Dress codes - Maxicours

Dress codes

  • Comprendre les enjeux d'un choix vestimentaire.
  • Savoir qu'il est possible d'adapter sa tenue à une situation.
Points clés
  • Le style vestimentaire doit s’adapter aux circonstances : décontracté lorsqu’on se trouve entre amis, plus formel lorsqu’on est au travail, très codifié lors d’une cérémonie.
  • Certaines personnes rejettent les règles vestimentaires qu’on leur impose, par convictions personnelles ou politiques.
1. Introduction

What to wear ? What not to wear ? Tricky questions, aren’t they ? But why do we have to worry about clothing ?
In fact, when we dress, we follow a set of rules which makes us wear the right clothes at the right time.

You will not wear the same clothes at home, at work, for a wedding or a barbecue with friends, will you ? It all depends on circumstances and social perceptions. Indeed, if you do not want to be singled out, you will dress casually or formally.

But if you refuse to follow the rules, you will show your difference by wearing anti conformist attires, as we will see below.

2. Casual or formal

To help you understand what we call casual and formal clothing look at the grid below. It tells you the differences between these two forms of dressing and also explains what to wear and when, if you do not want to step out of the line.

  1. Casual clothing
      Women Men
    (Comfortable clothing for parties with friends...)
    A pair of jeans and a tee-shirt or a dress
    Sneakers or heels or boots
    A pair of jeans with a tee-shirt or polo shirt
    Business casual
    (Office work)
    Nice trousers or a dressy pair of jeans or a skirt with a shirt or dressy top
    A pair of coloured trousers with a shirt or polo shirt
    Smart casual
    (Business dress code)
    Dress pants or skirt with a top
    Jewelry, accessories

    Dressy jeans with a sport coat or a vest
    Dressy shoes

  2. Formal clothing
      Women Men
    Business formal
    (More sophisticated than smart casual)
    Business suit or business style dress
    Nice trousers with a sport jacket or business suit with tie
    Dressy shoes
    Semi formal
    (Office work, evenings...)
    Classy short black dress
    Low or high heels
    Dark suit with a tie and white shirt
    Dressy shoes
    (Weddings, ceremonies...)
    Long evening dress
    Low or high heels
    Tuxedo with cufflinks, bow tie and white shirt
    Classy shoes

As you can see, each situation entails a different type of clothing. Dress codes have become so important today that some workplaces, schools, restaurants, weddings, degree ceremonies... apply them. If they are legal, it can sometimes be difficult to know where the line is between lawful and unlawful discrimination.
So, the right thing is not to go too far to enforce them. If it can be fun sometimes, we must know that not everybody likes to be confronted to codes. Some refuse them and prefer dressing as they like whatever the situation.

3. Why refuse dress codes

Sometimes, people will refuse a dress code because it applies to them only (women, colored people...) and they are right because it is a form of discrimination which must be condemned with force.
But other people reject dress codes for personal reasons. This is the case for the punks, steampunks, Goths... who dress their own way, whatever the circumstances, and who refuse to follow the rules of conformism.
To mark their differences, they choose to behave according to a way of thinking and as they want to single themselves out from the rest of the population, they adopt a totally different way of dressing. They will never wear suits or ties or loafers or evening dresses...

4. Conclusion

If dress codes have existed for a long time — queens and kings dressed differently from their subjects to show their social difference — they have become very popular in the last decades and it is very difficult not to comply with them.
Of course they must not be forced upon you so as to be free to wear what you like.

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