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

November 27, 2012 11 Comments

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

  • Unknown November 27, 2012 at 11:13 am

    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

    • Emma November 28, 2012 at 11:21 am

      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

  • Katie Bennett November 27, 2012 at 11:46 am

    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!!

    • Emma November 28, 2012 at 11:22 am

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

  • Mise November 27, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    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?

    • Emma November 28, 2012 at 11:23 am

      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

  • IAmMikki November 27, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    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.

    • Emma November 28, 2012 at 11:32 am

      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

  • Anna, Oh yes! I like that. November 29, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    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!!

  • The Girl December 1, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    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.

  • Anonymous February 8, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    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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