All that is
As Mel puts it: 'I don't ..
As Mel puts it: 'I don't understand how they think it is OK.'
Well, Mel, I'll tell you why I think it's OK — and why I have no sympathy for your cause.
First, you chose to work in a service industry, encountering members of the public; presumably you read the dress code before you took the job.
Second: you chose to work in a store that prides itself on being upmarket and glamorous, a destination store; not a stall in Romford market.
Third, a sloppy dress code leads to a sloppy attitude. An unmade-up face tells me you find it hard to get up early enough to attend to your maquillage.
This is not sexist: I don't want to buy anything from a man who hasn't bothered to shave either. It's simply to do with attitude.
Women who feel no compunction to improve what nature bestowed upon them are, in my experience, arrogant, lazy or deluded, and frequently all three.
This is especially true in the service industry, where a bare face is no more acceptable than a dentist with halitosis. It tells me that a woman doesn't really care what others think of her.
Wearing even a little make-up shows respect to others, demonstrating on the outside that you are professional, a stickler for detail, someone who doesn't cut corners.But there is one aspect of Ms Stark's case that I do find puzzling: why does any intelligent women (whatever her workplace) need a manual to tell them what is or isn't acceptable. Surely common sense should do?
The banking giant Credit Suisse, for example, has a 44-page dress code which includes an edict to avoid black nail polish and visible roots regrowth.
Why do they need one at all? If a senior banker doesn't know how to dress appropriately, they shouldn't be in the job. After all, no barrister needs to be told that it would be unwise to sum up a case wearing harem trousers, a nose ring and a fluorescent pink scrunchie.
Of course, intelligence and hard work are important, but we shouldn't underestimate the reassurance a smart appearance gives others and ourselves. If a woman or man can't run a comb through their hair, how can we expect them to run a corporation?
Look at Christine Lagarde, the new head of the International Monetary Fund, in her Hermes and Chanel. I see a woman who has organised her life impeccably, not someone who is either frivolous or permanently frazzled.
Of course, a dress and personal grooming code can be taken too far. Both Abercrombie and Fitch and American Apparel have got into legal hot water for discriminating against the overweight and the ugly, but I have to point out here that both are businesses, not government departments.
They are selling a lifestyle, and therefore should be able to hire people who fit that fantasy. The commercial playing field will never be an entirely level one. Although American Apparel's edict that hair 'must be dyed to compliment [sic] skin tone' made me wonder: I'd have thought an ability to spell was pretty important, too.
And for all those moaning minnies who want to hide behind freedom of expression and feminism, I say this: There is a very good reason why personal grooming is such an integral part of training (for both sexes) in the armed forces: soldiers must learn to follow rules in order to survive, no matter how petty those diktats may seem.
Like it or not, the same principles apply in daily life. Looking smart, dressing well, is an important discipline, perhaps the first one that children learn to manage for themselves, as they climb into their school uniforms each morning.