It is summer, that time of year when our thoughts turn to vacation and comfortable clothes. T-shirts, shorts, sandals. Soon we are imagining ourselves on the beach, on a hiking trail, poolside . . .
Then we remember we work for a living. Unless you are working from home, in most workplaces the dress code stops you from showing up at the office in your bathing suit or most casual apparel.
It is sad but true that dress codes are usually a necessity. This is because common sense is not so common. A vague rule of “wear appropriate clothing” just won’t cut it. Someone will show up wearing something outlandishly inappropriate.
Although I endorse the concept of a dress code for most workplaces, I am glad to see that these rules have been loosening up. I was a trail blazer in the 1990s when I started showing up at my law firm without a tie. When I visit law firms today, usually the only time the men or women are in suits is when they are heading to court. Otherwise, “business casual” is the law of the land.
But what the heck is “business casual?” I surveyed many dress codes and I still do not know the answer to that question. It is as frustrating as party invitations that tell you to wear “festive attire” or “casual nice.”
While my dress code survey did not reveal an answer to my question, I did find some dress code rules that made me laugh. And cringe. Here are my favorites:
- Employees must wear proper undergarments.
How on earth would a supervisor enforce this rule? Who gets to decide which undergarments are proper and which are improper? Plus, it is asking for a harassment charge when the boss says, “Pardon me, but would you drop your pants for a moment?”
- No transparent clothing.
A friend said this rule would ruin his eye candy opportunities until I reminded him that anyone could wear transparent clothing absent the rule, not just the people he thinks are attractive. He thought about the people in his workplace for only a moment before deciding to endorse the rule.
- No form-fitting or tight sweat suits.
One size does not fit all, apparently.
- No bare breasts.
I really, really want to know what happened in the workplace to generate this rule.
What are your thoughts about workplace dress codes? Are they good or evil? Do you have any dress code horror stories? Evil Skippy wants to know. And just what is “business casual” to you?