When are jeans appropriate attire for work?

Update: The Jonesboro mayor has fired Jonesboro Police Chief Brad Johnson. Why? See below:

Recently, there was a story about Brad Johnson, the Jonesboro police chief, who was suspended because he refused to wear a traditional police uniform. Instead, he chose to wear jeans while on the job. Mayor Luther Maddox was not amused and considered Chief Johnson’s choice of work attire as insubordination. He suspended him for five days. The suspension was appealed and cut in half.

Chief Johnson has relented and now says he will wear a uniform to work.

When do you think it is appropriate to wear jeans or other casual attire to work? As the summer season approaches, this becomes more of an issue in the office, as not everyone agrees on the amount of skin one should show while in the workplace, or just how casual one’s attire should be on the job. For someone in an official city position like the police chief, do you think they should be required to wear a uniform?

76 comments Add your comment

John Tackett

May 14th, 2009
11:17 am

Would the Chief allow his officers to wear jeans on duty? If not, then he should not wear them either.


May 14th, 2009
11:20 am

Jeans are okay when the Boss says it’s ok!


May 14th, 2009
12:11 pm

Within in reason – jeans should be fine. Meaning no tootight, low riding, jeans with holes, or graphics. I know that people with common sense would know that these type of jeans are inappropriate, however, believe it or not our jeans day was taken away for the reasons stated above.

As a police chief, it would be out totally – unless as Mr Tackett says, the officers are allowed.

Cutie Pie77

May 14th, 2009
12:13 pm

I guess it depends on what is written in the code of conduct book. if there is not any specific regulations on uniform, then no, you shouldn’t be requried to wear it.

personally, I feel jeans should only be allowed on casual friday.


May 14th, 2009
12:16 pm

I think as an officer of the law he should wear a uniform. As far as us non-law enforcement, I see no problem with a casual Friday where jeans are allowed.


May 14th, 2009
12:21 pm

Let’s be real people not everyone can wear jeans to work. I don’t want to see anyone’s underwear or muffin top in the office


May 14th, 2009
12:24 pm

Depends on your job. If you work at Family Dollar, than why not!


May 14th, 2009
12:32 pm

My workplace is business casual, meaning no jeans during the normal work day, but people who work help desk during the evening/night hours have a much more flexible dress code, and folks who are on 24×7 coverage can wear whatever they want (within reason) if they’re called into the office in the wee hours of the morning


May 14th, 2009
12:54 pm

My office is allowed to wear jeans 5 days a week. We never see anyone, so it’s no big deal what we wear. It’s nice perk!


May 14th, 2009
12:56 pm

My company has recently went to an all casual dress code allowing jeans any day of the week. However, we were told that no jeans with holes or bare midsections. We are also not allowed to wear tennis shoes except on Fridays. This was a very welcome change and seems to have increased morale at the company. No more dry cleaning bills. But of course, we were told to use common sense when dressing…nothing objectionable. So far everyone has complied.


May 14th, 2009
1:02 pm

I can wear anything I want to work…even my pj’s…I work at home for my company..great perk! :-)


May 14th, 2009
1:09 pm

When you are doing physical labor or work in a jeans store they are OK.

Eleanor Rigby

May 14th, 2009
1:15 pm

I remember when police officers had to wear a cap, a tie and patent leather shoes. They were so handsome in their uniform and it commanded respect. I also remember when nurses had to wear a cap and a dress, no slacks. The rare woman police officer also had to wear a skirt. I also remember when people would always dress up to go downtown. I miss those days. I guess I’m old.


May 14th, 2009
1:36 pm

It all depends on the look and quality of the jeans. If they are faded, torn, etc. then of course it’s not okay. In the same way that torn or stained khakis would not be okay. But, if they are a consistent, dark wash and you look put together, why not? What’s the difference between nice jeans and a pair of khaki pants?


May 14th, 2009
1:46 pm

Not only does my company allow jeans, we were shorts..The owner of our company said that he tried the suit and tie gig and that wasn’t him. He said that if people wanted to deal with him, they will have to accept him as he is..He ahs been known to go to meetings with his worout clothes on and a do rag around his head..I’ve been with this company for 25 years and we have always been able to wear shorts and jeans..In fact the VP is wearing flip flops to work today..

We are a fairly big company with about 45 people and have been in business for over 80 years, so I guess it works fine..


May 14th, 2009
1:47 pm

Sorry for the typos…


May 14th, 2009
1:55 pm

I think it depends on the company. I went into Washington Mutual once and everyone was so casual and lax all I could think was that I didn’t want the people handling my money to act and look like they’re on vacation. Wachovia had a much more mature demeanor and now look where both banks are. Call centers, day care centers, pet sitters and the like should be allowed to dress down. Or if its a place where clients are in and out, it looks bad to have people looking casual. But if no one sees you, wear what you want.


May 14th, 2009
1:56 pm

I’m wearing jeans right now, so YES!


May 14th, 2009
2:01 pm

At some places of work, casual Friday has become casual Monday throurh Thursday with Friday becomming “Lets wear our yard working clothes to work day. It is embarrassing and un professional.


May 14th, 2009
2:18 pm

My office has casual Friday’s when we are allowed to wear jeans. I am always in a good mood on Fridays because of this. I am just more comfortable in my jeans. I an understand looking professional when you see clients, but I’ll never understand people who sit in box all day long being told to wear uncomfortable clothes that no one but their computer and 4 gray walls are going to see.

justice isserved

May 14th, 2009
2:23 pm

I teach school and jeans are allowed only on special occasions. I think a police officer, unless the assignment is an undercover officer, should wear a uniform. The chief is the supervisor he should be leading- setting an example. Plus I love to see a man in uniform!!!


May 14th, 2009
2:27 pm

People are so uptight. The biggest crooks wear a suit and tie each and everyday, yet we don’t trust the guy with flip flops and jeans on who is perhaps closer to having a check on reality, than a tight az suit wearing prick in 98 degree weather. Again who is better prepared??

Wardrobe Malfunction

May 14th, 2009
3:04 pm

What Royce said! And who cares what cops wear? The uniform does not make them any less of a creep.


May 14th, 2009
3:54 pm

Refer to the dresscode.


May 14th, 2009
3:55 pm

Never in a professional work environment. Even if the boss says it is ok… have some standards people!


May 14th, 2009
3:58 pm

Of course, I think people who wear sweatpants outfits out in public have given up on themselves (who have not just come from the gym). Why even brush your teeth for that matter


May 14th, 2009
4:01 pm

Amen Royce..sc, who says that you can’t have standards in jeans? If the owner of my work place says that I can wear jeans every day, why shouldn’t I wear them..I can’t tell you the number of people that have told him and us that they wish they could wear jeans at work..Comfortable, happy people make for great workers..


May 14th, 2009
4:12 pm

Depends on the kind of person you are. Leader or Follower?


May 14th, 2009
4:27 pm

Well since the owner is 75 years old and has a very successful company, I’d say he’s a leader..As for his employees, most of us have been here for over 20 years, so I wouldn’t consider us followers, we all own our own homes, cars and take vacations yearly..Either way you want to phrase it, I’m happy in my job wearing jeans..


May 14th, 2009
5:34 pm

Malika, your argument is flawed. Washington Mutual employees only wear jeans on Fridays and Saturdays. They are also owned by JP Morgan Chase. They are also one of the FEW banks that passed the stress test and is doing ok. Wachovia, on the other hand is under investigation with Wells Fargo, who bought them out.


May 14th, 2009
6:28 pm

As my Dad used to say. As long as the job gets done!!!!!!!! The snake of the office may be designer down and the person wearing the jeans is running the place.


May 14th, 2009
6:56 pm

Doesn’t matter what you wear long as it’s clean, not tatered or offensive & the employees act professional. Look at Trader Joe’s, great place to shop & customer service. I’d love to wear tropical shirts to work.


May 14th, 2009
9:59 pm

Public Safety should be wearing a uniform, though should they wear Type A (dress) BDU types or standard should be open to interpretation. Elsewhere jeans should not be a problem.. I don’t even understand why newscasters have to wear a dress clothes. Wearing ties should be as a very last resort kind of thing. Reminds me of the problems a certain legislator had wearing jeans in the Georgia House of Representatives. Come on now get a grip! I’ve worked in all matters of work environment jeans don’t destroy productivity or respect.


May 14th, 2009
10:00 pm

does it really matter? jeez, whats important is that the job is getting done


May 14th, 2009
10:17 pm

Jeans are never appropriate in any office or professional setting. Neither are tank tops, capri pants, or anything else plainly casual. A professional job is just that–professional. If you don’t want to dress appropriately for the job, them you don’t want the job. You should quit or get fired–no ifs, no questions asked. This is a nobrainer.

Walter Little

May 14th, 2009
10:19 pm

I see nothing wrong with the Chief wearing jeans. Some people – and I’m thinking of Jonesboro’s mayor – jump all over the stuff that does not amount to a hill of beans, but are afraid to address the issues that are really important.


May 14th, 2009
10:40 pm

Jeans are fine to wear at work, period. John is apparently one of those people who believe in perception instead of work. John, please quit your job now since you obviously care more about the way people look than how they perform.

I have worked for a few different companies in the last couple of decades, and the ones that were overly concerned with OUTDATED concepts of ‘perception’ have all had troubles because other companies with less gestapo like tactics have taken all the better employees.

Jeans are fine, as long as they are worn in a ‘business casual’ fashion. That means no baggy jeans, no holes, no stained colors to make them look dirty, no dragging on the ground, and no low riders or overly tight jeans. I have seen people dress, act, and work, far more professionally in jeans that the unethical, uptight, dress for success but don’t let ethics get in your way old-schoolers.


May 14th, 2009
11:43 pm

If you dress professionally, you will work professionally and do the job right. If you dress casually, you will work casually and be less careful in doing the job correctly. A person who doesn’t take pride in how they dress at work won’t take pride in how and where they work. No employee of mine will ever wear jeans if they want to continue working.


May 16th, 2009
2:14 pm

I don’t think one clothing item should overpower the outfit–Johnson wore jacket & tie with jeans (which has failed to be mentioned here). It’s not like he’s out there in jeans & a t-shirt, c’mon! If it costs over $200 to dress him in uniform (on my dollar), screw it, let the man be comfortable (& pay for his own attire) as long as it’s professional–and I find jacket & tie professional(regardless of the stinkin’ jeans).

Get over it people–we need to budget! Not to mention we should be allocating funds to better train & pay our law enforcement, not to buy them shiny new duds! Who gives a crap how spiffy their attire is–they need to catch the criminals!!


May 19th, 2009
3:20 pm

As the Chief of Police, hs should dress like the Chief, No Jeans. Police departments are a paramilitary organization and those at the top should dress like it. Also, from his picture, I heard the Family Dollar had razors on sale.


May 19th, 2009
6:02 pm

There’s no way to justify a Chief of Police wearing jeans. He represents the law enforcement arm of the City and should do so in professional attire or a uniform. If he wants to wear jeans to work he should get a job as a construction worker or a Calvin Klein model.


May 21st, 2009
10:45 pm

There is something more to this story than is being reported……….. On the subject of what has been reported, I never have read where he refused to wear a Jonesboro PD uniform…….. Just that he was asked not to wear jeans. From what I saw, he complied, and was willing to serve some portion of his suspension.

That to me does not sound like a Chief that should be fired. Sounds like he assumed he could wear cloths on duty that he in fact could not………… He was willing to pay for his misunderstanding, but that was not good enough for the Mayor, so he fired him…………. That is unless there is something else not being reported.

Hate getting half a story, but thats the norm these days…………..


May 21st, 2009
11:37 pm

You wear the uniform the boss says to wear. The police Chief works for somebody. He lost his job for being dumb. Go wear your jeans at home dumb A$$.


May 22nd, 2009
12:21 am

These are the EXACT words from the Luther Maddox for Mayor website… “”I am the only candidate that will form a team with the council to take Jonesboro forward. The constant bickering and personal agendas will stop. I will consult the council and seek their input on issues as they arise during the course of running the city.”

I know the best and brightest from Harvard don’t line up for office in Jonesboro, but this is pathetic. Absolute hypocrisy, but what can you expect from a moronic hick town???


May 22nd, 2009
12:23 am

I’ve seen the video reports of this guy. While I’m sure there are small town politics at play here, there is NO WAY I’d allow a man with a handlebar mustache, rotten/missing teeth, and a mentality that thinks it’s ok to wear cowboy boots to work be my police chief. What were they thinking to BEGIN with when they hired him? This isn’t lower Louisianna, folks. It’s metro Atlanta. At least fake at being professional!


May 22nd, 2009
2:36 am

Americans are too image-conscious.


May 22nd, 2009
5:03 am

Sounds like there is a bigger problem than just jeans here with the termination. I would strongly suggest the chief retain a employment lawyer specialist and file a suit against the city.

Mariah Strobe

May 22nd, 2009
5:31 am

If you are in a physically demanding job, I belive jeans and dark (not colored or white) sneakers are fine.


May 22nd, 2009
5:55 am

A Chief of Police or any ranking official in law enforcement is a leader that sets standards for the men and women that serve under their command. Therefore, as a leader they are expected to lead by example.


May 22nd, 2009
7:02 am

It reflects his attitude of the seriousness of the job and of the capability to follow orders. I know what the rules are, but I don’t care to follow them. The man doesn’t possess the attitude or the respect for the job and is now right where he should be – FIRED!!!


May 22nd, 2009
7:48 am

If the previous Chief was wearing jeans for any duration, then the subsequent Chief is repremanded for the same action, it apears that there is another underlying issue. Jeans were an excuse.


May 22nd, 2009
8:25 am

Semper Fi and I agree. (He’s a Marine, I’m Army). Jeans are where we are as a society. They can be dressed up or down. It normally puts the person receiving the “wearer” at ease. If you were going to a formal meeting, then appropriate dress mandates. This is nothing more than an excuse. I work for a laarge corporation, they still beleive in business casual, which are slacks and polos. What is the difference between that get up and jeans? Lighten up folks. Really….

Owned by 3 huge dogs

May 22nd, 2009
8:34 am

It is possible to look “professional” in jeans……if you wear them the right way and with the right shirt and jacket. Jeans are perfect as a uniform. As a nurse, I wish I could wear them too. They wear better, last longer, and are much less expensive than the whites that I have to wear. And it is my understanding that he is (was?) the chief in a smaller community. He most likely did not sit in an office all day. I truly would rather deal with a cop in a pair of jeans than some hotshot in a perfectly tailored uniform. But then I am an old hippie anyway. And I have never been a mainstream thinker. But common sense and logic are not mainstream in today’s society, either. Don’t back down, chief, some of us have your back.


May 22nd, 2009
8:44 am

Brad is a good man and I doubt he’s ever met a stranger. He’s one of those few people who will do whatever he can to help you no matter what your circumstances are. I doubt he’s out on patrol on a daily basis and therefore if the policy manual says he can dictate the dress of the department then he’s within his rights to wear whatever he deems appropriate. I don’t see the Mayor winning a judicial review of the case. If they’ve had 6 police chiefs in 9 years it sounds like there is a problem somewhere else besides the police department……specifically the Mayor. He’s seems like he has nothing else to do but to but into everyone’s business!! Give’m hell 406!!

exmarks the spot

May 22nd, 2009
9:10 am

This is not about jeans, this is about ego, power and the abuse of that power. It’s time for a new mayor!


May 22nd, 2009
9:12 am

I doubt the real issue is jeans, it sounds like a small-time politician is trying to make himself look more important than he really is! Too bad it isn’t this easy to get rid of politicians in office!

As for the jeans, there is NOTHING wrong, in the case of the (former) Police Chief it may have made his job easier to look more casual when dealing with the public. I have to wonder if the useless mayor will require undercover cops to wear uniforms when on duty?

Owned by 3 huge dogs

May 22nd, 2009
9:30 am

Oh and that remark about his teeth was really uncalled for…….I would be willing to bet that the department doesn’t offer much in the way of dental insurance and do any of you have any idea what the chief’s salary is? Not too many honest cops are rolling in dough.


May 22nd, 2009
9:32 am

Get real… the issue is not with the Chief wearing jeans – time to get rid of the old school Mayor!

Troy Bolt

May 22nd, 2009
9:55 am

Sounds to me like Boss Hog is at it again. He kinda favored the Hog. Small town politicians are most of the time on a power trip. The chief stopped wearing the jeans when he was told to so whats the problem now.

The Voice

May 22nd, 2009
9:59 am

I work in public safety and how you present yourself to the public is most important. When we arrive on the scene we have to take control and if we arrive looking like Bubba from In The Heat of The Night then were are looked upon as Barneys from Andy Griffith. He is the Chief. He leads the department. He should be the most professional one there. He openly challanged the mayor (who is recgonized as a first class moron) in public. Never Never Ever air your dirty laundry in public, it does nothing but cause problems and lower morale. I don’t feel sorry for the chief….I feel sorry for the officers.


May 22nd, 2009
10:06 am

Luther Maddox is an ignorant redneck. What Brad Johnson wore was fine and professional with the included sport coat and cowboy hat. I guess now every top cop in the state of Texas is unprofessional. You can look professional in nice jeans. It made Brad Johnson more approachable and that is what the public likes. It is time to get fat backwoods redneck squeal-like-a-pig slobs like Luther Maddox out of office but I guess first we will have to remove his head from his a$$.


May 22nd, 2009
10:35 am

The Mayor has the authority to ensure his top police officer dress appropriately. The Chief in turn should set an example for his subordinates. The Police Chief must understand that when he is in the public eye; his appearence is judged by the citizens who help elect him into office. While his attire was clean and his appearance was in order; this was not a good example to set for the other police officer. You come to the office in a professional dress attire setting an example for the rest of the police officer to follow. When dress on duty in jeans it send a wrong message that other police officer might follow. It would not look professional if any police officer show’s up in jeans to make an arrest or to try and solve a problem dressed in that manner. If this was not an ongoing offense, the Mayor should administer the chief a written discipline letter. A chief does not disobey the Mayor’s orders even if the Mayor is wrong. Chief, you can wear your Jean off duty when you are out shopping or around your community. I think you do not mean any disrespect to the Mayor since you were already in your Jeans oand dress coat on your job! If you were working uncover, he Mayor would not disagree with you wearing jeans. I think the Mayor do not want this to become a trend with police officer that might assume they can do the same. Atlanta detectives wear their dress hat when going to honmocides calls, they look good because they are also wearing suits. Those hats are appropriate.

C. M. Thornton, III

May 22nd, 2009
10:44 am

I have been a cop for 15 years. I would like to comment that jeans and a fu-manchu mustache are by NO mean professional attire and grooming standards for a chief of police, especially in the metro Atlanta area. The chief represents the entire department and that department’s image. If the chief does not want to wear the uniform that he demands his officers wear, at the very least he needs to wear slacks, dress shirt and tie. The chief must set the example of professionalism for his officers to follow. This chief obviously does not do that. They mayor was right to enforce a professional appearance for the police department.

On a side note, it’s standard world-wide for police departments to wear uniforms. In fact, on our department’s application there is the question, “Do you object to wearing a uniform”. Uniforms represent unity and professionalism. Blue jeans, injected into this setting, represent individualism.


May 22nd, 2009
10:45 am

Is the mayor black?


May 22nd, 2009
10:49 am

I think the lesson he learned here is that jeans are appropriate to wear to the unemployment office.


May 22nd, 2009
10:53 am

Six Police Chiefs in nine years? I don’t think the problem is with either the Chief or with the jeans. Sounds like that city has some serious problems with management, and the Chief is just the latest scapegoat.


May 22nd, 2009
12:05 pm

The mayor did not forbid the chief from wearing jeans. I think that if he had told him not to wear them and they were still worn, he should have suspended him. The city council halved the suspension, and they were supposed to meet tonight. But the mayor jumped the gun and fired the chief. Sounds like a “petty power decision”to me…or a p***** contest!


May 22nd, 2009
12:50 pm

The whole thing sounds personal…… a vendetta !


May 22nd, 2009
1:31 pm

In the metro Atlanta region, people shake their heads once again! There goes Clayton County.

In the words of Allen Iverson…
“we talking about jeans!”

What is the change in the crime rate of the municipality of Jonesboro, GA?

How many officers have increased their professional training and skill level during the tenure of Chief Johnson?

Has the Jonesboro Police Department assisted in improving the conviction rate of the DA’s office for cases involving Jonesboro, GA?

“Are we talking bout jeans?!”


May 22nd, 2009
3:11 pm

We are talking Clayton County people…..the ghetto! Who cares what he wears if he has to run after drug selling thugs and murderers! It is 2009….Small town USA good ole boy system makes me sick. I am sure he is more comfortable trying to keep rotten Clayton County safe in jeans than in a uniform….and it saves tax payer dollars – they do not have to pay for the stiff uniforms that are heavy and very uncomfortable! Get Real Mayor – look around and see what is really important. Jonesboro was once a nice place…..now is it terrible.


May 22nd, 2009
3:13 pm

Enter your comments here


May 22nd, 2009
3:40 pm

Here is my take, not just on Clayton County, but on corporate America, period.

If a person is handling their business in their job duties, it should not matter what they wear to work. Yes, I understand in some professions business attire is more appropriate, but I’ve learned that clothes do not necessarily equate to adequate job performance. Just like a degree does not automatically make a person qualified for a job. There are more important things to focus on in the workplace.


May 22nd, 2009
6:23 pm

Again – EVERYONE READ THIS. These are the mayor’s OWN words. This is what HE said in running for this office. He completely lied.

“”I am the only candidate that will form a team with the council to take Jonesboro forward. The constant bickering and personal agendas will stop. I will consult the council and seek their input on issues as they arise during the course of running the city.”

[...] had a good, spirited discussion on BlogBreak recently about the Jonesboro police chief who was fired for wearing jeans instead of a traditional uniform to work. A recent article suggests that casual days at the [...]


August 3rd, 2009
2:39 pm

I have several stories on this subject Many years ago in the sixties I use to hang out with a Rock and Roll band the group would have go and do an audition before they would hired to do the gig.

I would help the group set-up the equipment my attire was a pair bell bottom slacks generally a plaid design a nice button type shirt with the wide collar and a pair of dress shoe with a pointed toe.

Now the Manger would show wearing clothing like he had just finished working 7-3 shift at the local gas station pumping gas and doing oil changes. On many occassions the owner of the club or the person who was in charge to hiring the the group would come up to me and start to talk to me as if I was the Manager of the group. Hmm

I went to work for a Travel Tour Company driving a Motor coach. The dress code was a tie a dress shirt with the company logo (they provided) a sport coat (again they provided) a pair of dress slacks (provided).

When there was a two or three bus move the senior man was always the lead Bus or Bus # 1. Several times when we would arrive at the pick-up point and be lined up in order, The lead Driver would not have on a tie, or a sport coat. I on the other hand would be dressed in the provided uniform. The group leader on many occassions would walk up to me and assume I was leader even though I may been the last bus in line. Gee I wonder why ??? Maybe because people think the professional looking person looks MORE responsible More organized ? ?

It has been proven time and time again that the customer or client forms his opinion in the first 15 seconds I repeat this 15 seconds of meeting you! ! Hmm



December 11th, 2009
5:31 pm

As far as the chief wearing his uniform: He should not wear jeans daily, but on occasion if he’s not on patrol and in the office with no formal meetings whats wrong with that? However, I can remeber my father and uncle both police officers making sure their uniforms were perfect. They both wore a pull on black uniform wellington style boot (i think the same syle as Andy wore in the Andy Griffith Show) that were highly polished. (I had to polish my fathers) I have to say when they were in their uniforms they looked professional and they were respected.