July 12, 2024

UMW Dress Code Policy

It is with relief that I announce the immediate implementation of the new and improved UMW Dress Code.  As in the past, the dress code does not apply to instructional faculty.  Please use logic and discretion as you apply the dress standards.

I want to express the President and Cabinet’s thanks to the Staff Advisory Council for the time and effort they put into advocating for the code, convincing all stakeholders of its importance and in developing its terms and conditions.  This is an excellent example of the participatory governance envisioned when the Council was being deliberated upon.

The new dress code policy can be found at http://www.umw.edu/hr/policies_procedures/dress_code/default.php. Also, it is listed below. Please address any questions or concerns to Judy Kwitnieski in the Human Resources Office.

Thank you and enjoy!

Richard R. Pearce
Acting Vice President for Administration and Finance


Dress Code Policy for Non-Instructional Employees

I. Purpose

To establish basic guidelines for appropriate work dress that promotes a positive image of the University while also allowing maximum flexibility to maintain good morale; respect individual religious, racial, gender-specific, and ethnic attire; and give due consideration to safety and sound business practice.

II. Responsibility

Although the University dress code policy is an effort to establish some broad parameters, most departments and offices have at least some uniqueness in terms of operating needs, such as public expectations and safety.  Therefore, regulations of employee dress will be managed at the departmental level.  Departments and offices may establish more stringent requirements, based on sound business needs, but may not establish lower standards than those set forth herein.

III. School Year Standard

This is the basic standard for the academic year, when classes are in session.

A. Faculty – This policy does not apply to instructional faculty.

B. Non-Instructional Employees.  This group includes administrative faculty, classified, and wage employees.  Attire will be “professional dress.”  For the purposes of this policy, “professional dress” is defined as clean and neat and appropriate for the type of work performed.  Generally, the higher level the position and the more contact with the general public, the higher the dress standard.  As a general rule of thumb cut-offs, sweat suits, baggy style pants, flip flops and clothes that are otherwise revealing are not acceptable.

C. Work-Study Students – Students frequently work in support of regular department employees in return for state and federal financial aid subsidies.  Dress for student employees is casual but not controversial.  Some consideration must be given to the fact that students have limited means and are usually working between classes.  If safety clothing or equipment is deemed necessary by the department, the department will furnish such clothing or equipment.  Tee-shirts bearing language or art which is likely to offend others, torn clothing, unkempt appearance, or revealing clothing which exposes parts of the body typically covered in that work setting should be avoided.

IV. Summer, School Year Vacation/Break Periods, and Friday Standard

This is the basic standard for after Commencement until the beginning of fall classes.  It also covers periods when classes are not in session due to school “breaks” and Fridays.

A. Faculty – This policy does not apply to instructional faculty.

B. Non-Instructional Employees – Attire will be “professional dress” as described above.  Supervisors may further relax dress protocols, with the exception of jeans, as appropriate for their work environments.

  1. Exceptions for Some Departments/Offices – Summer dress in some departments and offices may necessarily be “dressier” than in others due to the nature and frequency of contacts with the general public, the Board of Visitors or government officials.
  2. Exceptions for Specific Meetings/Events – Anytime scheduled meetings or other work commitments involve the general public, outside business representatives, members of the Board of Visitors, or government employees outside the University, good judgment in choice of attire is expected.  This will normally mean wearing business dress attire for that day.
  3. Exceptions for Jeans—Jeans may be worn on Friday during the summer months.  Jeans should be professional in appearance.  Jeans with holes or slits are not appropriate and should not be worn.

V.     Special Issues

A. Religious, Racial, Gender-Specific, or Ethnic Attire – Nothing in the University dress code policy is intended to abridge rights at law relating to non-discrimination or hinder the advancement of diversity at the University.  Significant flexibility in freedom of choice will be shown in relation to religious or ethnic attire.  If controversies arise, the opinion of the Attorney General, Commonwealth of Virginia, will be sought and relied on by the parties to the controversy.

B. Facial Hair, Jewelry, and Hairstyles – Nothing in the University dress code policy is intended to regulate individual choices such as beards, jewelry, and hairstyles.  Job-related safety when operating potentially dangerous machinery with moving parts or jobs with public health considerations such as serving or cooking food may nevertheless require some personal adjustments.

Revised April 2011

About Marty Morrison


  1. Melinda Albrycht says

    Thank you so much for allowing jeans on Friday. I know that it may seem like just something so small but it truly means so much to all of us. I sincerely thank you!