In retail, store associates are often seen as a reflection of the brand.
Many national chains hold employees to strict rules concerning their clothing, make-up, and hair.
We found some of the strictest policies out there.
1. Abercrombie & Fitch
Abercrombie’s image is built around sex appeal, and employees are expected to look good. The company expects “natural” hairstyles, with no “chunks of contrasting colour” or “extreme” looks, according to the company’s employee handbook. Abercrombie also bans employees from wearing the colour black. Employees are expected to wear the brand’s clothes. Corporate even dictates how shirt sleeves can be folded.
Abercrombie recently changed its policies to allow religious headscarves after a former employee successfully sued for discrimination.
2. American Apparel
American Apparel’s rules for employees caused a stir when they leaked in 2010. The rules, which were obtained by Gawker, prohibited lip gloss and most make-up. Eyebrows “must not be overplucked” and blow-drying hair is “advised against.” The company also said it prefers long hair for women.
This grown-up version of Urban Outfitters expects employees to wear minimal make-up and be “well-groomed,” employees told New York Magazine. The company bans logos and light-coloured denim. Workers are encouraged to wear the retailer’s boho-chic designs. “You dress to our aesthetic,” an employee told NYMag.
4. The North Face
This outdoor brand requires employees to wear head-to-toe clothing from the brand, some of which is provided free-of-charge. Visible piercings are prohibited (even ears), and someone from the corporate office comes every couple of months to ensure employees are complying with dress code.
5. Victoria’s Secret
Victoria’s Secret employees are asked to wear 90% black. “Hairstyles should be neat and tasteful, and makeup must be neat and applied in moderation,” the company’s employee manual reads. The brand bans nail art and facial piercings.
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