How to Tell a Coworker they Dress Unprofessionally

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Professional dress is essential to advancement in any career path. A person is expected to dress according to the company guidelines, at minimum. Whether it is uniformed attire or an Armani suit, an employee is expected to leave the unprofessional dress for occasions outside of work. If you have a good rapport with a coworker whose dress is not up to company standards, take the time to tell them that they dress unprofessionally.

How to Tell a Coworker they Dress Unprofessionally

Be honest and tell the truth. If your coworker continuously wears button down shirts that should be tucked in instead of hanging out, simply suggest that they tuck in their shirt. If they are supposed to wear a tie, but instead walk around with no tie and the first three buttons open, suggest that they begin to wear the proper attire for work.

Suggest that your coworker have a makeover. This can be done with a sense of decorum. Try to suggest colors and styles that are within company guidelines. Suggestions can be used to spark a bit of interest. Hopefully, it will get your coworker thinking about their unprofessional look.

Politely ask your superior to pass out or email a copy of the dress code policy to the department. Ironically, the things you notice at work have been noticed by others, especially your superiors. Instead of pointing the finger at your coworker, simply ask your supervisor to distribute company policy. You can even volunteer to make the copies yourself.

Drop a hint by bringing magazines. This indirect approach works wonders. Find a nice business suit or outfit in a trendy magazine. Tell your coworker that you saw a particularly stunning look and thought of them.


Pull your coworker aside, before making suggestions about their attire. Speak to them in a caring voice. There is no need to be condescending. Remember that some people need extra assistance. So offer your time as well as your criticisms. You may need to take a few hours and help your coworker find a few shirts, sweaters or pair of shoes. Be helpful, not harmful.


Expect your coworker to become defensive. Not everyone handles constructive criticism in a positive way. Do not push the issue of unprofessional dress to your coworker. One time is enough. You do not want to create a hostile environment. Do not point fingers and go to human resources. These tips are meant to encourage. You do not want to see your coworker getting reprimanded.