Most of the ensembles involve T-shirts and pants, devoid of any provocative or unconventional elements.
Dress codes, essential for maintaining a professional atmosphere, frequently exhibit disparities and occasional irrationality. In numerous contexts, pinpointing precisely what constitutes appropriateness becomes a challenging task, thus exacerbating the perplexity surrounding adherence to these regulations. This is particularly evident in the realm of retail, where employees are often required to adhere to specific uniforms or dress guidelines during their work hours. Kelly—who goes by @kellsfromhell on TikTok—shared a video about outfits that violated the dress code where she worked. She starts the video with a text overlay: "Outfits I've worn to my retail job and why they violate dress code." She wears multiple dresses throughout the video with text overlays detailing how each outfit didn't fit the dress code.
A large part of the outfits involved a t-shirt and pants of some kind. There is nothing outlandish or provocative about any of the costumes, but they all violated the dress code at the place she worked at. Most of them were not allowed because they were "too tight" or "revealing." Others were not allowed because the bra strap was showing. The most absurd one was when the workplace did not allow her to wear a black t-shirt because it had a design on it. Another very standard outfit was deemed inappropriate owing to its design and because it was "excessively baggy."
As evident in the video, women's dress codes often impose unnecessary constraints, highlighting a pattern where society seems to objectify their bodies. All of the rules that deem what is appropriate come from notions of being modest and desirable. Users on the platform had a few interesting insights on dress codes in general. @kay.maya_ commented, "But imagine these shirts on a different body type. Same shirt with a different level of 'low cut,' but you can't tell one girl no and the other yes." Another individual, @ownehuntistheworse, said, "I worked at Forever 21 and we were literally asked to wear stuff like this. This is insane to me. You rocked all these outfits, though."
A retail worker, @ohshit_itsgracie, shared a similar incident at their workplace, saying, "I wore a top to my old job and was complimented all the time, but I wore it one day when corporate came and all of a sudden, I 'had to change.'" @stevenwood14 commented, "Really, I can get behind a shirt being too baggy (that one wasn't) or a design on a shirt; however, the other points don't matter." @daddio1676 shared a hilarious situation, saying, "I'm not allowed to wear any kind of crop top at my job, yet it's nearly the only type of shirt we sell. So I can't wear the clothes we sell."
Another user, @simp.for.marklee, shared a similar story: "My store wants us to wear some of the merchandise we sell, but then tells us the clothes we're wearing violates the dress code." There are many such cases of women being targeted based on the dress code and it's important to begin steering the conversation to empowering women and celebrating individuality. If we can make such a change, it fosters a more inclusive and respectful dress code culture across organizations.