Workplace Dress Codes

You don’t find many fashion constraints in small, local companies, agencies or schools. However, in large, urban organizations, dress codes become more specific. For men, it’s suits. The higher the office the more tailored the fit, and the greater the cost. Suits convey that you are in it for the long haul – not subject to fashion whims. Straying too far from the norm can limit your opportunities.

Women have more options but face trickier expectations. The fashion industry puts constant pressure on women to be in vogue. Wearing last year’s trend is a risk. The real currency in organizations is power and power is often associated with masculinity. Dress too “girly” and you risk being seen as provocative. Dress in a more masculine way, and you risk being seen as pretending to be a man, which can get you marginalized from the women in your group.

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