Is professional attire necessary for a work environment?

Addison Milne, Staff Writer

While progressing through our teenage years, many of us acquire (and lose) jobs while trying to make just enough to pay for gas–and maybe a Starbucks coffee if we’re lucky. However, the limited jobs that are offered for teenagers often have restrictions that deter us from wanting to work there. 

Imagine working for years to achieve your dream job, and once you get there, they don’t allow you to wear what you want. There is a set dress code, and no room for expression or creativity. This is the reality for most workplaces, and it needs to change.

The biggest limitation that I experience in the workspace is dress code. Many companies such as Target and Starbucks follow the business casual dress code. Business casual implies that employees wear a nice shirt, and most of the time slacks or khakis. Not only are these options extremely unflattering, but they also create unnecessary costs for employees.

An average pair of slacks that a person would wear in a retail job costs around $40. A basic T-shirt costs around $15, which brings the total to around $55 before you even start a job. Not only do these requirements completely defeat the point of earning money, they are also not inclusive for lower-income families. After going through a long interview process and then getting a job, the dress requirements can be deterring or detrimental for lower income households. Businesses that implement dress codes that require expensive clothes are non-inclusive for a large percentage of the population.

After spending time and money picking out some dress clothes, people are stuck with those outdated clothes and they have to wear them in public. The dress code has been present in society for over 50 years, and it’s beginning to become outdated. Many of us can agree that the style from 50 years ago is not the style now, and going to work is not the ideal fashion throwback. Businesses need to understand the advances in society and in the workplace, and allow their employees to wear what they want.

To combat these issues, businesses have a few options. One being getting rid of the dress code entirely, or loosening the dress code. Loosening the dress code implies that businesses allow for their employees to wear normal jeans and shirts. However, businesses can still implement restrictions such as no ripped jeans or revealing shirts. 

The other option that businesses have is they can get rid of the dress code entirely. By doing this, businesses will allow their employees more freedom to express themselves in the workplace, which is a major part of their life. People feel more comfortable in their own clothes rather than something that they are told they have to wear, which will allow for employees’ personalities to shine, and make work a good experience. 

Let’s face it, the dress code doesn’t benefit the employees, It is only implemented to make the company look good for its customers. If we can break the social norm of dressing up for work, employees will be happier, and jobs will be more enjoyable for employees and customers alike.