Shari Storm

You Are What You Wear

Shari Storm on August 27th, 2008 2 Comments

Ask any financial industry manager and they’ll confirm – dress codes are a managerial pain in the arse. Dress codes are hard to establish, hard to communicate, hard to enforce and hard to justify.

On the one hand, we want our members to feel like we are professionals who can be trusted with their money and appearance is one of the strongest shapers of first impressions. On the other hand, we want our employees to feel comfortable and have overwhelming job satisfaction and dress is a major component of both.

The problem with dress code is that it is so personally subjective. Just like the quote I found today. (above).

I remember the years we had a manager on the Dress Code Committee (yes, we have a committee dedicated to dress code). She hated, hated, hated, seeing toes. So open-toed shoes were outlawed. Have you tried finding fashionable, closed-toed women’s shoes in the past three years? We had another manager who hated shoulders and another who thought cropped slacks were the worst.

I happen to think my toes and shoulders are quite nice and like sleeveless dresses and shoes that show my toes. (just like the quote says – my private biases made public by the way I dress!).

However, I hated that look where a woman’s camisole showed below her shirt. At least, I hated the look until I started liking the look and now I wear it all time.

You’d think it would be enough to say that employees need to look professional for our members. But year after year, I continue to be amazed at what some people think looks professional – and I hate to admit it, the older I get, the more amazed I get.

It’s about that time again – the time every year when we re-examine our edicts on dress.

Members, what do you think? Think our branch staff presents the type of appearance that makes you feel comfortable when you walk into one of our branches? If not, what can we do differently?

Shari Storm

No biography available.

2 Responses

  1. Drew says:

    Very interesting topic and I must say one that has me on both sides of the fence. From an employer’s point of view, I’d like to know that my staff is representing our organization in the best light, from both the visual and emotional perspective.

    However, the employee in me feels a bit less connected when I am told what I can and cannot wear and that seeps into my outward attitude, regardless of how hard I try to not show it.

    As a consumer, I would expect my tellers to be courteous and well mannered. Dress is not a big deal to me in the day-to-day aspect of financial transactions. If I’m applying for a small business loan, increasing my line of credit by a substantial amount or doing something that requires extra time and attention, then yes, I’d like to see my “banker” look the part.

    So ambiguous is the dress code…

    Good luck with hat.

  2. shari storm says:

    Hey Drew! Thanks for stopping by. It was good to meet you last week at the Word of Mouth Marketing conference. I agree, dress code is just plain complicated!

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