Let’s face it, when it comes to clothes women have it good. Whatever their size or shape, clothing can be found to properly fit them. Contrast this with men’s clothing where the options tend to be limited to ‘slim’, ‘regular’, and ‘husky’. This is all before you even start looking at color and pattern options.
In the workplace though, this diversity comes at a price. In addition to the distraction factor, the sheer variety found in women’s fashion creates a hodgepodge of looks that can undermine a company’s professional image. In some cases, it can even make it impossible to tell at a glance just who works for the company.
For men, a simple dress code list is sufficient. Dictate that the following are not allowed: jeans, shorts and athletic shoes. Add that shirts must have a collar and none of the clothing can be visibly worn or torn. The end result will be a group of males dressed remarkably similarly. Well yeah, you’ll get that one oddball who shows up in a kilt…
For women on the other hand, attempting to dictate a dress code while still allowing choices is all but impossible. Dictate that blouses worn must be business cut and that leopard print blouse is sure to make an appearance. Outlaw animal prints and a perfectly conservatively cut blouse with a color scheme that sends coworkers into seizures might walk through the door. The truth is: personal taste is subjective. Give employees a simple dress code and an immense variety of clothing to choose from and someone is sure to wear something inappropriate, but still within regulation.
Even major fashion designers have recognized this phenomenon and their designs are trending accordingly.
According to Frock Candy manager Katie Moore, “Menswear trends are going to be big this fall. So basically taking menswear-inspired items and making them work for women, like the tailored pants, the blazers for fall and the button-down shirts.”
Outside the world of high fashion, the need for a certain degree of conformity in employee dress can be met through simple company apparel. While many hear “company uniform” and cringe as they picture the brown UPS mainstay, the fact is virtually any article of clothing can have the company logo embroidered on to create company apparel.
Outside the actual fashion industry, clothing at work should not be a competition between employees to determine who is the trendiest. Choosing a tasteful company uniform ensures that is isn’t.