Author Topic: Dress code at new job  (Read 1373 times)

dragonwalker

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Dress code at new job
« on: November 01, 2018, 12:12:15 AM »
I started a new job a few weeks ago. It's a back office position at a large local credit union.

I'm really happy to be there and want to continue making good impressions but I'm a bit conflicted by the dress code. I came from a very traditional banking background at a branch where it was suit and tie everyday. The dress attire of my colleagues at work now seem to be very different and I'm a bit unsure what to do. I read over the official policy very carefully and it clearly says that employees in our position should be wearing business casual specifically with slacks and appropiate shoes.

What I see strays very far from that. Almost all of the guys wear some kind of casual jean, more or less casual shirt and sometimes t-shirt with sweater over it, not tucked, no belt etc. The women basically wear the same level of attire. For the moment I've continued to wear my dress slacks, dress shirt, tucked with belt and oxfords, no tie, and gel in my hair. It's what I'm use to and technically requested. Ironically, the problem is I'm beginning to feel out of place seeing that I'm much more formally dressed and a few of my co workers have made some passing remarks about me not needing to "dress up." My supervisor dresses a little bit better but still more toward casual. Our department manager dresses more on the business casual side.

I'm just not sure if it's more important to adhere to the official policy or to dress down to "fit in." Frankly I like being a bit more dressed up because I think it contributes to the work attitude. It's a little different getting use to everyone's really laid back attitude. I think I am still fitting in otherwise as I am finding some ways to connect to people in my department and also with some former co workers at my old job who are working with me now. What do you all think I should do?   


 

BDWW

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Re: Dress code at new job
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2018, 02:52:23 AM »

Dave1442397

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Re: Dress code at new job
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2018, 05:49:41 AM »
Personally, if I'm looking to move up, I dress up.

I started my current job as a contractor back in 2010, and I wore suits to work. I had people thinking I was a new department manager or something :) After they offered me a full-time position I toned it down a bit.

Since then, the whole company has gone way more casual. Now, we're not even officially business casual any more. I think guys are supposed to wear a collared shirt, but jeans and sneakers are acceptable. I'm in a technical role and not looking to move to management, so I dress the same as everyone else.

chasesfish

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Re: Dress code at new job
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2018, 06:29:08 AM »
I'm in bank leadership and work for an institution living in the "still too conservative" side of the dress code.  My opinion is clients don't care about the tie.

However, business casual to me in banking means slacks, sport coat, button up shirt, no tie, and good dress shoes/belt.  What specifically is your position in the credit union branch?  Are you a unionized employee?


GuitarStv

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Re: Dress code at new job
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2018, 07:43:25 AM »
Overdressing can make you seem weird and like you don't fit in.  Underdressing can result in reprimands.  Both will result in subtle (sometimes not so subtle) drag on your ability to advance your career.

My approach has always been to check what my direct manager wears (and what his peers wear) . . . and copy 'em.  That'll put you right in the middle of the sweet spot.

norabird

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Re: Dress code at new job
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2018, 07:46:33 AM »
I agree about looking to what the managers wear. Maybe you can lose the belt, wear 'formal jeans' with your button down every so often (every Friday is safe for instance), wear a sweater over a collared shirt or wear a polo, etc.. Those little things will help loosen up your coworkers.

I generally don't like gelled hair so maybe use less/none of that too? I do like bank employees to not be overly casual, but my own work place is very easy going, so in the normal range of being dressed well (button downs not necessary, but not like flip flops either) I feel comfortable.

Kris

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Re: Dress code at new job
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2018, 07:50:17 AM »
Credit unions in general tend to be a lot more casual/less conservative/less corporate than banks. As do their customers.

I have an account at a credit union, and one at Wells Fargo (which I will be ridding myself of within a month since I'm about to pay off my mortgage). I love my credit union because it feels like the people are human beings and not bank bots. I suspect that many other CU customers feel the same way.

I'd embrace that culture if I were you. Not only because as others have said, sticking out as too formal probably won't do a lot to endear you to your colleagues, but also because a more "human" approach is likely to be more appreciated by the people who have chosen to bank there over another kind of bank. 

DS

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Re: Dress code at new job
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2018, 08:13:07 AM »
When I started in Big 4 Accounting, I was wearing actual business casual and a tie daily. Only took about two weeks of being asked why I'm dressed up to tone it down. Now I wear jeans and polos (which is acceptable in the policy). Worth it to not have these comments daily.

Mississippi Mudstache

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Re: Dress code at new job
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2018, 08:19:46 AM »
Overdressing can make you seem weird and like you don't fit in.  Underdressing can result in reprimands.  Both will result in subtle (sometimes not so subtle) drag on your ability to advance your career.

My approach has always been to check what my direct manager wears (and what his peers wear) . . . and copy 'em.  That'll put you right in the middle of the sweet spot.

I can't give any better advice than this. Do your best to conform to the culture of your organization. Overdressing won't get you anywhere. Khakis and a collared shirt meet the business casual standard and won't look out of place even if your co-workers are wearing jeans and t-shirts, but pressed slacks and a tie will make you stick out like a sore thumb.

J Boogie

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Re: Dress code at new job
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2018, 08:36:35 AM »
I'd continue your same standard of polish and neatness but with materials that fit in better IE chinos instead of wool slacks and the kind of casual dress shirts that wouldn't be worn with a suit. Maybe some chukkas and a wider more rugged leather belt rather than a shiny belt.

Think J Crew mannequin :)




I'm a red panda

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Re: Dress code at new job
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2018, 08:55:03 AM »
Talk to your supervisor, ask what the expectation is.

I agree, being too dressy makes you not fit in, like you don't understand the culture of your workplace. That can put you just out of odds for promotions as being too underdressed.

Maybe go to khaki's and polos if you aren't ready for jeans yet.

elliha

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Re: Dress code at new job
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2018, 09:10:14 AM »
I think that if what you are wearing is in line with the policy and you feel comfortable like that I think you should dress that way. On occasion perhaps wear something slightly less formal just to mark that you do not disapprove of what the others wear and if someone asks about your clothes you can just say that you are used to dressing really formal in your previous job and this is what you feel you are more comfortable with and at least I would accept that explanation and move on.

My work place doesn't really have a policy and people range from dressing in chinos and shirts and a sweater to sweat pants and a t-shirt and we just accept that and keep working. On occasion when we have had visits from "important people" the sweat pants wearers have been told to put on jeans at least but usually we are wearing whatever we are comfortable with.

Schaefer Light

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Re: Dress code at new job
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2018, 10:27:46 AM »
I'm the only one in my office who doesn't wear jeans on a regular basis.  I wear khakis/chinos because jeans aren't good for golf.  I basically dress for work like I'm going to play a round of golf.

FIFoFum

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Re: Dress code at new job
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2018, 10:34:26 AM »
Credit unions in general tend to be a lot more casual/less conservative/less corporate than banks. As do their customers.

I have an account at a credit union, and one at Wells Fargo (which I will be ridding myself of within a month since I'm about to pay off my mortgage). I love my credit union because it feels like the people are human beings and not bank bots. I suspect that many other CU customers feel the same way.

I'd embrace that culture if I were you. Not only because as others have said, sticking out as too formal probably won't do a lot to endear you to your colleagues, but also because a more "human" approach is likely to be more appreciated by the people who have chosen to bank there over another kind of bank.

+1.

If the image presented to CU clients is to make them feel comfortable and relaxed as opposed to using a stuffy bank, then "overdressing" is actually harmful to doing your job.

Your attitude that dressing up more is better and signs of a better (less casual) work ethic is a spillover from your time at the banks & it's that attitude that is more likely to cause you problems than what you actually wear.

If you embrace MMM lines of thinking, this is a good place to examine critically why you associate doing good work with clothing or the level of casualness. Why would dress shirts and pants (which typically cost more money to take care of properly) make you "better" at your job than jeans and sweaters?

One good reason that you may want to wear the clothes you have is that you already have them! If you don't have a wardrobe to wear what is middle of the road business casual, then mix and match what you do have in a way that makes things a little more casual (dress shirt + nice fitted jeans; slacks with sweater & casual shoes).

So long as you aren't wildly overdressing and don't seem to have a snooty attitude, the comments will likely stop coming. People will figure out that it's your style and not care anymore. 

Car Jack

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Re: Dress code at new job
« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2018, 01:18:01 PM »
If you feel awkward dressing down at work, never get into engineering.  We had to tell one of the guys in my group specifically to wear pants when someone was coming in to give us a presentation.  Yah, he'd otherwise be in his boxers.

GuitarStv

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Re: Dress code at new job
« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2018, 02:03:57 PM »
If you feel awkward dressing down at work, never get into engineering.  We had to tell one of the guys in my group specifically to wear pants when someone was coming in to give us a presentation.  Yah, he'd otherwise be in his boxers.

If all the lawsuity bits were covered up, why are pants necessary?  :P

DeepEllumStache

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Re: Dress code at new job
« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2018, 02:06:03 PM »
The company culture may be more casual in that location or have de-escalated after the dress code was written.

When I came to our corporate hq 7 years ago, everyone was in business formal/conservative business attire. A few years ago, the culture de-escalated and jeans became acceptable. Now the only time people wear suits would be for interviews or presenting to specific officers. But we had a different location that aggressively wore jeans from the beginning and would punish anyone who didnít fit the subculture (even on an interview).

Iíd recommend mimicking the manager but asking if there are times where you are expected to dress up. Being overdressed is a subtle indicator that you donít fit in and can be held against you if not done carefully. It can be seen as snobby unless you are extremely outgoing and friendly to everyone.

BlueHouse

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Re: Dress code at new job
« Reply #17 on: November 02, 2018, 05:46:00 PM »
Curious:  Is hair gel a formal look?  I thought it was just a personal preference. 

GuitarStv

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Re: Dress code at new job
« Reply #18 on: November 02, 2018, 05:55:47 PM »
Curious:  Is hair gel a formal look?  I thought it was just a personal preference.

There's such a thing as a professional haircut.  Gel might be part of that or not.  A three foot mohawk uses a lot of gel but probably wouldn't qualify as formal.  :P

accolay

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Re: Dress code at new job
« Reply #19 on: November 03, 2018, 12:21:49 PM »
The office world is so... weird. Sounds kinda like Lord of the Flies.

I just bought two new pairs of scrubs because a couple old pairs were getting threadbare. Work shoes replaced about every 6-12 months.

Villanelle

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Re: Dress code at new job
« Reply #20 on: November 04, 2018, 11:36:40 PM »
Where are you located?  "Business casual" means very different things on the different coast.  In CA, a polo and chinos or khakis would be pretty standard.  No button down required, and probably rarely seen. 

I'm also not sure what hair gel has to do with it.  There are plenty of professional-ish hair cuts that include no gel, and really even no product.  And plenty of styles that are more extreme and therefore less professional that use lots of gel.

If you feel awkward dressing down at work, never get into engineering.  We had to tell one of the guys in my group specifically to wear pants when someone was coming in to give us a presentation.  Yah, he'd otherwise be in his boxers.

Did he drive or ride to work in pants, then take them off upon arrival?  Or commute pantsless and walk in from the parking lot that way?  I'm weirdly fascinated by the logistics of working pantsless.   Not so much once one is at one's desk, but the rest of the time.  Arrival, departure, lunch breaks.   

Telecaster

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Re: Dress code at new job
« Reply #21 on: November 04, 2018, 11:39:49 PM »
Dress the same way as the boss.

SnackDog

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Re: Dress code at new job
« Reply #22 on: November 05, 2018, 05:34:58 AM »
You have to figure this out for yourself.  A mix of outfits seems appropriate.  More formal early in week and a bit looser toward Friday would probably work. You could keep up appearances with the boss but fit in with the rest of the hapless drones in jeans at the same time.  I worked with a guy a few years ago who like to wear a necktie every day even though almost nobody else did. We gradually wore him down to three days a week, then one, then none.  I also had a supervisor who wore a $2000 suit, tie and cuff links five days a week; Crisco (not gel) in the hair. We hated him (for lots of reasons).

DS

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Re: Dress code at new job
« Reply #23 on: November 05, 2018, 07:44:19 AM »
Curious:  Is hair gel a formal look?  I thought it was just a personal preference.

Growing mine out currently and didn't "have" to use when it was short, but now it's a little longer so it looks inappropriate without some sort of styling. A few more inches and it will hang better though and may not have to use it. I hope this was a fascinating anecdote. :P

ETA: Also I use pomade, not gel which looks more natural / less shiny

MilesTeg

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Re: Dress code at new job
« Reply #24 on: November 05, 2018, 11:52:34 AM »
Question: If hair gel is business casual, what about us folically challenged folks? Shine and buff required?

More seriously: look at your supervisor: dress like him/her.

ElleFiji

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Re: Dress code at new job
« Reply #25 on: November 05, 2018, 12:27:34 PM »
While you're figuring it out, I'd also casually comment to coworkers about how much you appreciate how much more relaxed it is than old job, and that you are glad not to wear a full suit every day. Maybe mention how you are going to hit up black Friday for some more comfy stuff/that you hate clothing shopping otherwise you'd be all over the jeans/ because of old job you only have fancy stuff plus total slob.

It buys you time to figure out how to cycle existing pieces with new pieces to dress at the level of your bosses