Dress for Success: Mansfield Implements Dress Code for City Workers

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MANSFIELD, OH (WOIO) - The city of Mansfield is laying down the fashion law for its employees.

The controversial new dress code for city employees means drastic changes to wardrobes and accessories. The dress code prohibits workers from wearing certain types of clothing and hairstyles.

Fingernail polish, if worn, shall be clear or natural or modest in color.

"I think it went overboard with the whole hair and the nails and to me, it's a little infringement on people's rights," said Mansfield police employee Deb Phillips.

As for hair, for women, the dress code says hair cannot fall within one inch of the eyebrows.

For the men, keep it high and tight. No sideburns longer than the earlobe. And hair cannot exceed one and a quarter inch in bulk.

As for dye jobs - "hair must not fall outside the natural color spectrum."

There's more. Jewelry restrictions - women are limited to two rings per hand and men, no more than one ring per hand.

And piercings are for ears only. For women, no more than two per ear.

The dress code also bans obscene tattoos. And flip-flops are also out.

City officials say the dress code is meant to promote professionalism, but some wish they'd focus on bigger issues.

"We have an $8 million dollar deficit, so I thought that was more important to look at," said employee Lisa Grove.



Our personnel create the image and professionalism to our residents and visitors.  Your attire and appearance project that image daily.  Depending on your assignment, you may have regular contact with our customers or an occasional meeting such as during breaks or travel to or from your work area.  Often this "first impression" may inspire a positive experience for those in our community.

This policy prescribes the authorized attire for all employees of the City.  Items prescribed herein are minimum standards. A more restrictive policy may be in place for some assignments such as Safety Force Personnel.  Compliance monitoring shall rest with the employee's appointing authority and immediate supervisor.


Business Casual wear is to be worn unless otherwise defined in this policy or directed by the appointing authority and is normally for personnel assigned to environmentally controlled areas.  This policy applies to all personnel regardless of the actual work assignment.

Composition – Acceptable Business Casual attire is indicated below but is not intended to be inclusive:

  • Dress
  • Business suit/sport coat when directed.
  • Plain or pleated dress pants/slacks including Docker style; and belt.
  • Dress shirt, long or short sleeve. Men's shirt must have collar. Tie as required.
  • Dress shoes and socks. (Open-toed or sandal styles are approved for women only. (no flip-flop or beach styles, white athletic or tennis shoes)
  • Dress/or blouse and skirt with appropriate undergarments and modest necklines. Skirt lengths must be safe and long enough to avoid exposure of body and underwear while performing required duties.  (Women only)
  • Separates; top and skirt. (Women only)
  • Sweaters; V-neck, Crew and Cardigan with modest necklines and/or appropriate undergarments.
  • Women dress Capri or Crop type pants are acceptable. (cargo or baggy type garments and walking style shorts are prohibited)
  • Garments must be modest and professional. Those that expose the midriff, excessive cleavage, back and/or shoulder area are not permitted. (Tank tops or muscle shirts and leggings are prohibited).
  • Sheer garments must be worn with opaque undergarments to avoid body exposure.
  • Suggestive prints and patches, i.e. obscenity, nudity and other suggestive printed designs, or beverages shall not be worn on shirts, blouses, skirts, pants or jackets. Garments that advertise with logos other than that of the garment brand such as Nike etc are prohibited.
  • Employees may not normally wear hats, scarves or any type of head wraps while working inside.

Exceptions to Dress Code

  • Personnel assigned to work in uncontrolled environments requiring "work garments" such as those engaged in construction activity, inspections of such areas or those engaged in similar activity are exempted from the Business Casual clothing but are bound by other restrictions noted in this policy. An example would be that blue jeans are acceptable; however appearance guidelines, writings, logos and other restrictions still apply.  Final decision will be that of the appointing authority.
  • All non-uniformed personnel, may observe the City's "Dress-Down Friday" when contributing to a charitable organization. (See attached guidelines)


Wearing of glasses, jewelry, tattoos, decorations, and keys.

  • Women may wear no more than two modest earrings in each ear.  Earrings and piercings are only permitted to be worn in the ears and shall be modest.
  • Employees will not appear while working with facial, head or neck tattoos/brands or decals.  Tattoos/brands, or decals that are obscene, advocate sexual, racial, ethnic, or religious discrimination, offensive, distract from professional appearance, or interfere with on-duty actions and responsibilities are not permitted.  Excessive tattoos/brands will not be exposed or visible (includes through the clothing) while working.  Excessive is defined as any tattoo/brands that exceed ¼ of the exposed body part and those readily visible when wearing an open collar shirt.
  • The wearing of jewelry by employees will be limited to two (2) rings, one on each hand,  (two rings on each hand for female employees), one (1) watch on either wrist, and Medical Alert or medical treatment bracelet if in a uniform.  Religious medals, scapulars, or other bona fide expressions of religious affiliations, and Medical Alert Tags, may be worn around the neck but should be modest in size and appearance.
  • Fingernails shall be neatly trimmed.  Fingernail polish, if worn, shall be clear or natural or modest in color while working
  • Sunglasses, glasses and/or prescription glasses shall not have mirrored, iridescent or fluorescent lenses.  Frames shall be a non-fluorescent color (i.e. brown, black, silver, and gold) suitable for use.  The appointing authority or his/her designee is the final authority on allowable types.


Employees should voluntarily participate in good grooming practices that will create and maintain a professional image for themselves as well as their fellow employees, and the public service profession.

Personnel will not chew tobacco, gum or eat food or candy in the presence of customers while working.  Smoking and tobacco use is prohibited inside any facility and only designated areas outside facilities during authorized breaks.


Hair must be kept neat, clean and trimmed to present a well-groomed appearance.  There are many hair styles which are acceptable as long as an individual's hair is maintained in a neat, clean manner.  The length and bulk of the hair will not be excessive nor will the style of the hair present a ragged, unkempt, or extreme appearance.  Employees are permitted to change the color of their hair, only within the natural hair color spectrum.  In all cases of wearing head gear, the bulk, length, and style of hair will not interfere with the proper wearing of required head gear.  The acceptability of the style will be judged using the following criteria:

Male Employees

  • Hair will present a neat groomed appearance and will not exceed 1¼" in bulk regardless of length.
  • Hair on the sides of the head may not cover the outside surface of the ear.
  • When combed, the hair will not fall within one (1") inch of the eyebrows.
  • If an individual chooses to wear sideburns, the sideburns will be kept neatly trimmed and will not extend downward beyond the lowest part of the ear, where they will end with a clean shaven horizontal line. The flare (terminal portion of the sideburn) will not exceed one (1") inch in width.
  • Moustaches may be worn but must be kept clean and neatly trimmed at all times.  The moustache will not extend beyond the side of the corners of the mouth more than one-half (½") inch, nor extend downward below the bottom of the upper lip.
  • Goatees, and beards are acceptable but must be trimmed to not longer than one inch.
  • Hair pieces and wigs may be worn only if they conform to the hair standards.

Female employees

  • When combed, the hair will not fall within one (1") inch of the eyebrows, worn in such a manner the entire face and both eyes are visible.
  • When wearing any city issued head gear, the hair will not be visible on the forehead.
  • Conservative hair clasps or barrettes may be worn;
  • Hair on the side of the head will be worn in such a manner that it does not affect the individual's peripheral vision.
  • Hair pieces and wigs may be worn only if they conform to the hair standards.

Due to the enormous variety of clothing and personal appearance methods being worn today, this policy is not intended to cover every instance of what may be determined to be unacceptable.  Therefore it is strongly advised that you speak with your immediate supervisor if you have any questions as to the interpretation of proper appearance.



"Dress Down Friday" is a program established to raise monies for the purpose of making contributions to local charities, assisting in relief of natural disasters, adopting a family for Christmas, etc., and at the same time allows participating employees to dress in casual attire every Friday.

The Dress Down Friday program began on Friday, November 5, 1993, for all non-sworn, non-uniform employees of the City

In adopting this program, we still wish to maintain a certain level of pride throughout the City, and in the public eye, so a basic dress code guideline is recommended as follows: 

  1. Clean jeans, t- shirts, tennis shoes WOULD BE ACCEPTABLE
  2. Shorts, holey jeans, tank tops, flip-flop type sandals, sweat pants and clothing with advertisements or offensive logo's or wording  WOULD NOT BE ACCEPTABLE

These are only examples.  Please use good judgment, so as not to abuse the offering of this program.

If you wish to participate in Dress Down Friday, it will require that you make a donation of at least $1.00, payable each Friday.   All donations are to be submitted to the Human Resources Office.  You may want to designate one individual from your department to be responsible for collecting the money and turning it in to the Personnel Office.   Department heads will be required to make at least a $2.00 donation, in order to participate.

Once every (3) three months, all our donations will be contributed to a designated charity or worthy cause.  An announcement will be posted on the 3rd floor bulletin board, and e-mailed to personnel as to which charity or cause the monies were contributed.  

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