DoNina Ifurung

DoNina Ifurung

By Donina Ifurung, On High Heels, 11/17/10

The marketplace continues to evolve, both in technology and in how businesses are run.  Computers process faster than ever, we have phones that can email, and give you turn-by-turn directions, cars that will parallel park for you, and vacuum cleaners you don’t have to push around. Yet the standardized dress code that seems to have originated in the 1950’s is literally still 60 years behind.

When it comes to dress code in the workplace, there should be guidelines. Sloppiness and being disheveled is certainly unacceptable. But as the marketplace has expanded to where a skateboarding Gen Y-er is now the boss, what is “acceptable” workplace dress should be re-evaluated. Requiring a stuffy suit and tie, or a restrictive pair of pantyhose make not a Fortune 500 company, nor does it necessarily demonstrate professionalism. These days, where clothing and style are becoming an important lifestyle facet, it pays to relax the “code” a little bit and let employees dress according to the times. Flexibility is the key. Women should be able to wear slacks or a skirt, open-toed shoes or boots. The guidelines should make sense for that organization. Obviously, I am not advocating dressing like you are going to the dance-club or vacationing at the Sandals Resort.

I, myself, have been written-up for wearing denim in the workplace. Never mind that it was dark denim, and that I had on a killer pair of heels, a silk top and a blazer. My boss was fixated on the company manual, and deemed my attire “unacceptable” and “inappropriate”.  In fact, he even exclaimed “A-ha!” when he saw my (unsightly) jeans!  Never mind that I did exceptional work for him and ran the office while he was traveling.  I was not wearing what headquarters thought was correct attire, so I was reprimanded.

These days, employees are more mobile. With flex schedules, rigorous work-travel, running from meeting-to-meeting, and catching cabs or the subway, it seems nonsensical to demand a suit and tie outfit that will constantly be mussed, ruffled, and sweated in.  Not to mention costly to clean. Companies will argue that the suit and tie is important when meeting clients and customers. True, and it makes sense to dress up a bit when meeting a new client or prospective customer. First impressions are the most lasting, and demonstrate a level of respect. But once you’ve established that relationship, and business is underway, is your attire at all relevant to your client?

With women quickly moving up the ranks, and younger people taking over the helms of business, it pays for companies to re-examine their dress policy. Companies are no longer just the banks and inaccessible monster conglomerates. Organizations that are creative and playful in their products and services, will probably feel stifled wearing stuffy suits. Workplace attire should be enjoyable to wear, and not feel like prison garb, that you can’t wait to shed. The current dress code is outmoded and should be revamped to make way for today’s savvy businesses and entrepreneurs.

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3 Comments on Is The Business Formal Dress Code (Suit/Ties) In The Workplace Outdated?

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  2. tanjayastefany says:

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  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by eBossWatch, Tracy L. Murray, Terrance McSweeney, Deepak Gupta, Help My Resume and others. Help My Resume said: Is The Business Formal Dress Code (Suit/Ties) In The Workplace Outdated? […]

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