Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Department Store Dress Code Battle-What to Wear, What Not to Wear? That is the Question!

Pardon me getting all Shakespeare on you but there has been a recent debate that the Orlando Employment Guide office has been keeping an eye on. Department superstore Macy’s is in the process of making all on-floor employees wear all black while on the clock. The chain has implemented this dress code for most of its stores nationwide and recent arguments have come from recently acquired Kaufmann's stores in the Widwest.


The union that represents workers at the former Kaufmann's flagship has filed a grievance to rescind the new dress code, which goes into effect Sept. 4 for about 17,600 workers at all 113 Macy's stores in the nine-state Midwest division, this according to post-gazette.com.(Read the full article here)


Macy’s reps are saying that this new policy will help customers identify employees and improve overall customer service. The employees are arguing that it takes away their personal style and will require them to buy additional merchandise that was unnecessary before the change.


Macy’s has said that it will not force its employees to buy their clothes, but will offer significant discounts to encourage them to buy from the chain.


Where this all comes around to our offices is the all too often and familiar debate over business casual. Where does one draw the line, or is there a line? Our job fairs, and most job fairs for that matter, require an attire of business casual, but what does this really mean?


With our Orlando Diversity Career Fair right around the corner, many job seekers are getting their resumes all polished up and looking great for the part. And while this is a great and super important aspect of landing that dream job, your first impression “live in person” might weigh just as much if not more!


Coming directly from the EmploymentGuide.com, we have this statement to go by: “As with a job interview, first impressions at a job fair are important. How you represent yourself sends an immediate message to employers about how serious you are in your job search. It isn't always necessary to wear a suit to a job fair - unless you are looking for a job that would require you to dress professionally at work. However, you should leave the jeans and t-shirts at home. "Business Casual" is usually the most appropriate at a job fair. Nice slacks and a collared shirt are appropriate for men and nice slacks or a skirt and a blouse for women. Make sure your clothes are clean and pressed. Avoid wearing excessive jewelry or clothing that is too short or revealing.”


Take it to another level and the Princeton University website had this to say: "Although appearance is important you want to make sure that you are remembered for your skills and not your clothing. It is important to dress smart and conservative. You want the interviewer to focus on you and not what you're wearing."


As you prepare for the job fair or for any interview in the upcoming days, weeks, etc be certain of one thing; first impressions count, both on paper and in person. Macy’s may have the right idea in unifying their employees with a dress code, and the employees might be right in that Macy’s is forcing an unnecessary change.


Either way, land the job first, perform on the job and then press any questions and concerns about their dress code. These codes were put into effect well before you started and were probably put there for good measure.


Till next time, happy job hunting from the Orlando Employment Guide Team!


-Greg Rollett

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