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What is a dress code?

People starting their first job in large companies often come across the concept of a “dress code”. I will try to explain to you what it is, what characterizes classic and casual dress code, why it is so important and why more and more companies introduce it. What is a dress code.

Companies that think about building a uniform and professional image must take care not only of the knowledge and competences of their employees, but also of what they look like. This is especially true for positions that have direct contact with clients, contractors or partners. Appropriate clothing builds a professional image of the employee and thus the entire company, and as you know everyone wants to work with professionals. For this reason, the dress code is introduced not only by large corporations, but also by smaller companies that want to build a coherent image. Of course, even the best clothing will not replace competence and knowledge, but it will certainly help in many professional situations.

Dress code is an English term that has permanently entered our business language. According to the simplest definition, it is simply a set of rules and guidelines for dressing in a specific workplace and position. It is a kind of primer with basic rules for the external appearance of an employee. Dress code is something obvious in large corporations, because with employment reaching several thousand people, it would be difficult to control the image of employees without precisely described standards. In some companies, these are strictly defined elements (e.g. a navy blue suit and white shirt), and in others only loose tips (e.g. a dark suit and a light shirt).

The classic dress code for men is based on a dark suit (navy blue, graphite, gray) and a tie, a light shirt (usually white and blue) and classic shoes. However, more and more companies allow for less elegant outfits (the so-called business casual), and in this case the basic elements will be: an informal jacket, cotton or wool pants in a color different than the jacket, a shirt with a lower degree of elegance. Ladies have more room for maneuver.

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The dress code rules also apply to accessories, jewelry and make-up, and not everyone remembers them. Accessories and makeup should not be flashy, and jewelry should not be too visible. The less the better – this principle is perfect for these elements. Shoes are also important – they should be clean and tidy.

A characteristic feature of clothes close to the classic principles of the dress code is that they are simple, timeless and neutral (they do not distract from the person). They will work well in most professional situations that an employee of a large corporation encounters on a daily basis, but also companies and positions that require a professional image (lawyer, financial adviser, negotiator, etc.). A dark, classic suit combined with a light shirt is good for everyday work, business meetings and even dinners with contractors. This is one of the advantages of classic dress code – by following them, it is difficult to make a mistake and dress inappropriately for the situation

People who encounter the rules of corporate dress for the first time often criticize them. I encourage you to approach it a bit more broadly and not treat it only as a necessary evil. Few people know that the right outfit can significantly improve our relationships with our boss, colleagues and customers. Sloppy, poorly chosen outfit will not bring you success or promotion, for which you often work hard.

Finally, there are also elements that must be strictly excluded from a corporate outfit, even if you are not bound by classic and conservative dress rules. These are flip-flops and sandals, short-sleeved shirts, t-shirts, hoodies, fleece, sports jackets. I understand that in summer it is difficult to abandon comfort in favor of elegance, but you never know when you will have to talk to your supervisor or go to an important meeting with a client. The things mentioned above, leave yourself for free time, outside of work.