Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Crazy Dress Codes

I have recently blogged about the efforts of our college administrators with corporate pasts to introduce humiliating dress codes for professors. Now let's look at how elaborate corporate dress codes are getting. A Swiss bank UBS has adopted a 43-page rule book that codifies not only how the bank employees should dress, but also what kind of makeup they should use, how they should style their hair, and what they should eat:
The bank expects its retail banking staff to wear suits in dark grey, black or navy blue, since these colors "symbolize competence, formalism and sobriety."
 Apparently, anybody who doesn't wear these dowdy colors must be a drunken incompetent. Of course, if the person who created this idiotic dress code spent at least some of their time educating themselves, they would know that the word "formalism" in this context would have never been used by a sober and competent person. But, hey, what can you expect from a corporate drone? Let's continue with our list of corporate rules:

"Light makeup consisting of foundation, mascara and discreet lipstick ... will enhance your personality," the code says, while advising women not to wear black nail polish and nail art. The hair-care section notes studies have shown that properly cared-for hair and a stylish haircut "increase an individual's popularity."
Even the companies that manufacture mascara haven't yet tried to sell the idea that mascara "enhances" one's personality. It's hard to come up with anything more offensive to women than suggesting that their personality resides in their eye-lashes. (Oh, yeah, there is one: that women's "honor" and value resides between their legs.) And how about increasing one's popularity with stylish haircuts? I thought people got over the delusion that styling their hair might help them become more popular pretty much by the third grade. Well, apparently not at UBS, which seems to be a place that has collected every moron under the sun.

Do you think UBS is offensive only to their female employees? Not at all! In terms of humiliating practices, this is fully an equal opportunity employer. Men who work for UBS are even told what their underwear should be like:
Designer stubble is out of the question for men, as is excessive facial hair.UBS's advice for men even extends to underwear, which should be of good quality and easily washable, but still remain undetectable. Black knee-high socks are preferable as they prevent showing bare skin when crossing legs, it says. 
Please don't ask me what any of this means because no sane individual, in my opinion, can understand these ridiculous rules. There are more contemptuous pointers for male employees:
Accessorizing for male staff excludes items like bracelets and earrings, but wearing timepieces is encouraged, since wristwatches suggest "reliability and great care for punctuality." Male employees are also warned about using hair dyes to mask their advancing age, since the "artificial color contrasts excessively with the actual age of your skin."
Here is a partial list of what should and shouldn't be done by the employees:

The UBS Dress Code: Do's and Don'ts


For women:

Wear your jacket buttoned.
When sitting, the buttons should be unfastened.
Make sure to touch up hair regrowth regularly if you color your hair.

For men:

Store your suit on a large hanger with rounded shoulders to preserve the shape of the garment.
Schedule barber appointments every four weeks to maintain your haircut shape.


Eating garlic and onions
Smoking or spending time in smoke-filled places
Wearing short-sleeved shirts or cuff links
Wearing socks that are too short, showing your skin while sitting
Allowing underwear to be seen
Touching up perfume during or after lunch break
Using tie knots that don't match your face shape and/or body shape
I don't know what's happening in Switzerland right now in terms of economy, but things must be pretty bad for people to put up with this kind of indignity just to work at some stupid bank. If anybody knows what's going on in Switzerland and why people allow their employers to debase them in this way, please share.


Anonymous said...

I was in the Army for five years, and to be honest the dress code there was much simpler, as they just issue you a uniform so there was nothing to think about attire-wise

Perhaps UBS should issue a uniform as well?

That is just insane.


Rimi said...

Mike -- I bet the management would love that, but HR would shoot it down. Can you imagine the kind of press that would receive in our crazy, labellist mainstream global media? "Fascism in Switzerland: Bank Issues Uniforms!"

Of course, insidious 43-page booklets can sneak past MUCH easier.

Clarissa, ever so often when I visit your homepage, I notice I'm being redirected, after a few minutes, to this page:

You might want to take a look into this. I've just found your blog and love it, and I'd rather not lose it to webring adverts.

Clarissa said...

Thank you, Rimi! I think I have removed the webring thingy but do tell me if the problem persists.