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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

On fashion and the workplace

I’ve always been a bit fashion unconscious. I wore my acid-washed jean jacket with the Led Zeppelin pin for a few too many years.

So, when I saw the attachment on workplace attire as part of FEMA’s solicitation for an online learning system, I had to take a look.

This might be a common attachment, but I hadn't noticed it before. It begs the question – do adults really need to be told how to dress? Apparently so. Maybe we need a best and worst dressed list.

The document in question was put out as a directive in September 2012 and replaces a directive from February 2011. I guess fashion changes that quickly.

The document covers the definition of business attire, business casual attire, casual attire, and uniform attire.

On casual Fridays, it’s OK to wear “jeans/denim and athletic shoes or capris.” However, the capris are only for women and need to be mid-calf in length or longer.

The document also goes into grooming, and prohibits the wearing of sunglasses inside, unless prescribed by your doctor. You also need to cover tattoos, “if possible,” if you deal with the public.

Beards and other facial hair should be well-groomed, but they don’t define well-groomed. I guess my beard would pass.

“Body piercings and related adornments, except for limited earrings in the ear lobe, are to be covered by clothing or not worn by employees who have contact with the public,” the document states.

There is a subsection on inappropriate attire such as shorts, sweat pants, sheer clothing, and clothing that is “excessively revealing.” Halter tops and short skirts also are banned. Head covers are OK for religious purposes or to honor cultural tradition.

To be honest, I don’t disagree with anything in the document. It just struck me as funny that it all had to be spelled out.

I was relieved that my beloved jean jacket would probably be OK. At least on Fridays. Maybe it’s time to break that bad boy out again. I swear it's going to be in fashion again someday.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Jul 29, 2013 at 12:00 PM


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