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Is this your scenario? 

You don’t have a company uniform in place, and you’re not planning to introduce one. The challenge you face is that you have staff of all ages and backgrounds within the organisation.  Often staff are not dressed appropriately and addressing what is considered ‘appropriate’ work attire is a sensitive topic.  

It can be a challenge to address these issues without offending staff.  If a uniform is not something your company is planning to implement, then putting together a dress code becomes imperative.  This way any issues can be addressed by referring back to the ‘company dress policy’ without any issues of offending people with their fashion choices. 

Here are the 9 essential things to cover in your dress code policy.  It’s important to specify which policies relate to men and women. 


Specify what style of trousers men are allowed to wear and what colours. For women specify what style of bottoms (skirts, trousers, etc) are allowed and what colours.  It may be important to specify if there are any days of the week where there is an exception to the rule. 

For example:  Monday to Thursday, all trousers/skirts are to be navy, black or charcoal.  For women skirts must sit at the knee or 2cm above the knee.  Trousers need to be a classic work trouser (no jeans or casual ripped trousers) – refer to Casual Friday policy for appropriate Friday attire. 


Stipulate whether women can wear dresses and if so what styles are appropriate and what colour.  Your policy may be quite relaxed and you may confirm that any dresses is appropriate so long as it’s at the knee or just above the knee.  Other companies may have a strict rule and stipulate only black, navy or charcoal and that the dress needs to be a classic corporate dress (no florals or full skirt dresses. 


Confirm what style of tops are available for men and how they must be worn. 

For example:  men must wear long sleeve shirts at all times.  Shirts must be collared and can be a plain colour or patterned (no paisleys or florals).  Shirts must be tucked into trousers at all times. 


Confirm what style of tops are available for women and how they must be worn. 

For example:  Women can wear long sleeve or short sleeve shirts and blouses (not sleeveless tops).  Tops can be tucked in or left out and must cover the skin at all times.  Any plain colours or patterns are suitable (except for floral or paisleys. 

  1.  SHOES

Specify which style of shoes are appropriate for men and women and what colours are allowed.  Perhaps your policy is strict and all shoes must be closed toe (no sandals or open toe) and black, brown or navy.  If you are more flexible explain what styles are appropriate and if is possible, provide images to show men and women what styles are suitable. 


Stipulate if you have a casual Friday policy and what exactly that means.  Does casual Friday mean jeans are allowed and if so explain what style of jeans.  (for example, tailored jeans, no tears, only dark denim).   Provide images of suitable casual Friday looks.  If you have a policy on length of skirts and dresses for women stipulate if this still whether this policy is relaxed on a Friday 


As more and more men and women tattoo and pierce they bodies it’s important to stipulate what is appropriate.  If you allow tattoo and piercing specify where it’s suitable and how much can be seen.  If it’s not suitable then stipulate that all tattoos must be covered.  And for piercing confirm if it’s just simple ear piercing or if other facial piercing is allowed. 


If your uniform policy doesn’t state that a suit is compulsory, then make sure to stipulate what jackets and cardigans (or any other outerwear items) are appropriate in the cooler months.  For example, what colour jackets and cardigans staff can wear, what style are suitable and any other outerwear items you approve, such a vest or knitwear. 


Be sure to document whether there is a certain standard for client facing staff verse back of house staff.  For example, you may put in place the policy that men must wear a jacket and tie to all client meetings and for women they must wear a jacket.  Also be sure to confirm if the casual Friday policy can work hand in hand with client meetings or whether the policy is voided if there is a client meeting. 

Also read our blog on how to have a uniform without having a uniform.