Pros and Cons of Dress Codes


Dress codes are something we all take accommodate in some way every day. After all – you don’t go grocery shopping in just your underwear, right? Sometimes they are written policies, while others are unwritten societal codes. These are the key points to consider when looking at the pros and cons of dress codes.

The Pros of Dress Codes

1. It reduces socioeconomic factors as an influencing factor in relationships.
Certain fashions cost more than others. Some people have more money than others. With a dress code implemented, people can still have designer items, but they’ll still look similar to those who went to the second-hand shop. This levels the playing field.

2. It reduces distractions.
If you did go grocery shopping in your underwear, there is no doubt you’d attract some attention. It could be good attention or bad attention and it would distract people from their chores. Dress codes eliminate distractions by creating more equality in appearance.

3. It has a health benefit to it.
Dress codes often require some level of hygiene in addition to requiring a certain clothing appearance. When people are taking care of themselves, they are also reducing the chances of spreading an illness to others.

The Cons of Dress Codes

1. In a word: cost.
The average person’s wardrobe is not suited to the average dress code. Many dress codes require clothing that is on the upper tier of cost. Even if someone is shopping at the thrift store, this is an expenditure they may not be able to always afford.

2. People know brand names from Walmart products.
Although socioeconomic comparisons are reduced, everyone knows who shops at the designer stores and who shops the discount racks at Walmart. Visual appearances can be similar, but the mental barriers between groups still exist.

3. It restricts a person’s freedom of expression.
Self-expression helps each person discover who they are. Sometimes this is through purposeful choice. At other times it is through trial and error. By requiring a dress code, that process is restricted.

The pros and cons of dress codes have some general positives, especially in the unwritten codes of conduct we have at a societal level. When it comes to school or the workplace, however, the benefits must be compared to the detriments for each population base to see which options are the best to implement.