Has dressing up for work gone out of style? More than half of job seekers rate a company’s dress code as either very important or moderately important. When it comes to millennials, 79 percent believe they should be able to wear jeans to work at least occasionally. And 58 percent of employees of all ages say they would prefer to work at a company that has a business casual, casual or no dress code. Even J.P. Morgan Chase, known for its bankers in power suits, has climbed aboard the business casual train.
If your company is changing the way it handles workplace attire, keep reading.
Workplace attire best practices
There are many ways to handle a more dressed-down workplace: casual Fridays, business casual every day or casual attire every day. No matter what you decide to do, there are some best practices to keep in mind.
- Set clear expectations: The definition of business casual can vary widely from one employee to another, so clearly state what is and is not acceptable. An employee fashion show can be a great way to visually showcase new guidelines. Recruit some of your staffers to walk the runway, demonstrating workplace attire do’s and don’ts. Reward your model volunteers with business promotional apparel appropriate for your workplace, such as an open-front cardigan or sweater vest.
- Consider location: Consider both geographic location and climate when setting a dress code. Shorts may not be necessary in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, but may be essential in Lake Havasu, Ariz., where summer temperatures frequently hit the 90s. Location can also be a factor in what is acceptable. For example, in Silicon Valley, tech programmers wear hoodies and jeans while Manhattan investment bankers consider a sport coat with no tie to be business casual.
- Stay on brand: Your workplace dress code should be consistent with your industry, brand and company culture. Attorneys or accountants may opt to stick to a business casual dress code on Fridays only. Choose business promotional apparel like a button-down for those days. An advertising agency or marketing firm, on the other hand, may choose a more relaxed dress code in order to show off their creativity. Tie-dye shirts and animal stripes can be considered.
- Get management buy-in: The best way to communicate your dress code is by having company leadership exemplify it. It may be best to have the same dress code for all staff, regardless of rank or title. Help them get off on the right foot by providing a piece or two of everyone will want to wear, such as a stylish polo or v-neck sweater.
Whether they dress up for work or go casual every day, one thing’s for sure: Employees at companies with well-stated dress code guidelines, a clearly defined company culture and some fashionable promotional apparel will easily be dressed for success.