Add this to the list of terms that have become nothing more than meaningless business jargon: Workplace attire. After all, when considering the following workplace stories, it’s hard to say what even constitutes appropriate “workplace attire” anymore…
First, there’s Esquire magazine recently naming Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg its ‘Worst Dressed Celebrity.’ While I’m confident the billionaire isn’t losing any sleep over the title, there is a bigger implication here: ‘Dressing for the job you want ’ evidently no longer applies in the business world. After all, if someone can reach Zuckerberg’s scale of success without so much as having to ever step foot into a Brooks Brothers, why bother ever changing out of your pajama jeans? Does Zuckerberg represent the new executive style – and the death of professional attire as we know it?
For those who are alarmed by this notion, rest assured that there are still some employers that will go to any – however uncomfortable – lengths to preserve the good name of businesswear. Consider the following stories…
No Red Undies and No Garlic – After generating ridicule for a 44-page dress code – in which employees are instructed to avoid eating garlic for fresher-smelling breath and wear only nude-colored underwear, among other advice – Swiss bank UBS recently announced that it would revise the existing code. While the new code is said to be less micro-manage-y, UBS maintains that a code is important to uphold “the perfect look” of the staffs at its banks.
Bosses Get the Final Say on Bras – Arguing that “being told to wear a bra and keep fingernails to shorter than half-a-centimetre does not impinge on personal rights,” a German court ruled recently that employers in Cologne have the right to make certain demands on workplace dress – including asking female workers to wear bras and male workers to trim their beards.
Aside from wondering which poor intern would have the unfortunate duty of ensuring employees keep within these standards (“Pull down your pants a bit. I just need to see the color of your skivvies…okay, now let me smell your breath…”), I also can’t help but think…are all of these rules really necessary?
Sure, I understand the need and the expectation for employees in certain roles and industries to look presentable…but if you’ve hired them for that position, shouldn’t you already be able to trust that they can decide what is or isn’t appropriate attire?
What do you think? How much control should employers be able to have over their employees’ personal appearance?Related
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