Recently a law office in a small town contacted me to help them write a dress code. I was surprised! Actually, what the lawyer said was, “I have a dress code problem and I need to get it fixed, NOW.” Because he just expected his female staff to know how to dress professionally, he wasn’t really paying any attention to their overly-casual dress. Or their penchant for tattoos or piercings. And casual Friday turned into casual Thursday when one of them wanted to wear jeans to work on Thursday because her child had a game after work. And then fashion’s cavalcade of too sheer, too low-cut, too-many-slashes and cut-outs, etc. exacerbated the issue. You can see the downward spiral.
When clients started calling him and his wife to comment on this, he finally realized it was time to do something.
In conservative professions like law where you are handling the most personal aspects of peoples’ lives, it’s critical to look like the trusted advisor. And your staff generally makes that first impression. They pick up the phone, they welcome them into the office. They ARE your brand image. If you don’t have a formal dress code written to guide them, they may be affecting your business. If you don’t have a clearly-written guideline, it’s difficult to have a conversation with a staff member because you have nothing to enforce.
“You cannot climb the ladder of success dressed in the costume of failure.” Zig Ziglar
As far as I can tell, there are no classes to teach young people how to dress. We can’t even go so far as to say to “dress like you’re going to church” – that’s not even a valid visual anymore.
Either they go to the mall or the internet and shop for “fashion”. Or they throw themselves at the mercy of a sales clerk whose job it is to sell her something. If they are on a budget, they are going to a ‘fast-fashion’ store where inexpensive garments are often designed poorly. They don’t know what to look FOR, what to dismiss as unacceptable, and what designs are not adequate for their body shape OR the office culture. Confusion creates chaos.
Taking the time to write a clear dress code makes it easier to give staff guidelines to shop and a MUCH better chance of a consistent brand image for your company or office. If you would like my help writing one, please contact me, I’d love to help! 832.707.9339