A Word on Work Attire

Personal Protective Gear

Suit, tie, collars, suit jackets and modest skirt -in some ways, yesterday’s business attire was much like a uniform, though it allowed for some variation.

Nevertheless, comfort was never part of the equation. Appearing in professional attire was a distinguishing mark of the professional or administrative office employee from senior executive to front desk receptionist. The stated and unstated rules of dress, whatever they happened to be, were often strict.

Dress codes have become more relaxed for office cultures that have traditionally required more formal or precise dress. For businesses contemplating amended dress policies, there are some observations to consider.


Most of the employees in any given office want it. They want to take the train into the city and bustle about the office in clothing that allows for individuality. Many top tier company managers aren’t ready to embrace this burgeoning trend however. They want their employees to exude an air of professionalism and may not be ready to ditch the suits.


Most likely, the suits aren’t going anywhere – at least they aren’t completely going away to the suit-maker’s relief. That said, some companies are requiring employees to wear them for meetings, conferences, or when important figures are scheduled to appear at the office.

In this economic climate of decreasing salaries, non-existent raises, and reductions to benefits, a perk many employers can still offer with no cost to themselves is a relaxed dress code. If businesses can’t increase their stellar employees’ pay, they can make their time at work more enjoyable.

A popular way to make people like their job better is to let them wear what they want or, at least, let them wear more comfortable attire.


Some things should never change. Such as in working environments such as a plant floor or food preparation facility. Dress codes must be much more stringent to keep employees safe and meet federal regulations and safety standards.

Here are some “best practices” for most manufacturing environments, although each industry has its own peculiarities.

  • No street clothing would be allowed unless protective outer garments are worn
  • While preparing food, employees can’t wear jewelry on their arms and hand (this doesn’t apply to jewelry on hands that are covered and protected)
  • Still within the food industry: head covers for all hair, including beard has to be provided
  • Visitors or untrained personnel shouldn’t be taken into production and QC areas. If it’s unavoidable, they should be prescribed protective clothing and closely supervised

Good manufacturing practices dictate that appropriate clothing or protective uniforms be provided by the company as needed.

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