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Decoding the Work Dress Code For UOL (United Overseas Land Group)

  • August 1, 2016

It gives me great pleasure to be training an organization that places value on the professional image of their employees. While speaking to the senior human resource manager who was planning this series of corporate workshops for the staff, she voiced out the diverse interpretation of the workplace dress code.

Here’s what I shared during the corporate grooming and etiquette workshop.

The formality of the workplace dress code is usually determined by the amount of interaction employees have with customers or clients, as well as the industry of the organization. In workplaces where some employees interact with customers or clients and others do not, an organization may choose to have two dress codes. A more casual work dress code is normally adopted for employees with no customer or client contact while a more formal dress code for employees with interaction with external parties.

A company’s objective in establishing a business casual dress code is to allow employees to work comfortably in the workplace. Yet, there is still a need for employees to project a professional image for customers, potential employees and community visitors. Business causal is the standard for this dress code.

Clothing that works well for the beach, shopping and exercise sessions may not be appropriate for a professional appearance at work. Clothing that reveals too much cleavage, chest, back, tight, stomach, feet or underwear is not appropriate for a place of business, even in a business casual setting.

Here’s what generally acceptable as business casual attire.

Pants and Slacks

Slacks that are similar to Dockers and other makes of cotton or synthetic material pants, wool pants, flannel pants and dressy capri pants are acceptable.

Inappropriate pants include jeans, sweatpants, exercise pants, bermudas, shorts, brightly coloured leggings with prints and patterns, and any spandex or other form-fitting pants.

Dresses and Skirts

Dresses and skirts that end at or below the knees are acceptable. The shortest dress and skirt length should be at most two inches above the knees. Short, tight skirts that ride halfway up the thighs are inappropriate for work. Mini-skirts, shorts, sun dresses, beach dresses and spaghetti-strap dresses are inappropriate.

Shirts, Blouses, and Jackets

Shirts, blouses, polo t-shirts and cardigans are acceptable tops for work. Most suit jackets or sport jackets are also acceptable for the office.

Inappropriate attire for work includes tank tops, midriff tops, shirts with potentially offensive words, logos, pictures, cartoons or slogans. Halter-tops, tube tops, spaghetti tops, sweatshirts and t-shirts are inappropriate unless worn under another blouse, shirt, jacket, cardigan or dress.

Shoes and Footwear

Dress heels and leather deck-type shoes are acceptable for work. Flashy athletic shoes, platforms, flip-flops, slippers and extremely high heels are not acceptable in the office. Shoes should always be clean and well-polished. Dark coloured shoes are preferred for business.

Dress Down Days

Some organizations have Dress Down Days, generally Fridays. On these days, jeans and other more casual clothing is allowed. You might want to keep a jacket in your office for the days when a client unexpectedly appears on a dress down day, especially if the client is wearing a suit.

Dressing comfortably should not be at the expense of looking unprofessional. It is important to project the image of a trustworthy, knowledgeable professional for the clients who seeks your expertise and professional services.

It is always heartening to have participant come up and say thank you after workshops. This simple act of appreciation never fails to energize me after a full day training. I’m glad that they have found the workshop to be fun-filled and loaded with new knowledge that they can utilize back at their workplace. Hope that I’ve helped the HR manager convey the appropriate workplace dress code in a fun and meaningful way. Looking forward to the next session with UOL Group in October.

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