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Consider your body shape: Inside Equity Bank’s strict dress code for female staff

By Winnie Mabel September 12th, 2023 2 min read

Equity Bank has revised its dress code expectations of its staff.

According to a document in Nairobi News’ possession, the bank expects staff to dress in a manner that portrays them as polished professionals.

“On a day-to-day basis, your image needs to be consistent with your vision, values, and goals; your verbal communication, non-verbal communication, environment, message, skills, talents, and experience,” read a statement to the staff.

Women will be expected to dress for their body shapes. Women with hourglass and ‘figure 8’ features were advised to dress in “cross-over or bias-cut clothes” while women with the triangle and inverted triangle shapes were advised to dress in “well-defined and constructed garment shapes for the bottom half of the body” and advised them to avoid shoulder pads and too many details above the waistline.

Rectangular-shaped women were advised to wear garments with either slight flare at the waist or structured pieces. The oval-shaped women were advised to wear shoulder pads in clothing, softer fabrics, longer jackets, and coats as well as knee-length dresses and skirts.

For shirts and blouses, female staff are directed to wear blouses with either of the following materials: cotton, silk, satin, jersey tops, blended tops, chiffon, and cotton camisoles. These have to have ruffled, scooped, high, round, U or V necklines.

They also went as far as advising women on what colors they wanted to wear if they wanted to portray passion, creativity, compassion, comfort, confidence, patience, fearlessness, commitment, and innocence among other attributes.

From Monday to Friday, the “transformational woman” is expected to weather either skirt suits, trouser suits or dress suits that are well-fitted and appropriately accessorized while pregnant women are expected to maintain style and elegance in more relaxed dresses, made for maternity skirts and trousers with matching jackets and within the prescribed colors.

On Saturdays, women are allowed to loosen up their dress code with relaxed styles such as khaki trousers paired with a plain blouse or branded shirt, formal skirts, and structured dresses.

The bank directs women to wear clothes in the colors black, dark grey, navy blue, dark purple, dark green, maroon, dark brown, light brown, and light grey.

In matters of shoes, during the week, female staff are expected to wear court shoes/pumps/mary0janes and on the weekend, they can wear peep toes, sling backs, or low flat shoes. They are also advised to accessorize with either silver, gold, or pearl jewelry, and timepieces; while hair, suit, and eyewear should be minimalist in silver, gold, black, and brown.

Light grey, dark purple, dark blue, dark grey, black, dark brown, maroon, and light brown handbags are also encouraged in order to make a strong image representation.

For black tie events, women are expected to wear long gowns and elegant jewels that will enable them to maintain the “formality of a dignified professional.” They also give directions on makeup styles- use of neutral colors, light shades of lipstick, matt foundations, and neutral polished nails to match skin tone.

The bank frowns on ballet flats, Crocs, sneakers, and sandals within their premises as well as large, loud, and distracting prints on clothes, bags, and jewelry. They also discourage wearing undergarments that are visible through the outer clothing.

Equity Bank is Kenya’s second-largest bank after Kenya Commercial Bank.

It also ranks as among the largest lenders in East Africa, with considerable presence in Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Rwanda, and DR Congo.

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