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    6 Replies Latest reply on Oct 24, 2013 9:27 AM by Moderator Melinda

    Dress Code

    LUCKIEST Guide

      The New York Times once featured straightforward news that
      defied entertainment in favor of accuracy. Now the Sunday paper has no fewer
      than three advice columns, including the "Workologist." This
      columnist acknowledges he is not a professional career advisor, just a guy with
      strong opinions.


      It's not clear who writes to these columnist but one thing's
      pretty certain. Nobody could invent these stories.

      One piece of last Sunday's column raised more questions than
      answers. A woman working in Asia for a Paris-based fashion company had the
      audacity to dye her hair a striking shade of red. Her colleagues loved it. So
      did she.


      One day an "HR person" told her the hair color didn't
      fit the company's image, advising the new redhead to switch to a more
      conservative black or brown shade or face a warning.


      Would the Asian location make a difference? Is there a reason
      the warning came from HR rather than the woman's own boss?



      But I'm more curious about what you think. Does your company have a dress and/or hair code?

      Does HR get to be the bad guy to enforce these codes? And do you agree with the
      official advice to return to brown or face dismissal?




        • Re: Dress Code
          Moderator Berta Guide

          That is very interesting in deed, Lucky! If the hair coloring was professionally done & looked good, I don't see what the problem is. No two women or men are the same. I would think that if she looked professional, then her hair color shouldn't be that big of an issue.


          I can't wait to see how our community members weigh in on this subject.



          • Re: Dress Code

            Great topic Luckiest!


            I can see both sides of the coin. She works for a fashion company. The fashion industry needs to be cutting edge at all times and uphold a reputation so that people will buy their products. If the company gains a negative view point and looses popularity, then their interest goes down.


            As far as working in a different industry, the dress code maybe different. Most companies are on the conservative side and "require" their employees to basically do the same. Human resources unfortunately, usually winds up being the bad guy. Let us not assume that the original request of change did NOT come from this woman's boss. A lot depends on the structure of a company. Its all about a chain of command. It's that simple.



            • Re: Dress Code
              mganthony Wayfarer

              Luckiest, I find hair color to be a very interesting dress code topic. Hum, hair color could cause an employee to face disciplinary action? I have worked in the corporate world and never heard of hair color or style being a problem. It must have been company specific and regional, especially if the hair color was well perceived by co-workers as it seemed. The employer might have thought that clients could feel threatened somehow by this employee. Cultures in other countries has some very different beliefs that those of the American cultures. Also, unfortunately, people are stereotyped by hair color (e.g. dumb blondes). Although I am not an expert in the fashion industry, I would think being an employer in this industry might welcome an employee making a change to their appearance as long as it still looked professional and presentable. I could understand if the hair color was changed to something outrageous like a multi-tones of black, red and blonde, but that did not seem to be the case.

                • Re: Dress Code

                  Hi Mganthony,


                  I am sure that the reason why you were not aware of this possible issue is because none of your co-workers have ever rocked the boat in this way. Could you just imagine a lawyer or doctor showing up to work with a rainbow colored mohawk? How about the company secretary (which is almost always the first person a client sees when walking into a corporate office)?  I can guarantee you that clients would walk out as quickly as they came in, that is if the secretary even got the chance to sit at their desk because I am sure that the SECOND their boss saw that drastic change they would surely be give a different task somewhere in the BACK of the office until further steps can be taken to rectify the situation. It is unfortunate, but that IS the reality of society. I have witnessed, in my work experiences and not just in the corporate world, several of my co-workers receive a whole host of reprimands for various "fashion changes". Many, of course,  were handed pink slips. The fashion industry is no different, if not worse. Each fashion company wants to portrait an image. An image that is popular with the crowd. If that image is about the younger wild side, than there is less of a problem. Case in point, how many "popular" full figured models do you know? I only know of one company that capitalized on this market. But there is an exception in every rule.



                • Re: Dress Code
                  Tran Nguyen Tracker

                  I implement a "Professional Attire" dress code at my office -- absolutely professional.


                  I go to length to implement this. Employees that stay with me for over six months are issued company suits -- they get to pick single or double breasted; I pay for the tailoring, fabric, and materials. Female employees are given a budget to purchase their professional attires -- but it is a generous budget.


                  Employees are then offered the option to purchase wool or felt fedoras out of their pay checks. Most purchase it because it looks amazing and they like the recognition it has when they go out. Both male and female employees are offered the option to buy cuff links for their "formal attires".


                  With all of this said, I know my office looks like a snap shot out of Mad Men -- or something in the 1930s. But it is how we brand ourselves. Our clients expect to see a spit and polish accountant when we are called -- and they pay for the privilege. Our referrals know that they are getting a very well dressed and professional looking accountant when they send clients our way.


                  So my employees know, they are to show up with nothing short of a very nicely put together professional attire. Several of the girls even went as far as dying their hair back to a solid shade because they held pride in the way the company is ran and the image it has.


                  The only time I have ever had hair issue was when one of the girls dyed it blue for Halloween. HR came down on it as being "unprofessional" -- not because she looked bad; but because the other females were resenting it. They felt that they took the effort to look nice -- and with one swoop, this blue hair made them all look unprofessional.


                  But for a good week, I had angry HR in my office telling me that I need to do something before they write her up and damage morale. The situation defused itself because the girl ultimately dyed her hair back. I have to say that I also disapprove of the eccentric hair color; but I wear a fedora and cuff links, that right there already makes me stand out in the 2000 era.


                  So while I understand her plight and the view of HR -- it ultimately boils down to what other perceive you as also. HR doesn't exists for the whole company; it's still ran by people and people are influenced by many things -- normally a complaint from somebody else (like in my case).

                    • Re: Dress Code

                      Tran, while your company offers a generous budget for work attire (which in my opinion is smart if you want to enforce company dress code) many companies do not. Many people who are just starting out in the professional world don't always have the funds to extend their already limited closet. I remember when I graduated and started interviews, I invested in one really good black suit and a few colored blouses and skirts. I did laundry often. I made it my business to set money aside from each pay check to add to my wardrobe. Within a years time I had what anyone would be proud to call a business collection of clothes.


                      The hair was never an issue simply because I worked in a professional atmosphere and I happened to be in a managerial position. That left absolutely no room for me to even think of something of the wall. Unfortunately, couldn't say the same for some of my co-workers who just didn't get it.


                      I am curious. How many of you professionals allow dress down Fridays?