The authority and responsibility of setting dress codes is on employers and they need to make sure that the dress codes don’t disavow or violate anti-discrimination laws. The modern day dress code can be hard to understand and even harder to adapt to, so here’s a little look into what dress codes truly embody and how to pull them off just right.

Dress codes can differ from uniforms to formals and everything in between. Many industries, organisations, and companies have accepted the growing trend of casual attire in the workplace. However, there are standards of appearance business owners want to maintain which is where dress codes come into play.

We all have those people we know who dress very differently for work. Some love showing up in full suits, the whole tie package while some are more subtle and hardly cross the business casual limit. But there’s some policies that companies have to maintain the messages they put across to their employees, clients, and users. To maintain this reputation and image, organisations come up with dress codes that match the attitude and standards of its professional values.

Why Dress Codes in the First Place?

1. Dress Codes Provide a Guide for Employees

Believe it or not, dress codes trace their roots back to the early stages of economic development when the service industry was booming and the retail sector was peaking. They allow us to keep track of who’s who, such as employees in the service industry are easy to identify. Further, different roles in different organisations can mandate different appearance requirements. This brings us to uniforms.

2. Uniform 

Corporate and core business function employees like managers, directors are supposed to wear formals while backend and R&D are allowed casual clothes. Although it’s important to encourage comfort in the workplace, it’s equally important for employers to set some clear guidelines to ensure that everyone feels comfortable.

3. Sets Professional Tones

While the traditional suit and tie for males and the paint-suit for females may seem archaic, wearing formals is, unsurprisingly and undisputedly, classy. Wearing a simple blazer, oxford or polo shirt with dress pants, and leather shoes is aesthetically too pleasing on a man. For women, an elegantly professional dress works, so does a fitted blouse or button down shirt, with leggings, skirts, or pants with flats, slingbacks, or boots, it’s simple and graceful, too.

Dress Codes of Today

The millennial-friendly workplace wears whatever’s comfortable, and what they like (what they feel they look good in, and that’s okay). Startups and tech firms are more than glad to embrace this new office attire trend, especially if it improves the mood of workers, which apparently it does. CEO of Randstad US, Traci Fiatte said there was an “interesting disconnect” around young workers.

Most young employees, in startups and MNCs, associate dressing up with more confidence and better work performance, says Fiatte. The way you dress, carry, and present yourself has a huge impact on your co-workers and solid opinions are formed on your character and personality in the workplace. Although everyone is free to dress as they please, the office is a place to work and be productive and there are some basic etiquettes in such social environments.

What to Wear

It’s hard not to trigger, offend, or unintentionally outrage someone in 2020 in India, but when it comes to the colors and styles you wear to work, you can choose to be neutral. It can be tricky to figure out what to wear in interviews and first days of your office, but all you have to do is make a choice.

For example; pants or jeans, make a choice. Similarly, shirt or t-shirt, oxford or brogues, belt or suspenders, skirt or pants, watch or jewellery? These are all choices you’ll make to present yourself at work. If your company lays down policies that mandates or bans wearing any of the above then you have your choice made up for you, but for everyone else, each day of work is an opportunity to show your lifestyle, work ethic, and attitude towards your workplace.

Wear what works for you and keep a close group of friends (highly recommended) to help you where you falter. Explore the colors you enjoy and experiment with the styles that look good on you and don’t be too scared of your colleagues judging you. The worst case scenario is they’ll make fun of it one day at the office until the weird guy shows up to the office in yellow clothes from head-to-toe, again.

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