What does “dress for your day” mean?

When the pandemic shutdown happened in March 2020 and so many offices transitioned into 100% work from home, dress codes were not really on the radar. As long as it was “Zoom appropriate” on camera, no one seemed to care. As many of us have transitioned back into the office for more (if not all) of our work schedules, a different dress code has become more prominent: Dress for Your Day.

What does Dress for Your Day mean? I looked at guidelines from several different organizations to come to a consensus of Dos and Don’ts.

You may notice that the following Do’s and Do Not’s are very similar to the Business Casual or Friday guidelines.

Dress Your Day Do’sDress Your Day Do Not’s
Jeans that do not have holes, fraying, and are
not distressed in any way. Darker jeans tend to be more professional.
Docker-style and Khaki pants are also appropriate.
Leggings must be worn with an appropriate
length dress or skirt.
Shorts, skorts, overalls, sweat pants, workout
clothes or jogging suits, yoga pants and
leggings worn as pants.
Collared button-down shirts, polo shirts, blouses, sweaters, turtlenecks, office
appropriate knit tops.
Hoodies, beachwear, sports jerseys and t-shirts, tank tops, strapless or spaghetti-strap
tops & dresses, shirts or tops that have text,
inappropriate insignias, illustrations,
advertising, or large logos.
Dress shoes, loafers, dressy sandals, dress boots, sneakers and clogs.Scuffed and worn shoes, slippers, Crocs, flip
flops, slides, or Birkenstock-type sandals.

So what determines “your day”? The most common variable tends to be who you will be meeting with. The Dress for your Day policy allows for employees’ discretion to select the appropriate dress for the business of each workday. If your day consists of working exclusively with your co-workers the more casual approach is fine. If you will be meeting clients, prospective clients, or making a presentation, the more traditional level of office attire is best.

The following text is a good consensus of what most organizations are telling employees:

  • If you have a big day, you might wear something a bit more formal like a dress or a suit.
  • If your day is more low-key, jeans and a nice polo or a sweater might be the answer.
  • And remember, company-branded clothing is always appropriate.

Dress for Your Day is all about appropriately showing individuality but never forgetting you represent your company.

Many companies are leaving what is appropriate to the “employee’s good judgment as to what represents the organization”. All clothing is expected to reflect professionalism. 

Bottom line: If you have questions: It is OK to ask!

By Troy Hopkins
Troy Hopkins Director, Undergraduate Career Counseling