Was told I violated dress code, am quite sure I didn't

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Jun 25, 2018
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Hello! Yesterday was a strange day for me at my store. First, some background.

I've been at my store for a little over 2 years. In that time, I would say I have been well-liked both socially and professionally by coworkers and leads. I am punctual, direct, have strong people skills, and I try to take direction in good faith and always meet expectations. Late last year as modernization kicked up a notch, I had some difficulty adjusting, but my whole store does, and I've made strides to meet the new expectations and would say I am still considered a valued team member by my leads and coworkers, as far as I can tell.

Here's the thing--a couple of months ago, I bought a red vest to wear over my own shirts., because I had seen plenty of other people doing that and, unless somethings changed, that has been approved by the dress code since I began working for Target. I simply didn't want to keep spending money on plain red shirts that I am never going to wear outside of target and that do not look particularly nice and do no stand up to wear and tear. So getting the vest made sense.

I like to wear flamboyant shirts. That's what I wear in my day to day life. Floral, cosmic patterns. I think they're very nice, and I would say that I get a lot of positive feedback both from coworkers and guests, as well as from TLs and leads, on what I wear. Everything is appropriate, nothing is graphic or offensive. And they are always worn under a red vest with a nametag. The first day I wore the vest with one of my own shirts underneath, my store leader complimented my wardrobe. To me, that was confirmation that I was on brand. Another couple of times, when our district manager was in, she specifically complimented how I looked and said it looked very nice. Again, I see this as confirmation that wearing these shirts with the red vest is on brand.

Yesterday, I show up for work early, wearing one of the same shirts that our district manager had complimented me on in the past, and my lead says "Hey, I have to talk to you about the shirts. I got an e-mail. You can't wear the floral. It has to be solid patterns underneath the vest." I, of course, didn't argue. I zipped up my vest , apologized for the misunderstanding, and told him that after today I wouldn't wear them anymore.

I was sad about it, and I think understandably. I like to dress in a way that makes me feel attractive and confident, and I went out of my way to do it in a way that still respected the store brand. But, again, I wasn't in a position to argue.

Then we had our 10:30 huddle (as an aside, do other stores do a daily huddle? we started that recently and it feels strange to me), and during the huddle the store manager brought up dress code and sounded very angry about it, saying things like "play time is over" and "from now on it's red with solids, and we'll talk to people and if changes don't happen from there, we'll look into corrective actions, which would just be stupid". It was really demeaning. Everyone knew that it was about me, you could still see the floral poking from my under my zipped up red vest. Keep in mind, I'd been dressing this way and interacting with management regularly for a couple of months, and the store lead himself had specifically mentioned to me that he liked my shirts with the vest in the past. So while people are talking about this I can sense everyone knowing it's about. And it sort of felt like the implication was that I had been insubordinate or difficult.

It was obvious enough that I was the one being referred to in huddle that afterwards, people were coming up to me and saying they were sorry and that they always thought I looked nice. Maybe the look on my face just made it so apparent. I don't know.

The thing is, in all the time I have worked here, I always saw people wearing patterns and prints under their red. Maybe mine are more flamboyant or ornate, but that's what I wear. It's what I wear in my day to day life, same as anyone else who wears a solid or standard pattern shirt under a red vest. I don't think it's fair to expect me to buy a bunch of solid black or white t shirts that I'm never going to wear outside of work any more than it is to expect me to buy a bunch of red shirts I'm never going to wear outside of work. Maybe I'm misunderstanding the dress code (I haven't been able to find my employee handbook unfortunately), but I feel like I was always within line, and I was dressing that way for months and interacting regularly with leads and never was told their was any problem. It also just seems odd that they'd specifically single out floral. As far as I know, I'm the only person that regularly wears those kinds of shirts. So, I don't know, the whole thing made me feel uncomfortable.

Am I out of line? Did I misunderstand the rules? Am I being too sensitive? Why is the store leader who had complimented me in the past for my dress suddenly so terse and unpleasant about it?
 
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
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I know it’s tough because you feel called out, but try not to take it personally. After a visit during Q4, we had a real crackdown on dress code too. Mostly because people were really loose with what counted as “red” or would wear things with logos/words.

What probably happened with the email was a general statement about solids and reds, and they told you because you happened to fall under that umbrella of people who needed to be told. They likely weren’t calling you out specifically in the huddle, and if your store is anything like mine, there were probably people who were much further off the dress code than you.

Just take it as clarification from corporate about the dress code and rock some solid shirts, just like you’d rock patterned ones.
 
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Jun 25, 2018
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Okay guys, thank you.

I still think it's pretty unprofessional of the store lead (not to mention the district lead) to routinely have specifically said it looked good and appropriate multiple times and then turn around and be terse about this and talk about corrective action. But I guess the generous interpretation of this is that it wasn't their call and they were trying to put off being tough on people for as long as possible.
 
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Joined
Jul 22, 2014
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You have to remember after Q4 there is no chaos to hide in so its easy to slip the basic rules. We got that speech in january to. Dont feel singled out it takes more than one issue for a dress code talk and right now etls are under far more pressure with this modernization joke. Just do as told and change to solid shirts.
 
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7180

Dress code from corporate does not specify what you can wear underneath the red. This is either someone at your district or store level asserting their dominance with this power play. Stores can vary in what they interpret the dress code to mean. Some stores allow black or grey jeans now, some don't. I wear plaid, floral, stripes, and solids underneath my red vests and that's completely acceptable at my store.

Sorry you are stuck at a store that has a stick up their butt about clothing. I'd be pissed.
 
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View attachment 7180

Dress code from corporate does not specify what you can wear underneath the red. This is either someone at your district or store level asserting their dominance with this power play. Stores can vary in what they interpret the dress code to mean. Some stores allow black or grey jeans now, some don't. I wear plaid, floral, stripes, and solids underneath my red vests and that's completely acceptable at my store.

Sorry you are stuck at a store that has a stick up their butt about clothing. I'd be pissed.
Thanks. I suspected this was the case. I wonder why, though. Like I said, my relationship with my supervisors has always been very positive (at least to my face)

I actually had a team lead come to me and say he was going to look into uni police and try to go to bat for me, because he suspected that the e-mail they received might have been targeting me. And again, I just can't imagine why.

I probably will still do as told and switch to solids without contesting it, because I really need this job. But it is a little troubling, in my opinion, that they are now "enforcing" rules that don't explicitly exist. I know it's they're right (at will employment, etc.) but the implications are a little ominous.
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2018
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Please don’t make this “all about you”, even though the statement at huddle may have seemed a little finger pointing in nature. Unfortunately there are times when an example is made to make a point.
Across the board stores have been cracking down on dress code . Changes have included: jeans and also: “no vests allowed”, even though in the past they used to be handed out.
Please just adapt and look forward without putting too much stock into what it was like (or was said) in the past. Invest in a few few cheap solid red t-shirts, worn only for work and ditch the vest (vests remind me of Walmart). Best deals are found at goodwill/Salvation Army stores, a few bucks.
I’m surprised you even want to wear your own clothes to work cause mine get trashed.
You sound like a fantastic tm, adapt and move on.
 

busyzoningtoys

Modernization TL
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Oct 6, 2016
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Totally normal for dress code to be a focus in Q1, and for them to try calling things out that aren’t even really true “violations”. I feel for you, I also always wear nice button downs in often bright and ‘crazy’ patterns tucked in underneath a nice red vest zipped up 2/3, usually with complementary shoes, and have also been complimented by my ETLs, STL, DTL, and BPs and would be quite upset if called out like that.

My favorite crazy shirt I got at spot, Original Use pastel pink and baby blue with leopard spots lol.
 
Joined
Jun 4, 2014
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wear a khaki or jean skirt or capris and go wild with whatever type of socks you want to wear.
I'm female so it might be a little easier/more accepted for me but that's what I do.
 

busyzoningtoys

Modernization TL
Joined
Oct 6, 2016
Messages
910
wear a khaki or jean skirt or capris and go wild with whatever type of socks you want to wear.
I'm female so it might be a little easier/more accepted for me but that's what I do.
I’ve seen a male wearing a khaki kilt at a neighboring store, with him keeping his zebra and box cutter in his sporran (the pouch worn in front of the kilt). It was actually quite badass lol
 
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My favorite crazy shirt I got at spot, Original Use pastel pink and baby blue with leopard spots lol.
We literally just got that shirt yesterday and I noticed it immediately. For a target brand, Original Use is fairly hot.
 
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Pick your battles wisely.
Yeah, I more or less agree. I've basically decided that I'm just going to do what I was told. But, again, what I was told seems to contradict the actual rules. It just feels strange to me. Why enforce a "rule" that doesn't exist? Isn't it making an issue where there isn't one? I would like to be able to plainly ask my leads, hey what's up with this, and get an honest and direct answer, but I know that as a team member I'm not really "owed" that.

As far as why I'd want to wear my nice clothes at work, I know it's maybe kind of silly. Frankly, I spend a lot of time at the store. That's where the bulk of my social interaction is, where I am seen most. Since I have started dressing in a more expressive way (again, always within the dress code as it was presented to me), I feel like my general mood, and hence my productivity, has improved at the store. I feel more confident, loose, and able to give guests a pleasant and personalized experience. Maybe that sounds silly but it's mattered to me. I was able to carve out a nice little thing for myself while at work and do it in a way that was consistent with the rules, and I feel like it rubbed someone the wrong way arbitrarily and it got snatched away.

I probably am taking it too personally, or not empathizing enough with the situation my leaders are in, or whatever. But the whole thing just feels weird. Sorry, I guess at this point I'm mainly venting.
 

Humble TL

Timers Please!
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Apr 30, 2017
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Yeah, I more or less agree. I've basically decided that I'm just going to do what I was told. But, again, what I was told seems to contradict the actual rules. It just feels strange to me. Why enforce a "rule" that doesn't exist? Isn't it making an issue where there isn't one? I would like to be able to plainly ask my leads, hey what's up with this, and get an honest and direct answer, but I know that as a team member I'm not really "owed" that.

As far as why I'd want to wear my nice clothes at work, I know it's maybe kind of silly. Frankly, I spend a lot of time at the store. That's where the bulk of my social interaction is, where I am seen most. Since I have started dressing in a more expressive way (again, always within the dress code as it was presented to me), I feel like my general mood, and hence my productivity, has improved at the store. I feel more confident, loose, and able to give guests a pleasant and personalized experience. Maybe that sounds silly but it's mattered to me. I was able to carve out a nice little thing for myself while at work and do it in a way that was consistent with the rules, and I feel like it rubbed someone the wrong way arbitrarily and it got snatched away.

I probably am taking it too personally, or not empathizing enough with the situation my leaders are in, or whatever. But the whole thing just feels weird. Sorry, I guess at this point I'm mainly venting.
Let it out sister, I do sympathize with your position.
 

BoxCutter

Cut hard. Cut deep.
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Oct 16, 2012
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I’ve seen a male wearing a khaki kilt at a neighboring store, with him keeping his zebra and box cutter in his sporran (the pouch worn in front of the kilt). It was actually quite badass lol
@Kartman, was this you or has someone stolen your style?
 
Joined
Nov 21, 2018
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Did you buy you own vest or do you work in a state or store where they are provided or an option for the dress code?
 
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Did you buy you own vest or do you work in a state or store where they are provided or an option for the dress code?
I bought my own vest, with the understanding that they were an option for the dress code.
 
Joined
Nov 9, 2014
Messages
504
Your relationship with management and even up to the district level is one thing... but there is even higher management that will plain cloth shop stores and take notes. Those notes are then passed down.

It's very likely that a mass email was sent out to your STL/ETLs from the DTL, who got an email from their corporate overseer... that stated while visiting stores in the area, it was noticed that team members weren't obeying dress codes... the kicker, it's an umbrella statement that went out to ALL THE STORES under that leadership (so your store may not have even had a visit to warrant it, it just was in the email chain). The DTL feels the crunch from upper management and sends it down the line to your STL and do it goes.

Regardless of this simple possibility, at the end of the day, you're Target's employee. They set the rules for that employment and in this instance, it includes a dress code. It's a fairly lenient one.

You sound like a colorful person who prides themselves on their unique style. I'm sure you can find a creative way to stay within the requirements while still showcasing your fashion sense. Bright shoes, belts, socks, accesssories... there're ways to be unique and still meet the requirements.
 
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