UBS Gives Employees 43 Pages of Strict Appearance Guidelines

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Likely it will take a lot more than a 43-page booklet on how employees should "Dress for Success" to restore the battered UBS banking brand. But, nevertheless UBS is sure trying.

Earlier this month, you might recall that trustee for the Madoff Ponzi scheme victims Irving Picard filed a complaint against UBS to recover $555 million. And, ever since the global financial crash in 2008, this Swiss bank has had its share of scandals. For instance, it agreed to pay $780 million in 2009 to avoid U.S. prosecution on charges of helping wealthy Americans dodge taxes.

Well, for what it's worth, here's its hail Mary pass. Today, the media, including The Wall Street Journal, reported on how UBS distributed a 43-page detailed guide on appearance to its Swiss retail staff.

Some of the appearance do's and don'ts include:


For Women:

  • Do wear light makeup consisting of foundation, mascara and discreet lipstick.
  • Do wear skirts that reach the middle of the knee (with a tolerance for extending 5 centimeters below the joint).
  • Don't let your hair roots show.
  • Don't touch up perfume during or after lunch break.
  • Don't wear black nail polish and nail art.
  • Don't wear more than seven jewels.
  • Don't wear new shoes.

For Men:

  • Do store your suit on a large hanger with rounded shoulders.
  • Do schedule barber appointments every four weeks to maintain your haircut shape.
  • Do match your tie knot to your face or body type.
  • Do wear a watch.
  • Don't wear cuff links.
  • Don't dye your hair.
  • Don't wear socks that are too short, showing your skin while sitting. Black knee-highs are best.
  • Don't let fingernails grow longer than 1.5 millimeters.

For Both:

  • Do wear dark gray, black, and navy blue.
  • Do wear underwear that is skin-toned and is "made of superior quality textiles."
  • Do button dress coats when standing and open when sitting.
  • Don't let your underwear show.
  • Don't eat garlic and onions -- ever.
  • Don't smoke or spend time in smoke-filled places.

On the one hand, "Dress for Success" has been known to give some individuals and organizations the edge. Remember those power suits on Wall Street? However, a tailored appearance can't help much if the brand needs a turnaround.

If fact, too polished a look could be a liability. When the Chrysler Company required an overhaul led by Lee Iacocca, the public relations department leveraged the frayed carpets in the executive suite as a sign of the company's total focus on business and its embrace of simple ways.

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