Stupid Dress Code Rules Employers Should Eliminate Immediately

young woman in colorful mini dress

Does your office have a ridiculous dress code? | Kaczmarek

You found the perfect job, and everything is falling into place. However, on your first day of work, you’re taken aback by some of the company’s dress code policies as you read through the employee handbook. What did you just get yourself into?

If your company has some questionable dress code rules, you’re not alone. However, if you think your co-workers don’t care how you look at work, you’re wrong. A survey found 56% of respondents said they judge their co-workers based on how they dress. Here are seven stupid dress code rules employers should eliminate immediately.

1. No sleeveless or short-sleeve tops

Some employers do not allow their employees to bare their arms. It could be 100 degrees outside, and you’re still expected to come to work completely covered. No skin allowed.

Summers can get quite unbearable. If you live in a city where taking a subway is necessary to get to work, it can be uncomfortable to wear a long-sleeve shirt on a train packed with other sweaty people. By the time you get to work, you’re so drenched you might as well turn around to go home and take another shower.

If you work in an office that has a policy like this, your best option is to wear a short-sleeve or sleeveless top when you travel to work. Then, put a jacket or sweater on once you get to the office.

Next: Another body part some employers don’t want exposed

2. No bare legs

woman in shorts

Bare legs are a no-no in some offices. |

Another body part some companies don’t want exposed is legs. Some employers won’t allow women to go pantyhose-free even during the summer months. There are still some bosses who think bare legs are unprofessional, so they make their female employees cover up. Financial services and health care are two industries that commonly have a pantyhose rule in place. The policy was recently reversed, but employees of Ohio-based Summa Health System, for example, used to be required to  wear hose or tights if they decided to wear a dress or skirt.

Next: Some employers might make you go home and take care of this

3. No beards

man with beard

Some employers are against beards. |

Facial hair seems to be a hot topic in some offices. If you decided to grow more hair on your face than some employers are comfortable with, you could be in big trouble. One Reddit user, who goes by the name dewhashish, said he worked for a Massachusetts supermarket that only allowed employees to have a mustache. If you came to work with a full beard — or even stubble — you would be told to shave or go home.

Next: A federal court said it’s OK to fire someone for breaking this rule

4. No braids, dreadlocks, or ‘natural’ hairstyles

woman with natural hair

At some companies, natural hairstyles are not accepted. |

Many people use their hairstyle as a tool of self-expression or a way to pay homage to their culture. This might come in the form of certain styles, such as twists, braids, or dreadlocks. However, not all employers see it this way. In some workplaces, you’ll be asked to wear simple hairstyles that don’t draw attention or that look “neat.” A federal court ruled that it’s perfectly fine for a company to fire an employee for having dreadlocks.

Next: This probably won’t affect you unless you work for a construction company.

5. No open-toe shoes

woman in high-heeled sandals

Are your toes longing to be free? | Miquel Benitez/Getty Images

Unless you work at a construction site, this rule won’t really affect your job performance. Having a few toes out (hopefully they are well-groomed toes) won’t hurt anyone. It might even improve performance if the weather has been particularly warm. If you work for a conservative company, your toes might never see the light of day. If your feet get really sweaty during the summer, you can always carry your open-toe shoes with you and wear them home.

Next: Sometimes more color isn’t better

6. No nail polish

Women's hands with a red manicure

What is life without nail polish? |

Are you obsessed with nail polish and can’t wait for your regular manicure? Unfortunately, some companies aren’t as excited about your manicured nails as you are. Nail polish can add a much-needed pop of color to just about any outfit. However, some employers are not big fans of colored nails. Unless you work with food or in a medical setting, nail polish shouldn’t be that big of a deal. Very long nails or neon colors are obviously not professional, but a tastefully colored nail at an appropriate length should be fine.

Next: Meet the drab trio

 7. No suit colors other than blue, black, and gray

man in black suit

Some companies aren’t flexible when it comes to color. |

If you work in the financial services industry, you’ll probably be limited when it comes to your choice of suit color. Blue, black, and gray are the colors of choice. Swiss bank UBS, for example, had a controversial dress code guide that encouraged workers to steer clear of colors that strayed outside of this drab trio. It even went one step further and suggested that workers only wear fleshed-colored underwear. Thankfully, the guide has been revised.

Next: Remember, you’re getting paid to obey these rules.

Surviving dumb dress code policies

woman with headache in office

Obey the rules. |

At the end of the day, your attitude counts. Even if you don’t agree with the company’s policy, remember you’re still getting paid for your time. Do your best to abide by the rules, and have a good attitude about it. If you don’t agree with the company’s rules, you always have the option to leave. Just make sure you have another job lined up before you call it quits. If you don’t, your new work uniform could be fuzzy slippers and pajamas.

Follow Sheiresa on Twitter @SheiresaNgo.

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