First impressions count, especially if you happen to be a retail UBS banker looking to snag your customer’s confidence. That said, what are some of the new ‘recommendation’s that you too are being assuaged to follow. Curious? Let’s all put on our comfort ready to go underwear and see if we too can pass for Swiss bankers.
wsj: First impressions count. This is the message Swiss bank UBS AG is sending its Swiss retail banking staff with a 43-page code dispensing advice on how to impress customers with a polished appearance.
Echoing rules applied at Swiss boarding schools, UBS’s guidelines go beyond a list of dress “do’s” and “don’ts” by providing hygiene and grooming tips often dotted with aphorisms worthy of fashion and beauty magazines.
The move is part of a test UBS is carrying out in Switzerland across five pilot branches. It follows a recent advertising campaign aimed at re-establishing confidence in the Swiss bank’s brand and mending relations with clients.
Mmh- so far so good. Who doesn’t want to look like a cover model when they turn up to work in the morning? But prey what exactly will this entail?
As if taking a cue from style manuals, which often stress the importance of well-cut basic outfits in neutral colors, the bank expects its retail banking staff to wear suits in dark grey, black or navy blue, since these colors “symbolize competence, formalism and sobriety.”
So no more wild lilac or psychedelic suits to the office? Not even on casual Fridays? Not even if it’s a trendy European label? I guess not. Let’s hope I remember where I kept my receipts so I can return my suits this weekend. Next…
Short skirts are off limits for female staff, who are told the ideal length should reach the middle of the knee. Showy accessories and trendy spectacles are a no-no.
You hear that ladies? Dressing up like sluts is a big no no, especially at UBS. UBS just in case you were wondering frowns at you dressing like a slut. Best to keep that to the weekends on your own time. Next…
“Light makeup consisting of foundation, mascara and discreet lipstick … will enhance your personality,” the code says, while advising women not to wear black nail polish and nail art.
But what if I’m a Goth? What if I like to use mascara to ingratiate my acute individuality? Wont this cause unnecessary existential grief to be denied my true colors? Next…
The hair-care section notes studies have shown that properly cared-for hair and a stylish haircut “increase an individual’s popularity.”
I’m guessing wild bushy hair like Bon Jovi for guys is a no no- not even if I am wearing a hair bun. And for the ladies, what if I like to gel my hair into pocket grenades? Is that beyond decorum too? Would it be more acceptable if it were done by a $300 an hour hair stylist- that way one could argue it deserves cache and merit. Wouldn’t that impress the client if they knew I could afford to spend $300 on a haircut? Next:
On the other hand, designer stubble is out of the question for men, as is excessive facial hair.UBS’s advice for men even extends to underwear, which should be of good quality and easily washable, but still remain undetectable. Black knee-high socks are preferable as they prevent showing bare skin when crossing legs, it says.
So no designer stubble either? Wow- this is beginning to be a real drag. Does that mean a 1970’s porno star moustache is out of the question too? Wow. And I now have to wear fresh underwear everyday too? And knee high black socks too? But I was just getting used to wearing my Mickey Mouse socks to work. I don’t remember any of the clients remarking one way or the other, but I must admit there was this eleven year old boy who kept giving me weird looks. Oh well…
Strong fragrances are unadvisable in the presence of customers, along with garlic and cigarette breath, the code says. The solution: “Avoid garlic and onion-based dishes.”
Garlic, cigarettes? Does this mean if I am French I should re consider working for UBS. Isn’t that racist or something?
Accessorizing for male staff excludes items like bracelets and earrings, but wearing timepieces is encouraged, since wristwatches suggest “reliability and great care for punctuality.”
MMh- so time watches are encouraged. Does that extend to my neon macrobiotic Swatch collection as well? Perhaps if I kept my wrist at a certain angle nobody would notice.
Male employees are also warned about using hair dyes to mask their advancing age, since the “artificial color contrasts excessively with the actual age of your skin.”
Does this extend to hair wigs as well? What if I’m going bald- will clients be offended if they notice my faux hair plugs? Should I just shave my head bald now? Talking of skin, does that mean botox injections and face lifts are to be frowned on too? What if I save that for my annual one week vacation? Would my clients still mind then? What if I accidentally ran into them at the local plastic surgeon’s office?
UBS spokesman Jean-Raphael Fontannaz acknowledged that the code may appear very detailed and “in line with Swiss precision,”
Never mind Jean Raphael, when it comes round to the weekend will all just let our hair down unless there’s a manual for how UBS employees relaxing on the weekend should appropriately relax is in the works…?