Career Development

Dress Code Policy: What to Include, How to Write One and Sample to Use

February 22, 2021

Many professions do not have fixed and formal stipulations for what employees should wear to work. Therefore, it is important that a company develops a dress code policy to provide employees with guidelines to help them dress appropriately for the workplace. In this article, we offer everything you need to know about implementing a dress code policy at work and also provide a template and example of a dress code policy you can use to write your own.

Related: Guide to Business Attire (With Examples)

What is a dress code policy?

A dress code policy is a document that outlines the appropriate dress code for a company's employees. Dress codes vary from company to company and are dependent on a company's culture and industry type. Whereas some professions come with an already-established dress code–for instance, law or medicine–other industries do not have any set rules or regulations when it comes to what employees should wear.

In such instances, a company may decide on a dress code that suits its unique needs and the image it wishes to project. If, for instance, a company's employees come into contact with clients, they typically need to dress professionally and neatly to make a favorable impression. On the other hand, laborers in manufacturing or engineering companies will need to wear protective clothing and safety gear.

Related: Guide to Smart Casual Attire (With Examples)

What to include in a dress code policy

It is up to you as the employer to determine how detailed you want to make your company dress code policy. Make sure, however, to use a positive and respectful tone when drafting your policy document and provide a clear explanation for why you have chosen a specific dress code policy. If your workers understand the motivation behind the policy, they are likely to be more supportive and understanding of the rules and regulations.

Here are common elements of a company dress code policy you may want to include:

  • A brief introduction: Start the document with a brief outline of what the company expects about how employees should present themselves at work and why this is important to the business.

  • The target audience: It is important that you state specifically who the policy applies to so that some employees do not regard themselves as exempt.

  • General guidelines: In this section, you can provide employees with general guidelines about appropriate clothing and other aspects like tattoos, hygiene and jewelry.

  • The dress code: You should clearly state what the general dress code of the company is and should also list exceptions when employees may need to follow a different dress code.

  • Accommodations: To prevent any possible issues, state that employees can address any concerns about the dress code to human resources.

Template for a dress code policy

Use this template to help you draft your own company's dress code policy:

Dress Code Policy for [Company Name]

Policy Brief and Purpose

[Company Name] requires that employees dress neatly and appropriately at all times and that they maintain adequate personal hygiene. The success of any company is reliant on the support and goodwill of its customers. For this reason, it is important that [Company Name] maintains a professional image. As representatives of this company, employees must adhere to the dress code policy.

Policy Target Audience

This policy applies to all employees of [Company Name].

General Guidelines

The company urges employees to use common sense and sound judgment when it comes to selecting their work attire. When in doubt, refer to the conservative and formal side. To assist you, here are a few broad guidelines you can follow:

[Company's rules]

Company Dress Code

In general, the dress code for employees is [dress code]. [List instances where other dress codes may apply].

Accommodation

If the dress code policy contravenes the prescriptions of your faith or that it is offensive to you in any way, please contact human resources.

Example of a dress code policy

Here is an example of a dress code policy for help writing your company's dress code policy:

Dress Code Policy for Eclipse Computer Solutions

Policy Brief and Purpose

Eclipse Computer Solutions requires that employees dress neatly and appropriately at all times and that they maintain adequate personal hygiene. The success of any company is reliant on the support and goodwill of its customers. For this reason, it is important that Eclipse Computer Solutions maintains a professional image. As representatives of this company, employees must adhere to the dress code policy.

Policy Target Audience

This policy applies to all employees of Eclipse Computer Solutions.

General Guidelines

The company urges employees to use common sense and sound judgment when it comes to selecting their work attire. When in doubt, refer to the conservative and formal side. To assist you, here are a few broad guidelines to follow:

  • All clothing should be clean, ironed and in good shape. Desist from opting for clothes that display discernible tears, rips or holes, even if it is the current fashion.
  • All employees should maintain an acceptable level of bodily hygiene to ensure that interactions with other staff and clients remain positive and pleasant.
  • Work clothes should be professional, which means that it should not be too revealing or casual.
  • Although we allow clothes with stamps, the latter should be inoffensive and appropriate for the workplace.
  • We allow female staff to wear jewelry but we urge that staff please remove visible body piercings during work hours.
  • The company has no policy against visible tattoos but urge that staff covers these when possible and practical.

Company Dress Code

In general, the dress code for employees is business casual. However, sales and marketing staff that have direct contact with the company's clients should follow a dress code of business professional during client visits and meetings. Technical staff that is busy with hardware repairs and installations are allowed to wear more casual attire, such as jeans, and should also make use of the overalls provided by the company for this purpose.

Accommodation

  • If the dress code policy contravenes the prescriptions of your faith or that it is offensive to you in any way, please contact human resources.*

Frequently asked questions about dress code policies

Here are a few relevant questions and answers about dress code policies:

Can a company fire me for wearing inappropriate clothing to work?

Yes, a company has the right to fire an employee who does not comply with the dress code policy. However, normally a manager or superior will first ask an employee to change their clothing. If, after repeated requests, an employee still does not comply, this may result in disciplinary action and dismissal.

What are the different kinds of dress codes?

There are four dress codes for the workplace: business formal, business professional, business casual and casual.

What kind of clothes is appropriate for a business casual dress code?

Business casual is the most common dress code that companies prescribe. Acceptable clothing for this dress code includes slacks, khakis, loafers, denim, simple jewelry and more casual but neat hair styling.

Can a company fire me for having tattoos?

If a company's dress code policy states that all employees need to cover visible tattoos, then you will need to comply with this rule. However, if your tattoo has religious significance, you may legally have the right to display your tattoo while at work.

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