once knew one dingbat who got scolded for wearing just a lab coat over his tighty-whities ). But millions of people work in situations where a particular look is required by clients expecting “professionalism.” However silly that may seem to some from a purely philosophical POV, it still can impact your bottom line if you decide to be a rebel.

I personally am mildly pleased with the continuing gradual casualization of American society ;). But that doesn’t mean you’re usually going to get away with wearing torn jeans and a Motley Crue t-shirt at your job as a corporate lawyer ( or as the lawyer’s secretary ).

Raw edged jeans are all the rage these days. I’m not saying it’s a good look for work, just that they are not considered “raggedy” anymore.

That depends on whether you work for someone who is going to let you “get away” with it. I’m encouraging the OP to be that boss and move the goal posts one step farther away from sartorial formality and uniformity and standards and towards casual and personal preferences. The more clients see it, the more they will get used to it. It takes multiple small steps to add up to big leaps, but it happens.

Macy’s and other similar stores have free personal shopper services.

A lot of people think that you have to be a rich socialite shopping for couture in order to use them. But you can just be a regular person (male or female) and tell your personal shopper “my workplace is business casual and I need something to fit in.” There’s no obligation to buy or to ever come back.

A lot of people just don’t know what to wear. They can look at the other people around them and not understand how they put together that outfit or what that thing they are wearing is called. Talking to a professional who has done this a thousand times before is a lot less embarrassing than sending someone from work to shop with her and a lot less intimidating than walking into a big store and not even knowing what you are looking for. (Walking into a store can be overwhelming.)

Did I mention it is free?

Maybe steer her in that direction?

I was thinking this too, buying a new wardrobe can be expensive and she might just not know how to shop or the right clothes for work.

This x10. One of the most aggravating behaviors that I have seen from managers is vagueness on expectations. If all you are telling me to do is “improve your performance”, then there’s not much I can do with that. Do you mean come in earlier? Stay later? Choose whether or not to come in earlier or stay later, just as long as I work longer hours? Do you primarily want me to get more items done each day, or is there a concern with my work quality and I should concentrate on doing just a few things really really well and leave the rest for later/others? Tell me “robert_columbia, you made four grammatical errors in your writing today. You need to make no more than two per day”, not “robert_columbia, you need to improve your performance”. Arrgh.

I once had an employee who had been caught masturbating on the job. And people were making jokes about him.

So I had to set up a meeting with him to review our sexual harassment policies and ask him if he felt he was working in a hostile environment.