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Are Strict Work Dress Codes Necessary?

Updated on January 18, 2011
Add in human hair extensions for a conservative shag look
Add in human hair extensions for a conservative shag look
A clip in ponytail creates a neat bun, perfect for work.
A clip in ponytail creates a neat bun, perfect for work.

An article hit the press yesterday about a Swiss bank that was amending their dress code rules. People thought that the strict requirements for dress were outdated and ridiculous, and after much lampooning, the UBS bank of Switzerland decided to make changes. The Swiss bank's rules included instructing their employees to wear flesh-toned underwear, not to eat garlic and what colors of nail polish were acceptable.

However, many are asking whether the Swiss bank's dress code should be standard for all companies. Let's examine a few of UBS' policies on appropriate workplace dress.

Women are encouraged to wear flesh-toned underwear

Wearing red underwear under a white skirt is never a good idea. Wearing dark colored or flesh toned underwear makes your underwear invisible to anyone who may accidently catch a glimpse of it. This rule should apply to both men and women. Suppose you went to a brokerage firm to invest your funds, only to find out that your adviser was wearing hot pink boxers!

Get a haircut every four weeks to maintain your hairstyle

Your hair should always be neat and trimmed in the workplace. In some industries, women are encouraged to wear their hair tightly pulled back and above the collar. While long, flowing hair may be attractive, it may send the wrong message to certain clients. Clip in ponytails can be worn in at tight bun for a conservative look. Try human hair extensions that can be pulled or braided back during the day and loosened in the evening for a more casual look.

On the other hand, if you work in a casual environment or one that encourages artistic expression ( graphic designers, computer programmers, writers, etc.) a tight bun or conservative style may send the wrong impression. Tailor your hairstyle to your work environment, but remember that it's always important for your hair to be clean and neat.

Don't eat garlic and onions

I had to laugh at this one because I thought this went without saying. If you're going to be interacting with clients in a face to face setting, avoid foods with strong odors. I love a lunch of lasagna with garlic bread and a caesar salad, but it might not be a great idea to eat this right before an important meeting.

Carry breathmints or a travel sized toothbrush if you expect to eat foods with strong odors while in the office. If you work from home, feel free to chow as many garlic and onion sandwiches as you please.

Nail polish should be in muted, natural colors only

Have you ever been to an office and noticed a receptionist with long, curvy brightly colored fingernails? What impression did it give of the office? Your nails should be neat and trimmed. Choose a polish color that accentuates your skin tone. Avoid wild colors, extra long nails and distracting designs.

Remember, you represent your company so always put your best face forward.


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