Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

How to Set A Dress Code for Your Office

While no one wants to feel like they’re back in high school with a strict dress code that’s heavily enforced, if your employees are truly allowed to wear whatever they want, attire can quickly become distracting. In order to set ground rules without being overbearing, consider incorporating some of the following rules:

Women’s dresses and skirts

Ideally, skirts and dresses should be knee-length or longer, and should remain appropriate when the individual sits down too. Many skirts and dresses are acceptable when standing up, but ride up when the person sits down, becoming far too revealing and short. Longer dresses and skirts give a more professional look.

Shirts and blouses

Dress shirts, casual shirts, sweaters, polo shirts, and turtlenecks are all appropriate at work. Items that would be considered unacceptable for the workplace are those that show off midriff, feature cartoons or logos, or include slogans. Halter-tops, strapless tops, and spaghetti straps are also inappropriate. Offices tend to have differing policies on thicker strap tank tops. Some places view them as inappropriate, while others believe that they are acceptable, so long as bra straps aren’t showing.


Depending on your office environment, sneakers may or may not be appropriate. In more creative places, sneakers are fine. However, if your firm has a more formal feel then sneakers won’t be acceptable. Flip-flops are generally universally unacceptable, as are other casual shoes like Crocs or clogs.

You may also want to make specifications about head coverings, makeup, and perfume as you set your office’s dress code. Again, the rules will vary depending on how formal or relaxed your place of employment is. However, in general, you’ll want to encourage your staff members to use their best judgment. Regardless of the environment, a team member’s appearance shouldn’t detract from the productivity of that office. Remember that unprofessional attire can send a negative message to clients too, which is why dress code matters. This means no revealing clothing, distracting body piercings, heavy makeup, and other distasteful choices.

What type of dress code do you have in place at your office? Let us know in the comments!

Lauren Levine

Lauren Levine is a copywriter/blogger who contributes to a number of magazines and websites including The Frisky, USA Today, and others. She also authors her own blog called Life with Lauren. She loves cooking, anything on the E! network, and is trying to convince herself that running isn't so bad.