Physical Appearance In Public

Revised Spring 2008, Jackson

Area of Life

The identity that you project will tell the employer whether or not you can be serviced even if there is no formal dress code to be enforced. Kayla Ebbert found out that there is always a dress code to be enforced. Kayla was on board on Southwest American Airlines when a flight attendant believed that her outfit was too sexy and inappropriate. Kayla was wearing a white mini-skirt paired with a scoop neck white tank top with a blue cardigan layered on top.

The flight attendant told her that Southwest Airlines was a “family” airline and her clothes were too skimpy. She told Ebbert to change her clothes or she would not be able to fly. Ebbert told the attendant that she did not have any luggage and couldn’t change. Both the flight attendant and Ebbert compromised, Ebbert would pull up her shirt and pull down her skirt.

When Kayla Ebbert was aboard on the return flight, there was no problem with her outfit. One flight attendant even complimented her outfit. This recent incident has proven the problem that one’s appropriate appearance differentiates from person to person. Unless a formal appearance dress code is equally enforced throughout businesses this problem will continue.

Juridic Controls

In America, we offer simple civil rights that give us freedoms that some countries do not have. But what happens when our civil rights are violated when we go out in public? Can our service be declined if we are not wearing the appropriate attire? Businesses across the nation posts signs on doors claiming that they will not serve you if you are not wearing a shirt or a pair of shoes. This juridical control does not stop with the lack of clothes but has gone far enough to say what looks conservative and what looks inappropriate.

America has always believed that first impressions always count. Without the appearance of a fresh, clean, conservative look, a person is presumed as a slob. Business owners will always want their workplace to come across as professional. Owners will gravitate towards customers who look more professional. Without looking professional, owners will stereotype potential customers as thieves if they look grungy, sketchy, or sloppy.

Business owners believe that the customers represent their business and seek conservative customers. This opinion of customers holds the main factor of the popular sign that hangs on business doors: No Shirt, No Shoes, and No Service.

The business owners, who have hung these signs up, have a right to refuse service to those who are not wearing the attire. The right to refuse service will vary upon the owner. When corporate America began to surface in the mid-eighties, the right to refuse service policy started to buckle down on customers. Business owners and employees will individually decide on the dress code of their customers. The right to decide on the customer’s wardrobe invites the employee to stereotype the customer and will therefore lead to a shallow society.

The standards of a customer’s dress code vary with the business. What you wear will tell the person of your social or cultural identity. This identity can be classified by your economic status, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sexual interest, or workplace dress code. These identities can establish the social groups they fit in and the stereotypes.

Burden of Load

The laws governing physical appearance can at times be burdensome, but the overall load is fairly light. Generally, you can wear what you want, when you want, without much thought of repercussion.

Escape of Laws

Your place of employment may have very strict guidelines for what you must wear to work. However, if you don’t agree with the rules, you may always get another job with guidelines more appropriate for your style.

This pretty much describes any situation you may face. If a place doesn’t agree with your dress, don’t use that facility anymore. There will generally be a place that your attire will be appropriate.

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