In most departmental stores, workers dress up in uniforms so that customers can identify them easily. While growing up I assumed that anyone dressed in a suit was either going to work or a wedding.
It took me a while to understand why lawyers have to dress up in suits all the time. Apparently its part of the lawyer’s code of conduct to be smart at all times. But can smartness be determined by dressing up in suits only?
With the current fashion trends, it is understood that for one to be considered smart at the work place, they must clad a jacket and tie. Although dress code shouldn’t limit professional work, there are some rules that fashion can’t change. For instance, you can’t work as a mechanic and dress up in a suit. Jumpsuits and protective gear to safeguard them from accidents is more appropriate.
According to Edmond Kabagambe, the Human Resource and Organizational Development Manager, Actionaid Rwanda, dress code can not be an influential factor for one’s performance.
“It’s all about understanding and striking a balance. If you dress tastelessly or shabbily, that will definitely portray a bad image. But it also depends on what one does. For instance, it’s okay for a technician to be dressed in jeans and a T-shirt. Suits are not very comfortable for that kind of work,” Kabagambe explains.
When asked if he would employ a male administrative assistant with plaited hair, he said, “Someone’s lifestyle should not be an obstacle to their skill and performance. I would employ him if he is capable of executing the job.”
Geoffrey Kamali, Managing Partner of Impress Africa Strategic Communications, said that provided one can perform, dress code should not matter, however, he insists presentation is equally important at the work place.
“It’s important not to dress up in a ridiculous manner. Always consider the people around you and what reaction your dress code will impose,” he adds.