Today’s Morning Buzz is brought to you by Jennifer Casey, the Public Information Officer for the Town of Collierville, Tennessee. Connect with Jennifer on Twitter and LinkedIn.
What I’m reading: The Addiction Inoculation: Raising Healthy Kids in a Culture of Dependence by Jessica Lahey
What I’m watching: Couples Therapy
What I’m listening to: 87.7 Drake Hall Memphis Radio (It’s a new local station that is killin’ it! He has a podcast too.)
On a Sunday afternoon, I was treating my son to a special dinner after his last event as a Cub Scout. We were both in our uniforms (I volunteer as a pack leader) and standing outside the restaurant when a couple walked by and commented, “you look so nice”.
People enjoy seeing scouts in their uniforms. In the local government world, we have many departments who have a uniform: Police, Fire, Public Works, Animal Control, Maintenance, Code Compliance and likely more. In my organization, the uniform policy is strict, and that is not just for our public safety employees. When you are wearing our Town’s seal, you have high standards you are expected to follow regarding your behavior.
So, what about the rest of us who aren’t wearing required uniforms? I asked the question “How do you feel about business attire?” to my Twitter community, and heard some enlightening responses I’ll share throughout the article.
I’m a fan of straight forward uniforms / very limited options. Eliminating choice is often quite liberating for me these days.
— Matt Yager (@matt_ygr) April 20, 2021
There are dress code policies in place at every organization, but lately the entire world of business attire has grown much more casual. And if you aren’t physically in the business, is business attire even necessary?
This may be an unpopular opinion, but I say yes.
Dressing my best has a ripple effect. It makes me feel confident, those around me sense the confidence, and instantly I’ve gained respect from my audience. And even though I do not have a logo embroidered on my clothes (besides my golf tee, thanks Parks and Rec!) I am still representing my organization just like my uniformed colleagues.
We’ve gone to a “dress for your day” policy. If you have important meetings with individuals outside the organization, put something nice on. If you’ll be at your desk all day grinding away, jeans and County logo’d apparel is fine.
— Zach Navin (@ZachNavin) April 20, 2021
We often put extra effort into our clothing when it comes to a first impression, such as a job interview. If you walk into an interview looking your best, you make an instant impression about your worth. Personally, I feel like I am worth much more now than I did when I was hired. So, why not keep up the effort?
We can all agree that working from home has greatly contributed to a decline in dressing our best for our jobs – especially when we have the option to simply turn off our cameras during virtual meetings. For me, dressing well simply makes me feel better, which has a direct impact on my professional relationships and my work. For others, that simply may not be the case, especially depending on your role in your organization.
I’m sooo over the business suit in #localgov, particularly in the parks industry where we are often in the field. pic.twitter.com/hvEocpHzXe
— ReynoldsDoesGood (@ReynoldsDoGood) April 21, 2021
I found it particularly interesting how some of my Twitter colleagues found business attire policies can be non-inclusive and in many ways discouraging. Personally, I had only thought about this from a female perspective with the thought, “if a man can wear it, you better let me me wear it too!” I really appreciated the responses that made me think about how dress code policies in general likely need to be revisited and updated.
I think we need to widen our idea of business attire so it is not so cost, cultural, or commuter restrictive.
If I’m biking to work you better let me wear my sneaks.
— Laura Hardwicke (@localgovlaura) April 20, 2021
We all have some sort of dress code policy we have to abide by in our organization, and maybe it’s time for that policy to be amended. Ultimately, how we prefer to dress is a personal choice, and for me, I choose to look fabulous. Because… I am. 😉