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Are there any studies on whether a dress code is beneficial to any/some companies, as opposed to just adopting "casual Fridays" all week long?

closed as not constructive by IDrinkandIKnowThings, ChrisF, Nicole, noob, Mark Booth Apr 16 '12 at 10:34

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  • Well... I can't find a study, but if you change up the question I may be able to answer ;-) – Dynamic Apr 15 '12 at 1:15
  • @Jae Well, you can answer and if nobody else comes up with a study, I can accept that answer;) – ThePiachu Apr 15 '12 at 2:08
  • Not quite an answer but somewhat related - WSJ article that mentions multiple studies in the dangerous of different types of garments: online.wsj.com/article/… – DKnight Apr 15 '12 at 3:15
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    This question is to broad and not constructive in its current form. Beneficial how, to whom, and for what purpose? – IDrinkandIKnowThings Apr 15 '12 at 5:12
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As chad said the term beneficial is fairly broad, however I'll take t to assume you mean beneficial in the sense your employees are happier and hence more productive and hence provide greater benefit to the company in regards to their output => money value.

I'm not aware of any studies (I'm sure there are some though) but it would be my opinion that different professions have the impression of requiring different levels of dress. For example if I saw a group of of lawyers in the office wearing shorts and shirts my first impressions might be one of un-professionalism. However if I saw a builder coming to work in their sunday best I might be a bit concerned.

Basically to some degree society has dictated our dress sense in the work place. However I've always worked best when I could wear what I felt comfortable at the time and felt like I had the support of the company to make the right decision if I had to dress more approprietly i.e. meeting a customer for an important business deal and they wear suits to work.

I've never really been a fan of dress down fridays. I've preferred a fairly loose dress standard all week with the emphasis put on the employee to ensure they dress appropietly. I guess there would be a certain standard but it would be flexible enough to cover those who enjoy wearing jeans to work over those who enjoy wearing dress pants and suit etc

In summary. I believe dress standards can have an effect on performance if people dress casual then they relate that into working casual. However it can also be determined on society expectations as well as the individual. Dressing casual (or smart) just might be one way to get the best out of the team and help develop the kind of work atmosphere your looking for.

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    by defining an "appropriate dress standard" you've effectively already created a dress code, albeit a possibly fairly loose one (though I've seen companies that had only such "appropriate dress standards" which effectively were dress codes as only 3 piece suits, white shirts, and dress shoes were considered "appropriate dress" despite this not being written down anywhere. IMO dress codes/standards are in general detrimental. If people are uncomfortable, they're unlikely to perform to the best of their capacities, and any such "standards" only exist to force people to dress in ways – jwenting Oct 11 '12 at 6:24
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    ctd... they feel uncomfortable in. – jwenting Oct 11 '12 at 6:25
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Well, casual Fridays all week would mean they aren't casual any more, right?

Most companies, depending on the type of services they provide, need some sort of dress code to appease customers.

In a suit and tie environment, casual Fridays may be casual but still implies some sort of dress code, e.g. no shorts and flip flops. It gives the folks a chance to relax a bit (especially for the women I think) but doesn't really significantly degrade the overall impression that a customer might get.

If all days were casual days, I think the variance between what is acceptable and what is not rapidly gets out of hand because there is no longer any "standard" and humans being what we are will gradually "down-dress" until management eventually gets pissed off and steps in anyway. Only difference is by that time, egos get bruised.

  • Just curious what you meant by "especially for the women I think." I work in a "suit and tie environment" with casual Fridays, and the women pretty much wear the same sorts of things all week. Fridays see the most difference in the men's dress when they can wear polos and khakis instead of suits and ties. – Kris Harper Apr 15 '12 at 12:47
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    Well, my wife normally wears a dress and spends an hour getting ready for work. Fridays its like jeans and a T-shirt and she's normally ready in 20 mins. I THINK a big part of the time savings is in the make up. – Permas Apr 15 '12 at 13:57
  • Wait, does your wife's work require her to wear makeup?? Is that even legal?? – weronika Apr 22 '12 at 4:49
  • She works in a law firm and it's customary to look the part. And no, it's probably not legal but there really isn't much you can do about it. – Permas Apr 22 '12 at 4:59
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    As Kris states, dress codes almost always apply only (or more strictly) to male employees. e.g. most places I've encountered them men had very strict requirements (suit, tie, dress shoes of polished leather, even colours dictated) while women were only told things like "skirts below the knee and no bare shoulders and belly buttons". Illegal? possibly. Actionable? Only if you care to lose your job over it (which in itself is probably illegal but try to keep your job for long once you've started legal action against your employer). – jwenting Oct 11 '12 at 6:29
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Well it depends on the following points -

  • which kind of business you are in
  • do your employees contact the customer face-to-face or not
  • What kind of corporate culture is in your company (such as more formal, less formal, average etc.)

There can be more points added to the above list. If you are in service industry and your employees meets the customer frequently such as in banking and finance industry, a strict dress-code is must (Can be relaxed a bit for operations and processing guys). Generally in IT industry dress codes are more relaxed(Not for Business development guys).
So until unless we have a subject industry, we can not say whether it's beneficial or not to have a dress-code in our company.

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