UBS tells bankers to choose their underwear carefully | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 17.12.2010
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UBS tells bankers to choose their underwear carefully

Swiss bank UBS has released a 43-page dress code that, in excruciating detail, tells employees how to present themselves in its retail bank branches. The document takes Swiss precision to a whole new level.

A designer bra

UBS recommends women employees wear skin-tone bras

Those Swiss bankers, always showing up for work in faded t-shirts and stone-washed jeans.

Well, no more. The sartorially challenged, or simply clueless, finance professional now has a new dress code bible that gives definitive answers to all those pesky grooming and dressing issues.

Swiss banking giant UBS this week release its new guidelines that leave little to chance, covering employees' appearance pretty much from head to toe, from hair dyes (a no-no for men) to socks (leave the Mickey Mouse-themed ones at home).

The rules are exhaustive, ranging from fairly obvious prohibitions against tattoos, piercings and ankle chains (who wears those anymore?), to more esoteric guidelines, such as the one stating that ties that do not match the "morphology of the face" should not be worn.

It's all about "irreproachable behavior," the dress code says, which "implies having an impeccable presentation." UBS has been trying to rebuild its reputation since enduring record losses during the financial crisis and getting a multi-billion euro bailout.

Pink and white striped socks

'Fun' socks are a fashion faux pas at Swiss bank UBS

If its employees are exquisitely groomed automatons, the thinking appears to be, the profit graph will once again start trending upward.

The bank said the suggestions are only meant for a small number of employees in five pilot branches in Switzerland, but could be expanded. A UBS spokesman said staff had reacted positively to the rules.

She's got the look?

"Well, appearance is of course important for every professional sector," Andreas Koehler, founder of the Germany-based company The Image Consultants, told Deutsche Welle. "It has been since the Middle Ages and before."

He says he can understand a company wanting to keep up its image, since perception is often king. And he points to the US Civil War, where if you didn't have the right kind of beard, you could be suspected of being with the enemy, and shot.

"But of course, that a company makes such detailed suggestions for its dress code is a little embarrassing," he added.

A businesswoman on the telephone

UBS can live with this look - just don't let those roots show

Women need to take it easy on the perfume, and ideally apply it after a hot shower, and then only after applying body lotion while the skin's pores are open.

They should also avoid wearing "flashy" jewelry or skirts that are "too tight behind." Underwear must not be "visible against clothing or spilling out of clothing." Rather, they should be "skin-colored under white shirts."

Men need to trim their fingernails to 1.5 millimeters, and only wear a pair of lace-up shoes on alternate days, so as to allow the leather to breathe and recuperate.

And for God's sake, "do not wash, nor ever iron your shirts yourself."

Author: Kyle James
Editor: Sam Edmonds

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