Determining a company dress code policy can be tricky, especially in modern times where expectations around dress codes are much more relaxed than they used to be.
Whether you’re a smart-casual tech company or a super formal bank, you need to make sure that your dress code policy covers all bases.
Nonetheless, it can be difficult to know what to include in dress code policies, so here we’re going to give you some ideas and some samples as a starting point.
Different Types Of Dress Code Policies
Here are some descriptions and sample dress code policies for different types of workplace attire – use these as a starting point or as inspiration when creating your own employee handbook.
Formal Business Attire
When dealing with clients, customers, visitors, and the public, some companies expect their staff to dress in formal business attire. This usually means the kind of attire we associate with professionals like lawyers and bankers – button-down shirts, blazers, a smart dress, dress shoes, etc.
If you’re working in professions like accounting, banking, finance, and other “high brow” professions, then business partners must always look presentable and professional for clients and customers. These dress codes are usually very strict and don’t have much room for leeway.
Formal business attire dress code policy sample
Proper business attire for men may include suits, sports jackets, and pants that fit in with what is considered formal business attire in a workplace environment. For women, business attire may include formal pants and skirt suits with sports jackets in keeping with a formal business attire environment.
[Company Name] employees are expected to have professional taste and demonstrate common sense judgment regarding their attire. Consider your courtesy to coworkers and the impression you are presenting to clients when deciding what to wear.
The business environment has become a lot more casual in many sectors, and that’s probably a good thing. However, it can be easy to have dress code violations when the rules around work attire are much more vague and casual.
Oftentimes this dress code policy allows employees to wear their own clothes but forbids things such as graphic tees, shorts, ripped jeans, sandals, and anything too revealing. Some employers will be stricter than others about this.
Business casual dress code policy sample
Examples of appropriate business casual attire include khaki pants with a polo shirt, a jacket with a skirt/slacks, a blouse/sweater with a skirt/pants, or a simple t-shirt worn with a blazer and non-ripped jeans.
[Company Name] may also allow pantsuits if they are not too formal. However, ripped jeans, graphic t-shirts, revealing clothing, and footwear such as flip flops and sandals are not considered appropriate in our work environment.
Employees are expected to demonstrate professional taste and good judgment when selecting clothes for a business casual dress code. If you are dealing with customers and clients in person, you may wish to adjust your clothing to give a more professional appearance.
Casual Fridays (And Casual Attire)
Many companies allow their staff to dress in more casual attire on Fridays, hence the term “casual Fridays”. Depending on the business at hand, the expectations around this could differ from own clothes to smart-casual to somewhere in between.
Generally speaking, most companies allow employees to wear whatever they want on casual Fridays so long as their clothes are not likely to cause offense to anyone. In other words, this means no revealing clothing and no offensive slogans or designs on clothing.
Casual dress code policy template
Here at [Company Name], we expect staff members to dress appropriately in casual clothes while still maintaining a semi-professional appearance. You may dress comfortably, but do not wear any revealing clothes such as crop tops, tank tops, and very short skirts or shorts.
Employees should not wear any clothes that could make their coworkers uncomfortable or offended. As well as revealing clothing, this extends to clothes that have slogans or images that could cause offense regarding subjects such as religion, sexuality, politics, age, ethnicity, disability, and gender identity.
Summer Casual Employee Dress Code
Lots of workplaces allow workers to enjoy a more relaxed professional appearance in the summertime, especially if the organization is located in a warmer part of the United States or any hot region of the world.
While professional shirts and shoes are important, they can be very stuffy in hot weather and this can make employees feel distracted and uncomfortable.
As a result, many companies in the US allow a relaxed dress code from Memorial Day through to Labor Day for employees who aren’t interacting with clients face to face.
Summer casual dress code policy template
[Company Name] allows staff members to wear more relaxed and comfortable clothes during the summer months if employees are not making face-to-face contact with important clients on that day.
Blue jeans, athletic shoes, and t-shirts may be permitted, but we do not allow revealing clothes such as crop tops and any skirts or shorts should not come up higher than knee length.
Shirts and shoes should be appropriate for the office environment and safe to wear indoors – shoes such as flip flops and sandals are not allowed.
Grooming and Hygiene Guidelines
Companies often bring up grooming and hygiene guidelines as part of their business dress code policy. The human resources department usually recommends that clothing should be neat, clean, and well-kept without looking too tight or inappropriate.
Furthermore, HR usually expects employees to wash or shower regularly, wear deodorant, and brush their teeth regularly. Body and breath odor should be minimized, though it is known that some medical conditions that exacerbate these things.
Grooming and hygiene guidelines sample
[Company Name] expects employees to be well-groomed and well-kept, with appropriate facial hair and hairstyles, as well as a clean appearance with washed clothes that are not visibly frayed or in bad condition.
We also expect employees to have reasonable hygiene standards. Employees should regularly bathe or shower, maintain good oral hygiene, and ensure that they use deodorant to minimize body odor and breath odor. If an odor is caused by a medical condition, please bring this to the attention of management.
What Is an Appropriate Dress Code For the Workplace?
Different companies have different dress code expectations for their employees, so it’s difficult to answer this question.
Usually, a company will have a business dress code that fits into one of 3 main categories:
- Formal business attire – jackets, pantsuits, dress shoes, etc.
- Casual business attire – plain comfortable clothes that are semi-professional
- Casual attire – employees’ own clothes that aren’t offensive or revealing
Some companies may have a combination of these dress codes for different roles or may relax the rules on “Casual Fridays” or during the summer months.
Can an Employer Enforce a Dress Code?
Yes, employers can enforce dress code company policies on employees if the employees are not cooperating with their expected work attire as it relates to company culture.
However, you must be careful not to cross any lines. For example, you cannot enforce a dress code policy more strictly on female employees than you do on male employees.