Three mistakes you’re making with your dress code

If you’re dissatisfied with your dress code and how people are showing up, here are three reasons why.


1. You’re trying to do it yourself. As the head of human resources, marketing, the general manager or department manager, you’ve been assigned the task of updating the dress code. This is not a one task project. You’ve now been asked to provide creative direction, styling, and roll out of a dress code. Your role is not one of stylist, creative director, or project manager, so likely this task has been put on the bottom of your list of things to do. And this makes sense – it’s not your zone of expertise therefore it’s not your highest priority item.

The other issue is because you’re not experienced in styling, so when you sit down to complete the task, you’ll default to what will be done the fastest. This means you’ll default to rules and lists of clothing but there will be no tie-in to the organization and brand. You’ll be checking a box off the to-do list. And wonder why the people aren’t dressing for work the way you want them to. You’re actually doing your teams a disservice when your organization tries to write a dress code in house.

2. Asking for help but in the wrong order. If you’re in the situation described above, you may reach out for help. You’ll reach out to others who work for your organization but who are also not stylists. And you reach out to them for styling guidance, what items should be permitted or not and if you should allow smart casual (for example). And yes, they can provide that to an extent. But they’re also not stylists. And without a skill set to provide precise conceptual examples, creative direction, and styling direction, they can only do so much. This will have little tie-in to the overall ethos of your brand and how you want your people to appear.

3. Saying one thing and doing another. Your teams matter! Your people are important! You’re the ideal workplace! And yet, you do little to invest in them. Your teams are the most important part of your organization and yet they’re not receiving the attention they deserve. It’s time to actually invest in your people not just occasional engagement and morale boosting events. A program encompasses the goals of your dress code, interpreting your brand into style guidance, working with your teams to take their input into account, and understanding their unique roles and job demands.

Is it time to take stock of your dress code/style program? When was the last time you invested in your teams this way or overhauled the program? Do your teams need style education to improve how they show up?  If the answers indicate it’s time for a change, contact me here to discuss the best option for your organization.

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