Create the Right First Impression with a Dress Code

Impressions are important, there is no denying it. With the many dress codes that exist within various workplaces, it can become difficult to assess just how one should go about dressing appropriately without compromising personal style – even more difficult is the attempt to place guidelines on this. Dress codes are not set in place to compromise individuality or personality; however, it falls on the shoulders of business owners to set a clear image of how they would like you to represent their company.

The following are some general suggestions that should be considered when deciding if enforcing a formal dress code is the right move for your business.

  • If your workforce deals with the public on a daily basis, it would likely be in your best interest to require certain standards of appearance. Some basic rules may be necessary in order to outline how management would like the employees to appear to potential clients and customers. Even if you decide that a casual dress code is appropriate within your business, how casual is too casual? Some basic guidelines will be in everyone’s best interest. When making the decision to instill a dress code, every business owner should consider the following issues: public image, if the dress code has the potential to affect your employees in a negative way, and safety (including legally).
  • When considering a proper dress code, it is also important to consider the many laws that may come into play. Religious discrimination, racial discrimination, disability discrimination, gender discrimination, and sexual harassment are all areas that are covered by state and federal laws.
  • If the decision is made to institute a dress code, a written policy would be a logical next step. Consider addressing potential areas of conflict, highlighting the importance of setting a positive image within the workplace, identifying exceptions, and ensuring that all terms such as “reserved” and “appropriate” are clearly defined. Also, mention the possibility of “casual” days and what exactly that entails.

There are countless professions as well as types of work environments. Create the environment for success by covering all bases when it comes to the well-being of your workforce. A formal dress code has the potential to clarify the grey areas of what is considered appropriate today as well as improving your company’s image.

Jennie Moussa is a Marketing Intern for Consultants 2 Go and student at NJIT.