Next Memory

Staff Discipline, re: Dress Codes

by Norman Worwood


Banks have always had a reputation for formal dressing and in the 1960s and 1970s the only daring relaxation of this was possibly the wearing of a sports coat and flannels on Saturday morning, though few did so. Branches were thus rather surprised to receive a short letter from the General Manager of the day in which he said that the current fashion of wearing 'hot pants' was strictly forbidden and that disciplinary action would be taken against offenders. Whether he feared that some lady might turn up in such garb, or whether someone actually had, was not known among the lay staff, but much amusement was caused by the letter.

More to the point, perhaps, was a reprimand given to me by an inspector some time after I had been promoted to my final post with the Bank and was, therefore, much senior to him. Indignantly, he explained that he had inspected a branch at which I had once been the manager and he had found cause to criticise one young lady for her mode of dress. My own recollection of the lady in question was vivid --- and favourable. She was quiet, a hard worker, very presentable and physically could be described as statuesque, leaning towards Venus de Milo (with arms) rather than a modern-day Twiggy. Anyway, it seems that he had told her that she ought to wear a bra when working in the branch. Her reply, namely that "Mr. Worwood never said anything about it" rather stole his thunder, so to speak. My only defence to the inspector was that frankly, I had never noticed, which pleased him even less.