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Dress for Success – The Importance of a Clearly Defined Dress Code Policy

In the age of a multi-generational workforce, Dress Code Policies can stir up both controversy and confusion among employees. Some companies, like General Motors, created a Policy that simply states, “Dress Appropriately,” while other companies have stuck to the “Dress to Impress” mentality, requiring professional attire across the board.

Business Casual, when defined and executed appropriately, is a compromise for many companies that ensures employees present a professional image and are always prepared for the business of the day. Business Casual typically speaks to all clients (or prospective clients), from the casual to the most formal. Dress Code, however, can be perceived differently depending on one’s age, background, or even position.

When determining an appropriate Dress Code Policy for a business, consider the following:

  • Clarify Expectations – Business industry plays a big part in what type of Dress Code a Company has. Management must determine what image works best for their Company, define expectations and communicate what is and is not acceptable. Once decided, holding a formal training or utilizing pictures as examples for “do’s” and “don’ts“ helps ensure employees are on the same page.
  • Dress Code is More than Just Clothes – The way clothing fits and overall appearance is just as important as the style of clothing itself, however it is important to respect and understand different styles and personal choice, while avoiding what might be offensive. Ensure employees understand that proper presentation (pressed, neat, clean clothing that fits), grooming (hair, makeup, etc.), shoes (style, height), and overall appearance are also part of the Policy. 
  • Lead by Example – Employees take cues from management regarding acceptable dress and overall appearance. Managers must be especially conscious of the example they set for others in the Company.

While dress code requirements are not always one-size-fits-all, deciding what works best and clarifying expectations on the front end helps to avoid uncomfortable conversations and employee confusion down the road, which is a positive for managers and employees alike.

For assistance with crafting a Dress Code Policy or training employees on expectations, reach out to an EctoHR, Inc. team member today at 810-534-0170 or

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