“A little touch of powder and a little bit of paint makes a girl look just what she aint.”
The above ditty was quoted to us so often when we were growing up. My Father loved it and said it with a twinkle in his eye and delight at seeing his girls dressed up to go out. I have no idea where it came from but I love it and keep it as a memory of my Dad.
I read in yesterday’s Guardian Newspaper of a woman being forced to choose between wearing makeup and resigning her job at Harrods. This iconic London store apparently has a dress code for both men and women employed in the store. The two-page “ladies” dress code stipulates: “Full makeup at all time: base, blusher, full eyes (not too heavy), lipstick, lip liner and gloss are worn at all time and maintained discreetly” There is an after-note in brackets saying “please take into account the store display lighting which has a ‘washing out’ effect.”
This young woman has been employed in the store for 5 years three of them part-time while a philosophy, religion and ethics student at King’s College London, and the last two years full-time after completing her masters. She has received only excellent reports from Managers on her performance at work.
A Harrods spokeswoman said: “All our staff are subject to a dress code which they sign up to on joining the company, which relates to an overall polished appearance. Our records show that discussions with (this employee) concerned a general lack of adherence to the dress code. However, no action was taken and she subsequently decided to leave the business of her own accord with no reference made to dress code.”
However, it is also reported that at a meeting with the floor manager she was told “You’ve got two options. You wear make up or you leave”.
I have only once been asked to adhere to a dress code and that was in the form of a uniform. This was in a service industry – a car hire company – and everybody wore the uniform provided by the company. I didn’t object to this.
Harrods also stipulates for women:
“Hair Trimmed regularly and styled to flatter features. May have subtle highlights or colour but must be natural looking and complementary to skin tone. No regrowth. Jewellery One earring per ear. Pearls or diamond studs preferred. One ring per hand with exception of wedding & engagement rings. No visible tattoos, sovereigns, mismatched jewellery, scrunchies, large clips or hoop earrings. Footwear Smart black leather shoes such as court shoes with stiletto or kitten heel.”
I think it is time that Harrods re-wrote their Ladies Dress Code to keep up with the times. I do think it is going too far in this day and age to insist that a saleswoman wear makeup. What do you think?
And now this well thought of, well-educated young woman has to find another job where her talents will be recognized even if she doesn’t wear make-up.
What do you think about dress codes, choosing whether to wear make up, an employer’s right to demand this etc etc?
Beauty is about perception, not about make-up. I think the beginning of all beauty is knowing and liking oneself. You can’t put on make-up, or dress yourself, or do you hair with any sort of fun or joy if you’re doing it from a position of correction.
Kevyn Aucoin, American make-up artist and photographer. 1962 -2002