Thursday, June 21, 2018

How to Develop a Professional Brand Dress Policy

Qantas hit the news when it refused entry of a visiting English pop icon to its business lounge in Melbourne. The reason the singer was refused admission because she was wearing Ugg boots. Another time they did not allow Australian singer, Kate Ceberano into their business lounge because she didn’t adhere to the dress code rules.

And as I head off to Sydney next week to run brand and professional image workshops for a client in the club industry, I am reminded of the importance of having a clear dress code policy.

According to the smart casual dress guidelines of Qantas Clubs and Business Lounges, the wearing of thongs, gym wear, beach wear, boardshorts, sleep wear including Ugg boots and slippers, revealing, unclean and torn clothing are not permitted.

The introduction of the dress code was no doubt because the airline didn’t want people in their lounges to look like they were in their own lounge room at home or at the beach or local pub.

Likewise in the club industry, they want their employees to be presenting a smart, professional image as they are ambassadors for the club and reflective of the brand to the visiting customers.

One of the blog comments to the Qantas news item said that not wearing thongs should be common sense. True but in my experience as a personal brand and image consultant, common sense is not always common practise.

I am often asked to advise on corporate image and wardrobe for professionals. On one occasion I was given a brief by a very large financial services organisation. They wanted to address the problem of “too casual” saying that skimpy shoe-string strap tops and wearing thongs to work were quite normal. How could they fix that?

I’ve also been asked the question of the appropriateness of wearing Ugg boots to work. Really? Bond movie actor Monica Bellucci apparently refused the offer of Ugg boots to wear in her film trailer preferring to wear sky high Louboutin heels.

Both Bellucci and Qantas have a brand image and one way to demonstrate and maintain that is through visual appearance. So too with your own personal brand or business brand. In your role if you want to be seen as a leader you need to look like one. 

Your clothes, appearance and grooming really are the external image of your brand. What brand image are you projecting and do you have a definitive dress code policy for employees?

How do people know what is expected if you don’t tell them?  And if you’re an employee it is your job to ask what the dress code is and observe how the senior management or leaders in the organisation dress.

Your dress policy should be written out and given to all employees when they sign up for their new role. It should clearly state:

  • The overall brand image of the organisation
  • Guidelines to business dress and appropriate office wear
  • Guidelines to the wearing of uniforms if appropriate
  • Client meeting and networking expectations
  • Guideline to casual Fridays, including policy on jeans if appropriate
  • Footwear guidelines
  • Jewellery and accessories including body piercing
  • General appearance including grooming
  • Safety wear if it is part of your industry or your clients

Remember if your outfit could speak – what would if say about you and your company? 

If you need any assistance with image training or dress code policy, please contact us.

Want to understand more about your “look”? Download my free video series, NOOK, LOOK, HOOK, 3 Steps to Build a Stand Out Personal Brand. 

Sue Currie is a speaker and the author of IMPRESSario, Present and Promote the Star Within You. She is recognised as a leading authority on personal branding to boost image, profile, brand and business. Through her professional development and profile building programs, workshops, consulting and keynote presentations, Sue helps businesses and entrepreneurs position and present an influential professional brand.

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