As important as corporate gifts are, so is the image you portray in your dress style. Many companies are opting for a uniform again, putting aside the risk of allowing staff to dress as they see fit. Your brand and your image is vital to the growth and longevity of your business, and having your employees “think” that they know how to dress accordingly, could be opening up a real problem-waiting-to-happen.
While the word “uniform” does not sit well with many, including the management and owners of a corporate, it needn’t be the equivalent of an orange jumpsuit. Without having to send your staff to “what-not-to-wear” and offending pretty much everyone in your payroll, you can still get your image right and save face at the same time.
Why is Corporate Dress code Important?
Mind you, it needn’t be a replica of the sitcom Suits, although who wouldn’t want to look like that everyday, right? No, you, as the business owner, needs to decide what look you want your business to reflect, dress accordingly, and then educate your staff on this too.
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This sounds simple, but most times, what you deem to be smart casual and what someone else deems it to be, could be worlds apart.
What are the various Dress Codes?
Think about when you have been invited to a wedding, and the dreaded dress code says COCKTAIL (what does the man wear) or worse yet JACKET AND TIE (what does the lady wear?) or LOUNGE SUIT (what the …?!)
So, when you give your employees a similar instruction, you are most definitely going to get a myriad of interpretations. In this situation, you either take them shopping (their budget or yours – another dilemma), buy them a uniform; or give a very clear breakdown, such as BEIGE CHINOS OR PENCIL SKIRT, WHITE SHIRT, AND BLACK SHOES WITH BLACK BELT.
If you opt for giving them an instruction on a particular dress code, then here is how to explain it to them. These are the most used terms for business attire.
This is relatively informal attire, but not trainers and flip-flops.
For guys, even jeans or chinos will work, with a t-shirt, jacket and smart shoes.
For ladies, a dress with heels or smart pants with a nice top, jacket optional, and flat may work too.
Having said all that, I can still see the confusion in your eyes, and that of your staff’s. If you work at an SEO Agency the dress code will be super relaxed compared to a top consultancy firm.
This is a dangerous word, because most will go with jeans and trainers, some will even go with a tracksuit. Dangerous! Dangerous! Avoid this single word rather. Even casual Fridays can become an eyesore for all.
Pretty obvious? I think so. The men could wear a two or three-piece suit and a tie. The woman could get the power suits out and work it like a boss. Yes, simple. But, there are derivatives of this too. Open neck shirt with a suit that looks like it was bought from Mr. Price or worse a thrift store. An image always helps and a few options on where to buy their clothes from.
Why Uniforms and Corporate Branded Clothing just works well
So, in steps the real option, the option that means you don’t need to question what that pink, fluffy and laced ensemble means, or why he is wearing what looks like a swim suit to the board meeting.
No, simply introduce a uniform, and know that uniform doesn’t need to be as scary as it sounds.
Nowadays, from hotel staff to educational facilities, the uniform changes hugely. The options on the table are vast and can be downright trendy too.
It is important to remember that your employees represent not only your business but you, and you should be the first port of call when it comes to reflecting the business brand.
Branding does not mean you have to stick your logo onto each and every item of clothing. It could be as simple as a small icon on the left hand pocket of a smart shirt and jacket. It could be printed on the back of a golf shirt or jumper-style hoodie.
Branding just cinches in the professionalism of your business. A simple logo speaks volumes and tells the public that you are serious about your business.
Deciding on a few key items of clothing, without breaking the bank, can mean you have taken control of the employees you unleash onto the world.
Your combo could be something like this:
- A simple white shirt, cut for men and ladies respectively
- A black, smart pants and/or pencil skirt
- A black or beige jacket, again cut for each gender and of course, size
Another more casual look could be:
- Smart, dark blue jeans
- A white or particular colour golf shirt
- A trendy, tailored sport jacket
A few key factors to adhere to at all times are:
Be aware of the fit you choose, and ensure it can be adjusted for each and every body size and type. There is nothing worse than seeing someone a wee bit overweight squeezed into a figure hugging style dress or a skinny guy being swamped by a bomber-style jacket.
- Casual Friday Beware
Yes, it is nice to have this ritual, but, again, be clear on what Casual Friday entails. Most will see this as a free-for-all day, and it only takes one day, one potential client, and one oddly dressed staff member, to mess up one deal.
Much as with the modesty factor, ensures your staff are comfortable in their attire. They will be far more productive if they feel at ease in their clothes.
So, before you splash out on corporate gifts, take a look at your corporate image as your employees reflect it.
The clothes does maketh the man … or woman … so be sure to give it all a great deal of thought before just sticking a “uniform’ rule on your business.