Dress Codes, Distractions and Olivia Newton-John

Nailing down collective support for appropriate business dress is like herding cats. What I see as an appropriate "wish I knew how to dress like that" outfit can be another's dress code violation.

When it comes to personal choices, we'll simply never all agree as human resource professionals, business professional or as individuals. That's the beauty of choice.

One thing we all can agree on is dress-as-a-distraction whether you are in a meeting, on stage presenting, or simply making your way across your company campus.

  • Ponytails may be cute on some women <myself excluded> but add in a headband - regardless of what the headbands is made of - and the combination would catch my attention in a business meeting surrounded by suits.
  • Combine the two with multi-hoop earrings? Not. When the hoops separate and one hoop flips up around your ear <because it will>, I'll just want to reach out and put it back into place.
  • Throw on a brightly colored shiny cape-like top and you'll have my attention for sure.

There is a time and place for everything, even headbands and ponytails, and I am offering these examples only to make a point:

If the first thing people notice is your clothes, you are missing opportunities for people to notice you.

Heading for work? Unless you are Olivia Newton-John or Jane Lynch on Glee, leave the ponytail, head band, hoop earrings <and leg warmers> at home.