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Office Wear
Wearing office suits portrays some level of seriousness on his job. Courtesy Photo

Cracking the Office Dress Code Dilemma

Last week, the Ugandan Ministry of Public Service issued a circular to all public office holders to “dress decently.” The dress code was issued in response to what the ministry says was the commonness of dressing in public service that does not portray a good image, good work etiquette and falls below acceptable standards of the community.
posted onJuly 10, 2017

By Justine Namara

Skirt or slacks, Tights or bare legs, Sandals or pumps, depending on the dress code your company enforces, you could be spot on or woefully off-base in your fashion choices.

Following the recent issued dress code guidelines for public servants, these are the questions you might find yourself asking each morning as you select work attire.

Every company has a particular acceptable dress code but at times it can be tricky when they only ask one to be decent without any specific description of what level of decency is officially smart. But like it or not, the way you dress in office can have an impact on your career.

Why Is Office Dress Code Important?

Dressing for success isn’t just about looking nice to those around you; how you dress can help or hinder the way people perceive you in the workplace. Presenting a polished, professional image at work gives your co-workers and clients a lasting first impression and instantly boosts your professional credibility.

These first impressions apply to your social media presence, too. It’s important that your email profile picture sends the right message to colleagues, clients and anyone else who might see it. Try to use a professional picture and keep the weekend attire for the weekend with your friends. 

Appropriate dressing is also a way of showing respect for the situation and the people in it.  If the way someone dresses affects the perception of your company's customers or business partners, it is important to maintain a standard of dress that creates a positive impression. No standard or casual dress standards may make employees comfortable, but the point of professionalism and etiquette is to make others comfortable.

Do You Want To Be Taken Seriously?

Office wear for Ladies
Decency at the work place contributes to a positive image of the company. Courtesy Photo

The old maxim goes, “dress for the job you aspire to, not the one you’ve got”. It’s not clear that this will strike a chord in the young, but it does remind us of the message behind clothing. What you wear speaks reams about the way you see yourself. 

According to Public Relations, people are judged by the way they dress and are evaluated by their appearance. It is important to look the ‘non verbal advantage by already looking the part.

Clothes make a strong visual statement in the professional world. Clothing has an effect on both the wearer and the observer. It has been proven that people are more likely to give money (charitable donations) or information to someone if that person is well dressed.

And if you ever watch actors in a play go through their first dress rehearsal, you’ll see firsthand the amazing transformation that becomes possible only when people dress for the part. Experiment with your appearance. Notice how people react to you when you wear certain colours or styles. Then, based on those reactions and your career goals, you can make an informed decision about how you want to “package” yourself.

"Casual Friday" Still in Style

Despite slightly conservative leanings when it comes to dress codes, the majority of employees still value one day a week when they can dress down.

"Casual Friday gives employees a chance to be a bit more relaxed and it is great for morale," said one woman. Another man agreed and said "It is nice to feel like we get a break from the normal day-to-day constraints."

However, some people said casual dress should not be allowed on Fridays when there are meetings with executives, or for customer-facing employees. Furthermore there is still a percentage of employers who say "Casual Friday" is actually bad for the office environment. They prefer this ‘casualness’ comes in for employees who work on Saturdays.  

Note that while individuals have a right to express themselves, so to do businesses, the way employees dress definitely sends intended or unintended messages to their specific markets.


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