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I am a big fan of dressing casually, and as a millennial, I have actually never worked in an environment where business professional attire was required on a daily basis. In the rare occasion that I do wear business professional attire, I always end up thinking to myself, “Wow, who could work like this every day?” Thankfully, I am part of the majority, as an OfficeTeam survey reported that 56% of the workforce prefers a relaxed dress code. Having the autonomy to dress in a way that makes me feel good motivates me to perform at a high level.

Our current workforce is more diverse than it has ever been, so it is important that companies do have a policy regarding workplace dress. The policy can be as simple as listing items that employees should not wear, such as flip-flops, tank tops, sweatshirts, and leggings. Companies could also request that employees follow one of the more traditional policies, such as a company uniform, business casual, business professional, or business formal.

I am not a fan of companies simply saying, “dress professional” and addressing issues as they come up. The reason why I don’t like this approach is because it leaves the organization with too much risk. This approach requires consistency to stay legally compliant and is almost impossible to track. One manager may be fine with her employees wearing jeans, while another in the same company insists that they are not acceptable for the company’s culture. Additionally, one employee may look professional in a sleeveless dress, while another should stick with sleeves or add a cardigan to put their best face forward. Unless the organization as a whole takes a stand on what is and is not acceptable, there will be discrepancies between departments. This inconsistency will confuse employees at best and may even leave the company with a discrimination claim.

Here at Purple Ink, we have a unique dress code. Our “Dress for your Day” policy gives our team the freedom to decide how we should dress based upon our schedule. Our team has a lot of flexibility in general, and no day at Purple Ink is the same. One day an Inkster could be working from home screening candidates in jeans and a crewneck, dress business professional the next day to speak on-site with a client, and end the week dressed in a trendy business casual outfit for a lunch meeting. Having the flexibility to dress for our day does work for our company, but it may not for yours. Every company should consider factors such as industry norms, clientele, and their workplace culture when deciding on or revising their dress code policy.

Need some help with evaluating your organization’s dress code? Reach out to Purple Ink and we can help you consider some options that would be great for your organization!

Liz Zirkelbach
Liz Zirkelbach
Liz is a former Purple Ink team member. She has a special interest in finding the perfect fit for a role and creating a happy ending for both the person and the company.

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