My Rant - Dress Code at Work

Okay … so maybe I am being a total commie here … but has anyone noticed that people at work tend to dress way too casually? It drives me nuts! :gah: I try to wear dress pants and heels periodically … and generally the things that I wear would NOT be mistaken as beach wear … but most people’s work wear (especially the ladies) is getting soo casual … it’s unprofessional. One gal I saw this morning was wearing a belly shirt, hipster pants and flip-flops. I think we are lucky that we didn’t see her in her pj’s!

Today I am wearing tan jeans and a peachy v-neck top … so I am not saying that I look ‘corporate’ all the time … but I think the casual dress code has gone too far. :grrr:

What do you think???

where do you work?

At my work it’s the men dressed inappropriately. Sweatpants (ugh!) and A-shirts really look slobby at work. We also have lots of summer interns, and the young girls wear belly shirts and flip flops. I’m always amazed!

I work in at a manufacturing plant, however I work in the front office. The office staff rarely, if ever, go out into the plant. If and when they do, there are long jackets that cover your clothing and none of the product will stain your clothes. (PS, we make cheese spread - nothing much that we make will really hurt your clothes.)

Well, if people aren’t following the dress code, then it’s up to managers to speak to them.

I work in publishing, which is notoriously lax. Technically, flip-flops are a no-no but I wear them anyway because it’s too hot outside for other shoes. But we’re also allowed to wear jeans all summer, as well as on Fridays the rest of the year, so :shrug:

I work in the engineering department of a state university. On my floor, are all of the project managers (engineers and architects) that handle construction on campus, and the finance people that handle the money for the all of construction on campus.

Flip flops are not appropriate office wear, even if you do work in a casual environment.

I do not want to see your belly.:zombie:

Jean with holes are not really office wear.

“Hooters” t-shirts are okay to wear to work…if you work at a Hooters restaurant.


I understand what you mean. Sometimes people aren’t aware of the image they are projecting. However, in a sense it’s unfair… every human being should be treated with the same respect, no matter what they wear, right? Of course, the real world is not that like that…

It’s very possible though that this girl just doesn’t know what it means to dress appropriately at work (nobody ever told her), or that she can’t find clothes that fit her? I know I have a LOT of problems finding business type of clothes. I wear size 0, sometimes 00 or smaller. Most stores that sell business clothes don’t have these sizes, or their size 00 are ridiculously big for me.:shrug: Finding a pair of pants is always a nightmare!

Thank you Misty for saying what I didn’t. People can, and will, dress however they want to outside of work. Express yourself all you want! Doesn’t bother me at all. You set your own dress standards, when you are not at work.

Iza, re:the person in question ‘knowing better’ or not … she is around 35 and really should ‘know better’ … and she is probably size 8 - 10, so she should not have a problem finding the correct size …

[FONT=Arial][COLOR=black]Oh! Sinistral_needler I agree with you so very much! I miss the days when we had work (or school) clothes, play clothes, dress clothes, etc. I find that the casual dress also leads to more casual behavior in the workplace and that the lines of a[/COLOR][/FONT][FONT=‘Times New Roman’][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2][COLOR=black]ppropriateness and professionalism keep getting blurrier. [/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT][/FONT]
[FONT=‘Times New Roman’][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2][/SIZE][/FONT][/FONT]
[FONT=‘Times New Roman’][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2][COLOR=black]Personally, I want to feel “different” on the weekends and love to throw on my jeans and t-shirt and feel like I am off - or, conversly, a pretty dress with some cleavage and feel like I am dressed to the nines and ready for a night on the town At the same time, when I wear jeans to work I find that my mindset is different and I just don’t work quite as productively and lose a little bit of that awareness that I am “on the job”. [/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT][/FONT]
[FONT=‘Times New Roman’][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2][/SIZE][/FONT][/FONT]
[FONT=‘Times New Roman’][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2][COLOR=black]And, to finish my bit, I can’t tell you how much it turns me off to go to the bank and hand over my money to a teller in a belly shirt, capris and flip flops…geez, talk about confidence instilling! Okay, climbing off my soapbox now…[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT][/FONT]

WOw i must the only person that feels different. I work at a law firm and its so refreshing not to have to wear a suit everyday at work. (and saves me lots of money considering i too wear a size 0 and being only 5 feet finding a suit can bring you to tears). Working long hours in uncomfortable clothing can be demorilizing. my work sees it as a way to make everyone equal. that way no one knows right off who is the partner and who is the lowly mail clerk. everyone gets treated with respect. and we are a very well respected firm. and then it a chance to dress up when i do have to go to a hearing.

I work in a gov’t office, it had a “casual Friday policy” when I joined, and about 8 years ago they went to “business casual” all the time. It was great at first: everyone in khakis and nice shirts, or cardigan or sweater sets with (comfortable) nice looking skirts, or the like. soon, the jeans started creeping in, then they got rattier. the support staff started wearing belly shirts and bedroom slippers. (really!!) men in birkenstocks and board shorts. (i do not want to see your unmanicured hairy feet!)

Then, the support staff wonders why they don’t get as much respect. and junior employees wonder why they might not be getting promoted?

BUT the management refuses to specify a “dress code” that spells out what is, and is not appropriate. A few years back they put out a memo basically saying “you are all professionals and growns ups and we don’t have to tell you how to dress.”

But now, I work at home, so anything goes!! When I do go in for meetings, it is always the dressier side of business casual for me.

Is it fair to judge people or treat them differently b/c of how they are dressed? No. But it happens. Every so often when a new female employee is under my direction and is dressing inappropriately I tell her (unofficially and not as a management type reprimand) that while she can wear what she wants, she will get farther in the job if people are listening to what she says and not staring at exposed cleavage.

PS- for those who have trouble finding suits etc for small sizes- I usually took all my “good suits” to be altered to fit me exactly at the local tailor/ dry cleaner. Well worth the $45-$50 to me. I know that isn’t an option for everyone, but if you are paying $200+ for a good suit to begin with, it ought to fit perfectly!

just my 2 cents…

Everyone deserves the same amount of respect. I was always taught that it wasn’t how you look, it’s how you act. If the person is getting their job done, I don’t see where it matters what they have on.(I would, however, draw the line if they were buck naked) Of course I may be a little prejudiced on this since all our extra money goes to clothes for the kids and I haven’t had new shirt, pants, or shoes in almost 3 years.

Hi Scout,
My rant isn’t so much about casual work environments per se, but about how very casual some people can get. It can also be demoralizing to see people who go to the casual extreme. (For me anyway.)

I usually dress business casual when I go to work, nice pants/skirt and a top. I usually wear flip flops (in summer) or ugg boots (in winter) to work since I take the bus and change into my shoes when I get there but there are times that I’ve kept my flip flops on when there aren’t many people in to office, or I’ll have them on at my desk and slip on my heels/shoes when I’m getting up to do something. There are times when I am just about the only one in the office (floating holidays like Columbus day) that I will dress down and wear jeans but I think I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve worn jeans to work in the past year.

One time I rode the elevator with a woman who works on a different floor and for a different company, and her jeans were so low cut that when she got off the elevator you couldn’t help but see her purple thong and, well, you know, the place where the thong goes. Icky! :shock:

Is it asking too much to keep the private parts private?

I remember when women wore hats and gloves, hoisery (before pantihose) and heels, dresses (with a slip underneath so there was no show through). And that was mon-fri, all 4 seasons, to work, to go “downtown” (the major shopping area in the city), and on Sunday to church (no malls and stores weren’t open). Pants were unheard of for women in the workplace and casual was for after work or week-ends. Flip-flops were for the beach or shower room. While relaxing the code is OK, I think just a lot of people don’t get the difference between casual and slovenly. And (just to be really old) I think the way people dress also affects their whole attitude, i.e., courtesy, language. Please and thank-you were more common, the f-bomb wasn’t heard on a regular basis and I can’t remember incidents of road rage.

You didn’t have to have a ton of money or shop at the best stores to dress appropriately. It did take a bit of pride in oneself and a little respect for your job and co-workers.

If you look at old photos (from the 30’s and 40’s) of the crowd at a baseball game, all the men were wearing hats. (Not the freebies the team gives out; real hats.)

While we probably don’t want to go that far back, I think we’ve taken casual and turned it in to careless. When one of our attorneys has to go to court with a client, we have to give them strict instructions on how to dress, otherwise it would be t-shirts and ripped jeans, and sandals.

Sorry, I’ll crawl back into my cave.


HAHA the post about seeing the thong and where the thong goes made me think…our children our learning bad habits for dress and self care as well. I work in a children’s hospital and I see girls coming in with those low cut jeans, thongs, tattoos, make-up, piercing, exposed cleavage etc etc. I am 30 and if my father saw me dressed the way these girls (and some mothers) come in dressed he would turn me out of his house. Heck, he blew a gasket when I got my ears pierced a second time. Can’t image what he would have done if I came home with a tattoo or a bull ring through my nose.

I guess everyone is raised differently and that’s what makes the world go round.

It’s exactly what I do too. Sometimes it’s a lot of money but I prefer to look professional. If I wear too casual clothes, people treat me like a teenager and I HATE THAT.:wall:

I work in a law firm as well, but the dress code is just a little more casual than suit wear. However, it is more formal than the school I used to work at. At first I was nervous about having to dress up, but because the policy falls in the middle (nice capris, blouses, no polos or flip flops, heeled thong-like shoes okay…), it’s actually okay.

I have noticed that when I run errands after work (I leave at 1:00), I get a bit more respect than when I wearing my grunge wear…jeans and flip flops.

Generally, I’ve not had issues with dress codes. I once worked in a library that banned all blue denim (even if it was a skirt or vest). You could wear jeans on Fridays, but they couldn’t be blue. I was mad b/c I generally don’t wear denim other than blue, & resented having to purchase something I wouldn’t normally wear just to wear denim on “casual Friday.” Sometimes the pages would come in with ripped clothing, or shirts with sayings on them, and they’d be sent home to change. Paid staff were expected to dress “business casual,” even if you were off-site, like at a conference. I got to go to one while I worked there. Most people got to wear their jeans. I felt incredibly overdressed in skirts, but my boss’s boss was there, so I didn’t dare wear jeans.