December 01, 2000
Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts December 2000 Current Issue
December 2000
Short Cuts:
Casual backlash


With dress-down Friday infiltrating the entire work week, anxious employers, hoping to put the brakes on a runaway dress code, are calling in the fashion police. Their advice? Keep your under- wear under your clothing, always wear a belt, show no skin on the torso and never forget your socks. And when in doubt, wear a jacket. “It’s all in the details,” says Mary Lou Andre, a Needham, Mass.-based corporate fashion consultant (, whose clients include Sarah Lee Corp. and Fidelity Investments. “Companies are concerned that sloppy dress affects moral and work habits, projects a bad image and offends customers.” Andre’s seminars walk employees through a five-step process, complete with clothing props, for pulling together a successful wardrobe. Her managerial sessions coach bosses on implementing a departmental dress code. “The problem is companies list five or six things not to wear and leave it at that,” says Ilene Amiel, a Scarsdale, N.Y.-based consultant ( “That leaves open a lot of room for interpretation.” Amiel’s interactive seminars are image-focused. Employees are asked to identify the different messages various clothing projects. Then they are shown how, with minor adjustments a longer skirt, a collared shirt they can elevate their image.


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