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Hose or No Hose? What’s in Your Office Dress Code?

May 4, 2011

Maybe because it’s spring, and many people are anxious to put away their winter jackets in favor of cooler attire, but the office dress code has raised its ugly head in the news recently, including in this ABA piece, which discusses a UK firm policy banning stilettos and requesting that female employees brush their hair.

The concept of an office dress code is inherently gender based.  Men wear suits.  Or khakis and a polo on casual Friday.  There’s typically not an issue of a male associate showing too much skin, or wearing something too tight or short.  It’s not that simple for women.

I am no fashionista by any stretch of the imagination.  Yet, I once authored a firm’s dress code.  Not by choice, but because my managing partner asked me to.  It was no easy task.  There were a few items that were obviously taboo – midriff tops, flip flops, and shorts come to mind – but many things fell into a grey area.  The length of skirts.  The style of sandals.  What about skorts?  Pantyhose?  Do we have to wear pantyhose?  Thankfully, no.  But I have since been surprised to learn that in many non-legal office settings, hose are not optional – even in the summer.  And those cute open-toed sandals?  Nope.  Overall, I think law firms strive to maintain a professional setting, but most do not veto fashion or self-expression altogether.  But, I could be wrong.

Are there any surprises in your office dress code?

Post by: Stacy N. Lilly, Esq.

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