At my work we wear branded shirts as a mandatory requirement.

I’ve requested multiple times that I need a size up in shirts but my manager says that the size looks fine to her.

With this she has complained that I should tuck my shirt in and button up the top button but it is physically impossible with the size of shirt they have provided.

She often complains in front of customers and it makes me feel embarrassed yet I cannot get a larger shirt for whatever reason.

How can I make her understand that my shirts DO NOT fit and that I require a larger size?

EDIT: I am new to the company. Existing (older) staff have been a part of the company when they used to hand out more shirts so they have the correct sizes and more than 2. Now they don't order them even on request even though it says that, if your uniform does not fit, ask for a different size in the staff room.

EDIT: The company is not a large company, my boss is her own boss. We do not use emails either (although I can do, dont see the point as nothing to do with 'proof), do I just look for another job if this is the case?

  • Related question: Should an employer be required to provide well-fitting uniforms?
    – Nobody
    Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 9:10
  • @scaaahu yes this is quite similar thanks. However I know I can fit the size up I've tried one of my colleagues just to test. Its not so much the fit its just the fact its blatantly the wrong size for me
    – Twyxz
    Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 9:30
  • 2
    You accepted an answer, but you also commented that the answer didn't solve your problem. That seems odd. Commented Aug 11, 2018 at 1:46
  • 2
    I changed my question too many times and that was a perfectly structured answer for my original question and I have actually took most of it and solved the issue
    – Twyxz
    Commented Aug 11, 2018 at 5:11

4 Answers 4


It sounds like there's a small but plausible chance that your boss could try to discipline you for not wearing an appropriately sized shirt (which would be, of course, ridiculous). And the only way you'll plausibly get a larger shirt is by going over your boss and asking someone higher up the chain for an appropriate shirt. In both cases, there's one thing you absolutely need: Proof that you've been asking for a better shirt and that those requests have been denied.

I suggest you send your boss a polite, level-headed email explaining that your shirt is too small and that, in order to wear it tucked in and buttoned up, you need a larger shirt. From what you've described, your boss will likely tell you no. But you'll get something very valuable out of it: You'll have email proof that you've asked for a larger shirt!

In addition, keep a notebook and write down the date, time, and what was said every time you ask for a larger shirt and are told no. Also record the times your boss berates you in front of a customer for not wearing your shirt appropriately and why you weren't able to make changes in those situations because of your shirt size. I would also suggest writing down, to the best of your memory, incidents that have happened in the past.

By doing all of this, you'll have established a strong paper trail. If your boss does try to discipline you, you can now confidently reach out to HR to fight back against the discipline. The saying is that HR is not your friend, but if you can unambiguously demonstrate that you're being punished for something that is really your boss's fault, then that will give you a strong hand with HR.

In addition, once you have a long-enough paper trail, you can probably reach out to your boss's boss or to the corporate department that gives items like shirts to franchises. Whoever you talk to will probably not want to help you initially because ideally, it's an issue you'd have taken up with your boss. This is where your paper trail comes in handy: You can show it to them to prove that you have attempted to work with your boss, but your boss has knowingly denied your requests multiple times even while telling you to fix the problem without giving you a way to do so. This will show to the people you reach out to that you've tried to work it out with your boss and are only contacting them as a last resort.

(If you do decide to go above your boss's head, make sure it's really worth doing so! From what you've said, though, there's a good chance this is such a situation. Not because your shirt is too small to be comfortable, but because your boss is making a big deal out of it without giving you what you need to take care of the problem.)

  • This is good advice but i've updated my question a lot of these issues I cannot resolve with these methods
    – Twyxz
    Commented Aug 9, 2018 at 6:25

Branded shirts should not cost more than $50 for two.

If pressed again, I suggest demonstrating to her that you cannot button the top button and mention that you've tried your colleague's shirt on in the appropriate size and you can button it up as she wants. You can even go as far as saying you don't appreciate her comments about your appearance If she is not willing too provide you an appropriately sized shirt and ask her how soon she will be providing one so you can be dressed appropriately.

If that does not convince her, then you might offer to pay for shirts yourself if the job is one you really like.

However, I think publicly calling you out about not fitting into the size shirt she is providing you is highly unprofessional. She is either body shaming or is using this as an indirect (and inappropriate) way to vent about other issues she has with you as an employee. As you are new, she may be on the fence about keeping you so reluctant to spend the $50 for new shirts. Either way, if you don't get a rational response from a request for appropriate shirts, your time and energy may be best spent elsewhere.


Speak with your colleagues about how they cope with the two-shirt thing. For front-of-shop staff, this must be a regular problem that people face (unless everyone else gets seven shirts). They must be able to cope somehow without needing to wash them every single day.

It might be worth getting a larger bag and changing your entire outfit at work (shirt, shoes, etc.) so that you're not getting your work-wear dirty while commuting so that you can wear it more days in a row without needing a wash.

  • 1
    Shes complaining at the fact that I'm bringing my personal clothes to work not wearing them on the way to work
    – Twyxz
    Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 6:55
  • Personal shoes* - Shes not bothered that I wear my uniform in
    – Twyxz
    Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 8:15

She often complains in front of customers and it makes me feel embarrassed yet I cannot get a larger shirt for whatever reason.

This is clearly unprofessional, incompetent, and unacceptable management behavior.

If all else fails, why not do the same? When she complains and mocks you, respond by telling the customer that you totally agree that you need a shirt that fits, and that this complaint is really about the company's inability to provide you appropriate clothing.

Turn it back on the company, making sure the customer understands that you have communicated this request up the chain but the employer is unable to accommodate it.

If the manager tells you to stop, say you will when you receive a shirt that fits. Try to keep the tone calm and professional, but also firm so it is understood that you are making a point. You don't want to come across as hostile or provocative, but at the same time you want it to be understood that this is a challenge that you are attempting to resolve. So no need to make a scene, just be cool and composed as best you can.

Bottom line, you don't have to tolerate this, and you don't have to be a victim in this situation. If the manager has no problem making you look bad in front of the customer, and if it's not really your fault, then you have a right to 'set the record straight' and instead make the employer look bad in front of the customer.

Your manager will then have a choice to either resolve the issue to your satisfaction, or continue to get pushback from you that makes them and the company look incompetent.

I am not saying it won't get you fired (in which case you might have cause to sue for wrongful termination), but it will hopefully teach your manager a lesson and it will give you your dignity back. Good luck!

  • 6
    This is... a great way to one-up your manager, be completely in the right, and then immediately get chewed out, if not fired by said manager. Depending on how Unemployment makes a decision, it could even be 'for cause' due to insubordination, which would cost you your unemployment. Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 20:24
  • @Adonalsium Possibly. As I noted it can go either way. However, besides criticism, I hope you have concrete suggestions to the OP on how to address the situation. If so, would you please share? It is certainly easier to poke holes in others' ideas than offer constructive advice of your own. I am looking forward to reading yours.
    – A.S
    Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 22:52
  • 4
    While involving the customer would be way over the line, I don't see a problem with raising your request at that time. When your manager complains, in front of customers or otherwise, about your shirt not fitting properly, just respond with "I know it doesn't fit right - this is why I've asked you to get me a larger size." You can easily keep the tone light and friendly, while making it clear that it's your managers problem to solve.
    – timbstoke
    Commented Aug 9, 2018 at 7:52
  • 1
    @timbstoke Excellent point and agreed.
    – A.S
    Commented Aug 9, 2018 at 11:52

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