Blog Post #11: Suit or Sandals?

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Having a rigid, formal context in regards to dress-code and behavior in the workplace has both benefits and drawbacks. A formal approach to dress can create an environment of implied professionalism that encourages workers to stay on task. It also gives the impression that employees take their work seriously. A formal attire, it can be argued, is better than casual clothing in that it offers little to no distraction. A casual attire, on the other hand, can provide a relaxed and comfortable work situation where creativity is more likely to occur. Yet, this relaxed dress-code can also lend itself to relaxed attitudes towards the work itself, which could result in poor performance, tardiness, etc.


I do not think there is a “one size fits all” answer to this problem. In certain job situations, a formal attire is obviously the better choice. You would not want a Doctor, for example, to perform surgery in a Hawaiian t-shirt and sandals. The dress code should reflect the seriousness of the job being performed. Dressing in a suit implies a level of seriousness towards the work being done. It also presents an image of professionalism to the public. Therefore, in certain jobs like programming or software design, it makes little sense to have to wear a suit and tie to work, especially if these employees have no physical contact with clients. Employees in fields such as this would most likely benefit from a more relaxed dress code as it would be conducive to creative work output.


Much like everything else we have discussed throughout this course, the decision should be heavily informed by the audience in their work situation. Will the employee be in view of customers or clients? If so, it would probably be better to have some sort of standardized dress-code. If the job being performed mainly creative in nature? If so, it would most likely be beneficial to allow a relaxed and informal dress-code.

3 thoughts on “Blog Post #11: Suit or Sandals?”

  1. Unfortunately, we live in a world where physical appearance matters and can affect our careers. They way we dress can determine whether or not we get hired, but it also affects the way our coworkers perceive us. When somebody dresses nicely and cares about their appearance, we usually have a better impression of them. However, when somebody looks ‘grungy’ we often think of them as lazy. I wish that appearances were not important and that the “dress code” could be abolished, but I don’t see it happening any time soon. However, style does change pretty radically each decade, so maybe there is hope after all.

  2. I agree about the different atmospheres dictating what you wear. For example, when you’re a lawyer or businessman, you won’t wear jeans and a t-shirt. However, that’s what Fridays are for. Most workplaces offer a relaxed dress code at least once a week. Some businesses are always in the public eye, so they don’t do that, but the concept still stays.
    The first thing people notice about someone is their outward appearance, so one should always be aware of how they present themselves. I mean, you wouldn’t want to walk in and see your doctor dressed in a peasant dress with hippie beads, unless of course she’s big on homeopathic medicine 😉

  3. You offer a interesting take on this particular subject. I agree with you that there does not exist a “one size fits all;” however, allow me to propose an alternative perspective. All too often, when thinking about appropriate dress for given situations we think about the profession and not the individual. I propose that the appropriate dress should be based off of an individuals wants not the profession. For example, I once did a internship at a federal courthouse in Alabama, and there existed a judge who was quite eccentric. When the average person thinks of a judge, they think of a conservative blue suit, shined shoes, and red tie. He would wear jeans under his rob all the time, and when you went back into his chambers, the room was decorated with toy dinosaurs and bobble heads. The reality is the all different types of professions have different personalities within them, and we should not judge what they should wear based on a select few. I realize my last assertions is unrealistic in todays society, but hey… a guy can hope can’t he?

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