Serena Williams and the Importance of an Equal Dress Code

By Jessica Fiur and

The president of the French Tennis Federation announced that there would be changes to the dress code in response to Williams wearing a catsuit. Why this has been causing controversy, and why you should be careful about your community dress code, as well.

We all know who Serena Williams is. She’s a phenomenal tennis player. A GOAT, as the kids are saying (greatest of all time—I’m old and had to look it up. Now I’m totally woke about it though). 

Well, recently Bernard Guidicelli, president of the French Tennis Federation, said that he would be instituting a dress code at the French Open to “respect the game and the place.” This was specifically in reaction to Williams participating—and killing it—in a Nike-designed catsuit that she purportedly wore to help combat life-threatening blood clots she suffered from after recently giving birth.

A female tennis player wearing pants?

Mon dieu!

Williams responded to the controversy by playing at the US Open in a specially designed tutu—and killing it. 

Serena Williams. Not in her catsuit here, but, trust me, it was awesome.

But still.

Guidicelli’s statement has been put under much scrutiny. After all, there was no comment about how men dress during the matches.

Dress Codes at Apartment Communities

Does your community have a dress code for employees? There are certainly good reasons to have one: It makes the team recognizable to residents, gives off a sense of professionalism and makes it easier to pick out an outfit at 6 am when you’re half asleep and need to get on the road to beat the traffic for work.

However, if you are creating a new dress code—or just reviewing your old one—it is important to take a look at it and make sure you’re treating everyone equally and fairly.

For example, do you require your leasing agents to dress up? If so, are the female employees required to wear heels? If they are, they might feel resentful that they have to, especially if they’re going to be on their feet all day showing apartments, when their male coworkers do not. (Trust me, no matter how expensive—or cute—high heels are, they will start to hurt after a few hours.)

Additionally, be careful about policing people. Maybe skirts shouldn’t be too short, but there is no need to give “appropriate” lengths. Your staff should be made of professionals and should not be made to feel like school children about to be pulled into the principal’s office. 

It’s not just a “female thing” though. Dress codes should be fair for everyone. For example, are your female employees allowed to wear shorts as long as they’re professional looking? What about male employees? Often, men are not allowed to wear shorts in a professional setting. But it’s been 90 degrees this summer! Men get hot too. 

Look, you don’t have to get ridiculous about it. But try to be as judicious as possible when it comes to your community dress code. 

And if you have no rule against it, and an employee comes in in a catsuit, well, they’re probably killing it.

What are your thoughts? Do you have a dress code at your community, and if so, do you have any specifications for different genders? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Post your comments on our Facebook page or send a tweet to @MHNOnline or @jfiur.

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