Powered by ProofFactor - Social Proof Notifications

The Impact of Casual Dressing on Organizational Image: A Study

Apr 9, 2023 | 0 comments

blog banner

Apr 9, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments


Dressing for success indicate that they exist a strong relationship between dress and the workplace. Organizational culture and employees determine the dress policies for an organization. According to (Karl and Rust, 2006), companies that do not have a formal dress code, usually follow no particular rule where employees can dress within their personal means and preferences. This helps them feel more responsible, competent, and professional. The way a person speaks volumes about the individual’s perceptions and abilities. Mode of dressing is the first thing people notice when one enters a room without even uttering a word. Regardless of whom a person is the clothes they wear speak very loud.

People Also Read

On several occasions, the impact of casual dressing on employee behavior and image of the organization has been a debatable topic. Traditionally people at the work place are expecting to be strictly formal with their dressing. However, in the recent years, this has changed and the workplace dressing is more relaxed and informal. Research studies provide conflicting results to whether casual dress has a positive or negative impact on employees and organizational image (Kinderman and Sinha, 2010). Certain research advises that causal dressing create a positive energy in the work environment. Other researchers suggest that casual dress code has a negative impact on employees and the organizational image. It is important that an organization clearly evaluate both sides before settling on the dress code that will be beneficial to the employees as well as the organizational image. The main goal of this study is to understand the effect of casual dressing on the organizational image, long-term and short-term goals, organizational regulations on body piercing and tattoos. The study will also evaluate whether managers should be stick to formal dressing at all times to improve the organizational image. Lastly, the paper will evaluate whether the introduction of casual dressing can be strictly adhered to by employees.

Effects of Casual Dressing within the Work Environment and Organizational Image.

Businesspersons should be appropriately dressed as they interact with their colleagues and clients. Certain kind of dressing permits men to wear slacks and a shirt, at the same time requiring women to wear skirts and dresses. You cannot expect an artist to dress in the traditionally dark suit or an IT professional in a suit because of the nature of their work; they need to be constantly moving. This however varies from field to field, for instance an advertisement or fashion agency will allow its employees to dress casually expressing their artistic nature to clients. Company dress code can be either casual business or strictly official wear. Most of the time the Business casual dress code fails even when the company has strict written policies. There is a higher chance of being contradicted, being unfair, or lack of fashion sense (Hannan and Freeman, 1989). The mode of dressing for a company should not be disappointing to clients. Employees who constantly interact with clients must be formally dressed to reflect the commercial and professional nature of their work.

Casual dressing is usually less formal and includes attires such as sweatpants, sweatshirts shirts, and slacks. Generally when implementing a certain dress code it should not be a target to certain groups of people such as race, sex, and ethnicity. It is however possible to base dress code of employees on the business needs, safety and health concerns in the work environment. Companies that allow casual dressing have found it hard to implement the dress code policies because of the thin line that exist between casual and too casual. A lot of time will need to be spent in defining what constitutes casual work wear because of the many different styles of casual. For instance, certain employees may define casual as a t-shirt and flip-flops while other see it as shorts and vests. This could result indecent and unprofessional dressing that consequently affects the organizational images (Maynard, 2004).

There are certain occasions that require strict formal dressing. For instance, when attending an organization official congregation or meeting, the employees should be properly dressed in official attire to sell the company’s brand. Failure to dress appropriately can affect the negatively the professional activities of the company. One research on the impact of casual wear suggests that employees and companies that recommend official attire command respect, positive project management and have a higher chance of acquiring more clients. Further inter-personal social studies have indicated that the way employees dress can either increase or reduce social interactions at the workplace. For example mangers and company, CEO’S are expected to dress in formal attire to command respect and authority from both employees and customers. As explained by Rafaeli and Pratt organizational dress code can influence and create variety of organizational changes. In their research, they suggest that attire influences to the extent in which employees fulfill their responsibilities. In addition, they say that attire in an organization can help identity authority within the organization and at the same time influence the organizational image. The authors add that color, material, and style bear a meaning that must be transacted care-fully especially when deciding on the organizational dress code; bold colors represent power while dull colors represent weakness (Rafaeli & Pratt 1997).

The Effects of Standard Uniform at Work.

Introduction of casual dressing in an organization may become difficult to differentiate between organizational hierarchies. This can however be changed by having heads of department have a certain color or accessory to differentiate them from their juniors. Introduction of uniforms at the work place has often faced resistance from employees. Most of them take it as a sign of control from the organizational management. In certain professions such as that of the police and Nurses, uniforms play a vital role from identification purposes. Standard uniforms at the workplace influence the way a person is viewed both by colleagues and by the public. For nurses and police uniforms help promote public trust and confidence. However, introduction of standard uniforms at the work place should be done in phases (Colbert, 2014). This will help influence the employees to embrace the uniforms and not see it as a form of control. Since uniforms serve the primary goal of identification it would be, appropriate to introduce identification badges for all employees instead of uniforms.

It would therefore, not be appropriate for an organization to dictate to its employees the kind of dressing they should wear. Instead, the company should allow its employees to strategically choose their dress code based on their personal preferences, how they want to be perceived, and situational factors. It is normal for people to want to alter their style of dressing depending on the occasion and mood. Individual attitudes and preferences often dictate the purpose of certain style (Rafael and Pratt, 1997).


Approaches towards casual dressing are still evolving as employees and organizations move towards edgy and refined look in the workplace environment. Instant changes in the work place regarding the dress code create new perspectives and attitudes. It also influences employee motivation and preservation of the organizational image. It is therefore important for an organization to conduct proper research and identify address code that would preserve its image and motivate the employees. Introduction of casual dressing at the workplace offers motivation to employees; it however has negatively affected the organizational image. Most clients and customers prefer formally dressed employees.


Colbert, C. (2014). The impact of work attire and Employee Behavior. Argosy University, Department of College Business.

Hannan, M., & Freeman, J. (1989). Organizations and Social Structure in Organizational Ecology, 10-20.

Kinderman, P., & Sinha, P. (2010). An exploratory Study. Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, 14 (1), 172-179.

Karl, K., & Rust, K. (2006). Dressing to Impress Beliefs and attitudes regarding workplace attire. Journal of Business Psychology.

Maynard, M. (2004). Dress and Globalization. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Rafaeli, A., & Pratt, G. (1997). Organizational Dress as a Symbol of Multilayered Social Identities. The Academy of Management Journal, ISSN 0001-4273, 08/1997, Volume 40, Issue 4, pp. 862 – 898.

5/5 - (1 vote)
Table of Contents