trade tales | Sep 1, 2023 |
9 designers share their office dress code policies

There’s no doubt that fashion is closely related to interior design—it’s all part of the world of art. Although dressing is a form of self-expression, when it comes to office attire, some employers prefer their staff to dress to impress, while others prioritize functionality. That’s why we asked nine designers—DuVäl Reynolds, Ashley Macuga, Jeanne Chung, Juliette Byrne, Shelby Van Daley, Guillaume Coutheillas, Alyssa DeVoe, Phyllis Taylor and Chris Goddard—to explain how their team dresses for the job.

DuVäl Reynolds
DuVäl ReynoldsMarkus Wilborn

“Currently, the dress code is very casual at our office—my team will often find me in gym gear and slides. When we have visitors, whether trade industry partners or clients, we ask the team to dress in business casual. For installation days, we have matching company T-shirts for everyone to wear, branded with the company name and colors. But I tell the team to take advantage of it now because once we get a retail storefront, business casual will be required.” —DuVäl Reynolds, Duväl Design, Fairfax, Virginia

Ashley Macuga
Ashley MacugaCourtesy of Ashley Macuga

“We don’t have a dress code—whatever makes you feel productive for the day. When we are meeting with clients, our team typically dresses up a little more, and when we are doing an install, it’s all running shoes and workout attire because installing a house might be the best workout available!” —Ashley Macuga, Collected Interiors, San Francisco

9 designers share their office dress code policies
Jeanne ChungCourtesy of Cozy Stylish Chic

“We don’t have a dress code, per se, but since our design studio is located within our showroom and we have all sorts of people walking in on any given day, we tend to go with comfortable but stylish. Pasadena tends to be a bit more casual than L.A. and people here are practical, so our guideline is that we dress with that in mind. This translates to a dress with comfy flats and sandals, or a sweater with stylish jeans and a pair of boots when it gets cold—nothing too fancy but nothing grungy, either. I can safely say that you won’t find me or anyone else at our firm in a pair of stilettos on the job site—contractors would scoff at that, and we can’t be creative when we’re uncomfortable. However, if we have an event or an appointment with a client on the other side of town, where appearances are more important, we may throw in a dressier change of clothes or a pair of heels.” —Jeanne Chung, Cozy Stylish Chic, Pasadena, California

Juliette Byrne
Juliette ByrneCourtesy of Juliette Byrne

“We need to appear aspirational as a brand and offer a turnkey service for the client’s whole lifestyle. With that in mind, how our staff and designers dress is very important to us. We do encourage them to dress individually and have their own looks, but to be appropriately dressed for office work and to reflect their house style.” —Juliette Byrne, London

Shelby Van Daley
Shelby Van DaleyCourtesy of Shelby Van Daley

“We don’t have a strict dress code, but we like to tell our team that they should dress like they expect someone to deliver a six-figure check on any given day! When interviewing, we do look to make sure that candidates dress in a way that’s fashionable. They don’t have to be cutting-edge, but their appearance needs to support the brand.” —Shelby Van Daley, Daley Home, Cedar Park, Texas

Guillaume Coutheillas
Guillaume CoutheillasCourtesy of FrenchCalifornia

“We don’t have a dress code, and everyone is encouraged to dress however they want. My team is really young, so I always love to see what they wear and what vintage items they’ve found, or which cool new brands they’ve discovered. Several of our team members went to FIT, and I love seeing the intersection between design and fashion. I personally always wear neutrals because they don’t show dust during installs, they photograph well and complement our design aesthetic.” —Guillaume Coutheillas, FrenchCalifornia, New York and San Francisco

Alyssa DeVoe
Alyssa DeVoeCourtesy of K.A. Murphy Interiors

“We grasp the importance of looking put together on a daily basis, though each of our interpretations varies day to day. For design presentations, we often lean toward a polished business-casual look. On installation days, when we’re out and about, we embrace the comfort of athleisure. Just like our designs, it’s all about the blend of form and function!” —Alyssa DeVoe, K.A. Murphy Interiors, New York

Phyllis Taylor
Phyllis TaylorCourtesy of Taylor & Taylor

“You only get one chance to make a first impression, so what we wear as designers is impactful. Although comfort is important in our Florida heat, we do have a base code to exclude flip flops, jeans and cutoffs. Our designers all wear smart casual outfits that reflect their personal style and the firm’s professionalism.” —Phyllis Taylor, Taylor & Taylor, Miami

Chris Goddard
Chris GoddardGoddard Design Group

“As a creative, I am not a fan of having an office dress code. One of the best ways we can express ourselves is through our appearance. I encourage my team to be themselves and represent my brand in a creative but professional way. We only get one chance to make a first impression, and I want my team to be personal, imaginative and memorable.” —Chris Goddard, Goddard Design Group, Springdale, Arkansas

Homepage image: A dining room by Jeanne Chung | Bethany Nauert

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