Does your employees knowwhat 'Business Casual'really is-Is Your Dress Code Policy Really That…’Code?

You just hire on a new employee and you tell them the dress code policy is ‘Business Casual’.  But is your dress code policy really that…’code’.  Do your employees really clearly understand what ‘Business Casual’ dress code is?  Does your employee handbook plainly explain what Is or Is Not appropriate?

According to an article (What exactly is business casual? A do’s and don’ts dress code policy) from, if you’re telling new hires that your dress policy is “business casual,” you can bet they’ll do three things before they show up for work the next day. 

They are:

  • Google “business casual”
  • Then, after reading too much confusing and contradictory advice online, they’ll call a friend to ask “Hey Mike, what the heck is business casual?”, and
  • Overdress for their first day of work (and for a few days thereafter until they pick up on what your version of business casual really is).

Include Your Dress Code Policy In The Employee Handbook

Your dress code policy should be included in the employee handbook and distributed to all employees upon commencement of employment. Employees should be required to acknowledge in writing that they have received and understand the dress code policy. This will ensure that they comply with the policy and that no employees claim that they did not understand what was included in the policy.

Here is a good example and the do’s an don’ts under J.P. Morgan Chase’s dress code.

What’s OK:

  • Formal business attire
  • Casual pants, capri pants, dresses and long skirts
  • Business-appropriate casual shirts, polo shirts, sweaters and blouses
  • Dress shoes and dress sandals
  • Minimal, tasteful jewelry and fragrances

What’s not:

  • Denim and sneakers — unless approved by your manager
  • Athletic clothing — i.e. sweatpants, sweatshirts, T-shirts, jumpsuits, tight-fitting stretch pants and leggings
  • Shorts, beachwear, halter tops, tank tops or crop tops
  • Flip-flops, clogs, floaters, rubber-soled sandals or slippers
  • Hats and hoods
  • Distracting, tight, revealing, loose or low-cut clothing
  • Visible undergarments
  • Torn or frayed clothes
  • Offensive, political or religious messages
  • Offensive or distracting tattoos or body piercings
  • Unprofessional hair styles or hair colors
  • Excessive jewelry or use of fragrances

A policy like this leaves little doubt in a person’s mind about what “business casual” means.

Make Your Dress Code Policy Visible

Beyond the copy that is provided to all employees, employers should also post the Dress Code Policy in visible locations so that all employees are continuously reminded of what is, and is not, appropriate to wear.

If you have any questions about the information in this blog article, your current Dress Code Policy or need assistance with creating Policies & Procedures for your organization, feel free to contact us at 713-999-1205.


Nicole Bellow, Sr. HR Consultant

Smarter HR Solutions, LLC



Article source: (What exactly is business casual? A do’s and don’ts dress code policy) from