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Opinion Editorials

Could loosening up your dress code attract more millennial job seekers?

(OP/ED) Millennials might be more attracted to your company if you have a modern dress code – let’s discuss how company policies are evolving.

smart casual dress code


Want to disappoint your parents, potential employer, or company’s current dress code? Color-changing hair dye now exists thanks to Lauren Bowker, genius goddess of science and beauty knowledge.

It’s basically a mood ring for your hair. From neutral lowlights to brilliant shades, the dye shifts colors depending on the temperature. Oh wait, it gets even better. According to Brit + Co, Bowker came up with the idea “while studying the occult,” and used her scientific knowledge to make it a reality.

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A scientist witch created magic hair, you guys. This is a dream come true for everyone else out there whose elementary school self-portraits were riddled with sparkly gel pen hair highlights.

What color is sad?

I could turn into one of my favorite childhood dolls, whose hair changed colors with temperature. Totally freaked my uncle out when he found a toddler-sized doll in the freezer, but how else was I supposed to turn her hair pink again? Speaking of, how am I supposed to turn my hair pink again when I’m worried about being taken seriously in the professional world?

It hurts my heart that I feel compelled to stick to normal colored hair when on a job hunt or bound by company dress code.

As much as I want to turn my hair electric blue, I feel many potential employers would look at that as a sign of incompetence. In fact, even “I’m not a regular store I’m a cool store” Starbucks only recently loosened up its employee dress code last year, allowing non-natural hair colors.

Starbucks said in their dress code announcement, “we want partners to be as proud of their look as they are when they tie on their green apron.” So long as employees still adhere to food-safety and neatness standards, Starbucks no longer feels the need to dictate hair color.

The change happened after the company considered substantial employee feedback. At least from what I’m hearing, others in my millennial age-bracket are either happier working there now, or are likelier to consider applying.

shifting colors and attitudes

I desperately want to try out this new hypercolor hair. Aside from it not being commercially available yet, my only hesitation is not being taken seriously in the business world.

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I understand the need for dress code when it comes to presenting yourself in a clean, professional manner. However, I think unnatural hair color has unfairly been categorized as unprofessional for too long.

My choice of hair color isn’t an indication of my intelligence or competence. I feel much more comfortable and competent when I’m able to present myself without worrying about sticking to a mostly outdated dress code, at least regarding hair. I’m not going to show up to work in my paint stained, unevenly cut jorts, I promise.
Just let me have color changing hair.

Hang looser, bro

[clickToTweet tweet=”If your company dress code prohibits unnaturally colored hair, I implore you to find out why. ” quote=”If your company dress code currently prohibits unnaturally colored hair, I genuinely implore you to find out why. “]

At Starbucks, the only stipulation is that dye needs to be permanent or semi-permanent to avoid any possible interaction with foods or drinks. They struck down all the restrictions except safety.

If your business is upholding hair color dress code restrictions just for the sake of doing so, consider loosening up policy.

Or you can gauge your employee’s feelings about this facet of expression and consider altering policy based on your findings.

At the very least, opening up discussion about acceptable modes of personal expression can make your employees feel more comfortable in the workplace. And who knows, maybe me and the other unicorn-haired millennials will be more interested in your job positions if we’re freer to express ourselves.

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Written By

Lindsay is an editor for The American Genius with a Communication Studies degree and English minor from Southwestern University. Lindsay is interested in social interactions across and through various media, particularly television, and will gladly hyper-analyze cartoons and comics with anyone, cats included.

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