Workplace dress codes are often arbitrarily prohibitive and strict, designed to suppress self-expression and honestly just make things harder for employees. So I'm always excited when I read a story of someone who found a way to defy the dress code without technically breaking any rules.
This is one such story. But not only is it about a woman who found a way to express herself while remaining within the confines of her company's dress code. It's also about a woman who pissed off her pious coworker in the process. And that's priceless.
Reddit user easy0lucky0free posted this story in the Malicious Compliance subreddit. "A couple years ago," she begins, "I worked retail in a store geared towards childrn. A very... magical store. Lots of princesses, superheroes...rodents. You get the picture."
We do. It's 100 percent the Disney store, but she's not naming names. She explains that the dress code for employees at the store was extremely strict. "We had a uniform that had to be ironed all the time, no visible tattoos, only natural hair colors, women were encouraged to wear makeup and style their hair, men were either to be clean shaven or have fully grown facial hair."
One of her managers was really nitpicky with her about the dress code, always calling her out for not ironing her shirt well enough, telling her to wear more makeup, and even getting down on her hands and knees to measure the hem of her pants. The manager sounds like a real piece of work.
Additionally, she wrote, "this particular manager was a natural brunette but she dyed her hair black and bleached a portion of the hair underneath so that it would show." This is clearly pushing the "natural hair color" rule. I can totally see why the woman telling this story couldn't stand her manager.
Our storyteller has always loved to dye her hair all different colors, but she was really restricted with the dress code at work. So she came up with a compromise and decided to dye her hair silver.
When she showed up at work the next day with silver hair, a day where the district and regional managers were visiting the store, her managers "were appalled." They decided to discipline her in front of the higher-ups, which you're probably sensing by now did not go as planned.
They told her she was in violation of the dress code because her hair wasn't a natural color. She pushed back and said that gray is a natural color. "But you aren't gray yet," they said. "You can dye your hair, it just can't be obviously fake. It needs to look real."
So she very bravely pointed to the manager who gave her a hard time and said, "Your hair is half black and half bleach blonde. I feel like that looks more unnatural than my gray hair." Oh snap!
The higher-ups agreed with her and let her keep the gray hair. And the icing on the cake was that the higher-ups actually decided the manager's hair was in violation of the dress code, and she was forced to dye it before coming to work the next day. Isn't it so nice when people get what's been coming to them?
So many commenters were cheering for this woman for putting that manager in her place. "It's a good plan, well executed," one commenter wrote. "Congratulations of shutting her up but I'd rather have that companies couldn't force you to limit your self-expression like that." I agree. Dress codes are so last century. Even the House of Mouse should realize that having blue hair or visible tattoos doesn't mean you can't be entirely professional.