Whether you’re starting a new job at a salon with a uniform policy, or your boss has decided to institute rules on wardrobe at your existing job, a dress code mandate can trigger panic. Hairdressers are by nature creative individuals. After all, we spend our days cutting, coloring, and coiffing clients who want to look their best. So being told we have to limit our own self-expression via our clothing choices can be panic inducing. But fear not. With the right emphasis on accessories and other forms of adornment (like, ahem, yourhair!), you’ll feel like yourself dress code or not. Remember, you are after all a beauty professional! You’ve got this.
The least restrictive form of dress code is the uniform color rule. Example: all stylists must wear black. For some of us, this sounds like a dream—you may favor the inky shade already. But for color lovers, this is a difficult pill to swallow. But don’t panic. There are many ways to incorporate color into your ensemble via bright accessories (statement necklaces, colorful stones like turquoise), makeup choices (think a bold lip, or brightly colored nail), and even shoes. Ask your boss whether shoes must also be included in the color mandate. If not, being able to get your color fix by way of a pair of colorful shoes will be sure to put you at ease. Another brilliantly easy way to add interest to a monochromatic outfit is by playing with fabric textures. Look for velvets, satins, or other interesting fabrics. They go a long way to spicing up a single-color ensemble.
Perhaps the more dreaded form of wardrobe control is the true uniform. Every woman (and men, too) knows that there is no one style or cut that flatters all body types. The thought of having to wear the exact same thing as your coworkers, whether or not it flatters your figure, can be very upsetting. There is one positive aspect to this policy that we must point out—at least you’ll never have to wake up and think about what you’ll have to wear!
That said, we’d bet you still may be feeling glum, but again, it’s time to focus on accessories and on your beauty efforts. Your hair, makeup, and accessories can help you feel more like you in a job where you feel you look the same as everyone you work with. As a hair professional, we don’t have to tell you there are a million ways to be you via your cut, color, or style. If a particular piece of the uniform is giving you grief, consider approaching your boss. If the standard issue black pants simply aren’t fitting you, kindly speak to your boss and present her with a solution—for example, you have a very similar pair that are much more flattering and you’d love to bring them in for her to evaluate as an alternative. Employers are extremely receptive to solution-oriented employees, so approaching the issue from a problem-solving angle is sure to go a long way with any boss. If you’re still not happy, consider wearing your own garb to work and changing back into your outfit before you leave at the end of the day. This way you minimize time spent feeling self-conscious about your clothing. And if all else fails, take a deep breath and remind yourself that we’re at work for 40 hours a week—a lot of living goes on outside our job and there is plenty of time to express yourself while not at work. You’ll be even more grateful for those days off when do they roll around!