dress codeI’ve started a new job and as part of my orientation, I had to review the corporate dress code. It’s pretty standard compared to others I’ve been subjected to in the work place. But since I’m nearing the end of my career, I seem to have less patience for the ‘rules.’ Especially rules that make no sense.

  1. No open toed shoes.
 In Maine we have a small window of time, during which we can wear sandals. Would big business stop spinning on its assets if we declared July ‘toe freedom month?’ This would allow our little piggies, confined to LL Bean boots for 11 months of the year, to get some fresh air and display their annual pedicure.
  2. Open backed shoes allowed. This is the arch of discrimination. Why is it wrong to expose toes but acceptable to bare the Achilles? Besides, my heels aren’t half as cute as my toes, and they look ridiculous with polish.
  3. No sleeveless dresses/blouses.
 Even Leviticus, the ultimate rule book, didn’t rail against arms, as long as they weren’t shoved into clothing of mixed fibers. I see similarities between upper arms and loose skin on necks, and there isn’t a ban on open necked blouses or shirts. Why is it acceptable to look at neck wattles, while enslaving arms in sleeves?
  4. Short-sleeved shirts/blouses allowed. Do we look more business-like when we squish arm flab into a short sleeve, making it resemble a triceps muffin top?
  5. No T-Shirts.
 I can see why they should prohibit offensive t-shirts because I don’t want to read “How to catch an illegal immigrant’ emblazoned on a coworker’s chest. I do think it would be fun to wear t-shirts that advertise our interests outside of work, however, and could lead to team building. What if I want to connect with people who play pickle ball? How will I know who they are if they can’t wear their t-shirts?
  6. Polo shirts and golf shirts allowed.
 Can you envision men, AKA old boys, sitting at a long table drafting the first guidelines, when some observant guy interjects, ‘What about days we play golf? Do we need to pack a bag, or can we make allowances for golf/polo shirts?” And that, my friends, is how t-shirts impersonating business attire slithered into the dress code.
  7. No shorts; skorts allowed. What exactly are we hiding when we wrap shorts with a handkerchief? Panty lines?
  8. Casual Friday.
 This makes as much sense as giving Miss America free plastic surgery instead of a scholarship. Let’s face it. Friday has a lot going for it already, and we are mentally wearing jeans, even if we don a ball gown on the last day of the work week. The workday that needs help is Monday. Would the person at Department of Motor Vehicles be a little gentler and forgiving on Monday morning, if beneath the counter he or she was wearing a pair of relaxed fit Levis?

You may wonder how I’m going to make it through the last few years of my employment without getting into trouble. The thing that motivates me to cover my arms, leave my t-shirts, shorts and jeans crumpled in the bottom drawer, and smother my toes in sensible shoes, is one crucial omission.

There is no rule that forces me to wear a bra.

What motivates you to follow your company’s dress code?

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