Ugh. Dress code Really?  Most people cringe at the thought of someone telling them what to wear, and yes I agree it can add more stress to that question of “what am I going to wear?”

But should the real world and real businesses – namely yours – have dress codes established and if so how do you decide what people should wear?

Dress codes have a bad reputation, but the reality is I love a good dress code and for me I think more places and business should have them -that’s just my opinion. Dress codes don’t have to be bad. Sometimes a dress code is exactly what a business needs to help establish a brand look. Many businesses use a dress code to attract their perfect clients or employees. Other times they provide direction for the not so stylish to follow. And often they simply provide a foundation as a list of do’s… not just don’ts. Whatever the reason, dress codes can actually offer a positive addition to various types of businesses. From fashion forward boutiques to trend setting furniture stores to baby focused shops to service focused businesses, dress codes offer direction on how employees & clients should represent the business in which they work for.

Sorelle's Cocktail Bar

Recent Night Out in Camberley

I recently visited Sorelle’s Cocktail Bar in Camberley –, one of the first things they did after taking my booking was tell me the dress code. For me dressing up for a night out is one of the best parts so I looked forward to telling my friends, but for some this can cause stress & confusion. However I did laugh to myself as the no jeans and trainers policy became void if they were balenciaga’s or gucci! Really? Did Sorelle’s justify this fancy dress code policy – absolutley! Decor worthy of any instgrammer’s feed, it had a very Gatsby-esque feel which is very different from the other restaurants and bars in Surrey. To me it felt like a little bit of London had arrived in Camberley, with a power couple at the helm hopefully this place will be around for a while and if you love good food, a lively atmosphere and great people watching then book yourself a table.

No longer confined to sporting activities, trainers have been given a whole new lease of life by social media stars, fashionistas and… well, just about everyone. Where once it would’ve been unheard of to wear trainers to work (unless you were a rock star or Steve Jobs) it has now become acceptable – the norm – for a pair of pumps or lace ups to be part of a smart casual outfit and yes it seems to an upmarket cocktail bar.

If dress codes are something you currently have in place, consider reviewing how your policies are set in place. Are employees told not what to do, or rather do you set the policies with a tone of yes’? Additionally, how do your employees/clients react to the dress code? There are sure to be whispers if things are not to their approval. But better yet – hopefully you have heard first hand their thoughts on your dress code policies.

If dress codes are something you do not have, consider how your business may be responded to differently if they were in place? One example of this may be if you believe the dress of some of your employees/clients does not represent your business brand very well. If their dress was better suited to your business, do you think customers would respond to this employee differently?

It’s important to always respect each person’s unique character, style preferences and budget. Asking employees to buy clothes specific for their work is not always ideal, nor is it always ideal to turn away customers for looking a certain way. Remember we can often be deceived by a persons appearance, and should not judge by appearances.

However sometimes a necessary evil (hopefully discounts can apply here). It’s important to also remember not everyone enjoys getting dressed the way you may, so a dress code could provide them with relief to the question mark of what to wear everyday. Whatever the reasons, simply remember to be fair and aware of what your policies – or lack of them – do for your business, your customer impressions and your overall brand identity.

So overall I’m a massive fan of a dress code and wish more businesses would have them, its all about making an effort and feeling good, after all if you look good you feel good! And after the 6 months we have all had we need a good reason to get out of the loungewear and get dressed up!

If you would like to implement a dress code for your business, or interested in building your company & staff personal brand then please get in touch. I offer bespoke 121 or group sessions to help businesses to create their perfect brand and image.

Right, Its Friday night and I’m off out so the question is what am I going to wear!

Natasha x