Commonwealth Bank of Australia's advice: avoid shiny-finish stockings


Chris Leahy
Published on:

Dressing up down under

An attempt by local lender Commonwealth Bank of Australia to get its staff to smarten up backfired when employees took offence at recommendations contained in the bank’s “grooming handbook”.

The draconian dress guidelines for customer-facing staff included advice on jewellery – woman should wear a maximum of two rings on each hand and their earrings shouldn’t be bigger than a 10-cent piece. Female workers were also advised that “flesh-coloured, smooth-finish T-shirt bras will give you the best, most discreet look” and that they should avoid shiny-finish stockings – “they make your legs look larger”.

Men didn’t escape attention. They should buy six to 10 pairs of matching socks and a mid-calf length was specified for these. Those with smelly feet (you know who you are) were recommended “specialist foot powders”. A haircut at least every six weeks was recommended and they were advised to trim nose and ear hair. Older male employees probably knew this all too well already but it was spelt out to them that this was because “hair in these areas can increase as you age and that may give the impression that you are not well groomed”.

Embarrassed CBA management issued an apology after protests from the Finance Services Union, saying that the handbook issued to retail banking staff was “a guide only and is not a set of policies or procedures”.

Apparently, the guidelines were put together by a consultancy called Corporate Intelligence. It is a shame that CBA did not show some of its own.