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I have a new daily game. It’s called ‘what to wear that won’t annoy HR’.

I have been on a steep learning curve since starting my new job. It’s not the work. The work is fine. It’s nothing I can’t handle. But the dress code. Now that’s a tough one to get my head around.

Agency life is one of smart-ish jeans and a top for most days, a dress or something nice for meetings. As was my last job. But my new job is a whole different story - there is a dress code. Yup. An actual, in print, talked through by HR, dress code. And as I have found out, it’s strictly enforced. I knew that I would have to start dressing like a worker rather than dressing like me, but I had hoped some of the clothes I had would still be suitable, unfortunately though it seems a whole new wardrobe will be in order.

So, let’s take a look at some of it and I’ll let you know where my problems lie;


Dresses and skirts should be kne e length or longer, and dresses must have a cap sleeve or a collar. I am fine with the cap sleeve/collar thing but the knee length. If you’ve met me before I don’t do knee length.
Shoes should match your outfit. How subjective is this? What if I think they match but someone else doesn’t. And say you’re wearing a dress, do you match them to your tights or your dress?
Tops need to have an appropriate neckline and be made from a suitable fabric that is not revealing. I am not about to wear tops with plunging necklines but again, what is appropriate to me might not be appropriate to you.

Knee length tailored shorts can be worn. Erm. Wtf? Who has knee length tailored shorts? I did try and get away with mid thigh shorts and someone dobbed me into HR so I’ll not be trying that again.

Hair should be a natural colour. I am not planning a hair colour change, but I got told even a bright red is out of the question.
Nail varnish needs to be a natural colour and not chipped. Nails must also be unbitten. A natural coloured nail varnish. What is the point? And I am the worst person at having none chipped nails. I can even chip a shellac, in my sleep.

No visible tattoos or piercings. The tongue stud is out. For good (it healed up) and my nose stud comes out daily. I am not looking forwards to covering my foot tat in the summer.

No leggings (or footless tights) or jersey material. Not even tshirts!
No blue denim. Any other colour is ok apparently though. 

There are also rules about strappy tops, party dresses (they are a no no), hoods and flip flops. 

Does your company have a dress code? And can anyone help me figure out how to dress for work, not get in trouble and not be a massive frump!

11 comments

  1. Oh my lord! I totally feel your pain. I used to work for the NHS, and as a tattooed, lip pierced individual I think they viewed me as the spawn of Satan! It's just such utter bullshit isn't it? I find it all quite backwards in 'todays modern society' :b

    I think your only solution is to have a good look through your wardrobe with rules in hand, and find some way of 'tagging' each item that is ok for work. Pull them out and get outfit arranging on your bed until you've managed to come up with a few combos that are acceptable.

    Poor you. Hopefully it will be easier once you get in the swing - just be careful not to lose your originality outside of work in the process! xx

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    1. I am not sure my wardrobe contains much that is suitable for this environment to be honest but thats a really good idea. I might give it a go this weekend, then section off half my wardrobe as boring and half as fun!

      Losing me is my biggest fear though.....x

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  2. Katie Bennett11/27/2012

    I was about to say even the NHS isn't that bad!!! Lots of the nurses have tattoos inc full sleeves, nose piercings, bright red hair!
    I'm very happy I get to wear scrubs every day!!

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    Replies
    1. If only we had an actual uniform.....And having seen your scrubs, you're lucky - they're a great colour! x

      Delete
  3. I see there are no hat restrictions at all: could you match your best Miss Moneypenny ensemble with something very wide-brimmed, piled high with artificial fruit?

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    1. This is pretty much the best thing I have heard in response to my dress code. Imagine what would happen if I turned up in a massive day-at-the-races style affair. You are a genius. x

      Delete
  4. This dress code is pretty typical for most desk/office jobs in the US.
    I have found the skirt/dress policy to be the most difficult by far. I don't care to wear frumpy dresses and all others go above the knee. H&M does however have some nice pencil skirts.

    I find the low cut top rule to be very dependant on the size of your boobs. I have small boobs so I can get away with a lot more than other girls. The "matching shoes" policy is a bit vague, because apparently in fashion "matching" is a very flexible term.

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    1. As soon as I get paid I am hitting up H&M, although I think I might be a bit fat for pencil skirts. But I think I might have to give them a go now.

      And yes, do I do matching shoes for fashion purposes or matching shoes that actually match? x

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  5. The shoe rule and your comment about it made me laugh.

    This sounds like a right ballache.

    You need a list and lots of things that mix and match together. Ha. She says as if she's not the worst panic shopper in the world.

    Talking in the third person is never a good sign so I'll leave it at that. Good luck!!

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  6. This is really crazy. I can't get my head around the matching shoe thing.

    I'll be moving into a much more corporate worklife than I've been used to - I've worked for a charity and basically a call centre job so it's all very relaxed. But I've been told (by my sister who is also annoyingly the head of HR) that my tongue piercing is going to have to come out and my foot tattoos will have to be covered up.

    It's ridonkulous really. But I think we've got a while to go until the corporate world catches up with everyone else and comes to accept things like visible tattoos.

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  7. Christ that sounds awful!!! I think when it gets to a point where it's gender specific then surely you shouldn't be allowed to dictate what someone does or does not where?! For example in my company, when at meetings, women are expected to be in heels...a rule which just brings out the screaming feminist in me! And saying whether or not you can dye your hair or bite your nails?! Seriously over strict, I don't think I could work there, am too much of a stubborn mare!!! Amazingly whilst we've been told to wear heels and 'keep the colours to a minimum' in our business meeting attire, noone has said a word about my tongue stud...am counting myself lucky!!!

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Thanks for stopping by and reading my ramblings. I hope to see you again soon.