Even as a director, I hate selecting what to wear to work each day. In April 2018, General Motors CEO Mary T. Barra announced the new GM workplace dress code: “Dress appropriately.” The dress code policy is one of the most frequent workplace conversations in all organizations, so let’s talk about it:
Why Have a Dress Code
First and foremost, a person’s attire may not correlate to how well she may perform her job. Even so, the dress code policy is an attempt to instill or support customer confidence that services and products will meet or exceed expectations. Confidence is emotional and may not be rationale. For example, when the server working for a national restaurant chain arrives at my table dressed in a fringed outdoor leather jacket to take my order, I leave and business suffers at least the loss of one sale and customer.
Appropriate Attire for the Interview
Unless instructed otherwise by an interviewer, a sure way to be appropriately attired for an interview is to wear a business suit or an equivalent that your grandparents would approve of if they were to take you to meet a dignitary or elected official. You are dressing up for the occasion to meet someone held in esteem about importance business —your livelihood. This is a business and financial transaction; your clothes and appearance convey the importance of the occasion and enhance your resume and interview answers. Everything needs to work in concert to communicate “I am ready, willing, and able to work; I will give you the needed talents and skills you request for the appropriate salary; and you’ll be glad you hired me.”
Appropriate Attire Once Hired
Once hired, review the dress code policy, and if in doubt, ask your supervisor what attire is appropriate. The established standard may be influenced by customer and client contact, safety concerns, as well as outdated social norms. Thanks Michelle Obama for ripping the tradition requiring women to wear panty hose in the workplace. Tattoos, piercing, and natural hair styles are becoming more prevalent in the workplace and will continue to increase as the workplace becomes more diverse. Supervisors should be willing to initiate conversations with leadership to discuss the evolution of appropriate dress as they are well situated to see the staff each day and observe issues.
Dressing for Success (Promotion)
Dressing for success and promotion means wear clothes that represent the level of responsibility to which you aspire. It gives you familiarity with the attire and it gives others a visual subliminal message that you are ready for an elevation.
To help ease my morning frustrations on what to wear, I opted to purchase uniform styled shirts with the company logo and my name. So most days in my logo shirt, slacks/skirt, and natural hair off to work I go. How about you?