Navigating Office Dress Codes with Tattoos: Creative Solutions and Style Tips

Navigating Office Dress Codes with Tattoos: Creative Solutions and Style Tips

The workplace has evolved considerably over the years. Today's companies value diversity and inclusion, promoting a culture that embraces individuality. One aspect of this shift is the growing acceptance of visible tattoos in the workplace. While some sectors have been quicker to adapt than others, the attitude towards tattoos is gradually changing across the board. This article offers practical advice on incorporating visible tattoos into professional attire, making tattoos a part of your personal brand, and tips for advocating for tattoo acceptance at work.


Understanding the Popularity of Tattoos

Tattoos have surged in popularity in recent years, particularly among younger generations. Millennials and Gen Z are known for their expressive tendencies, and tattoos have become a popular form of self-expression. According to YouGov research, 33% of Brits have at least one tattoo, with 13% having a visible tattoo.

However, despite their widespread prevalence, tattoos still carry a certain stigma, especially in professional contexts. Around 63% of people still consider visible tattoos unprofessional, revealing a generational divide in attitudes towards tattoos.

Navigating the Legal Landscape

When it comes to employment laws and regulations, the UK does not have any specific laws dealing with the issue of tattoos in the workplace. This means employers have broad legal rights to implement policies requiring employees to cover tattoos during work hours or reject job applicants because of their tattoos.

However, it's important to note that tattoos related to religious or spiritual beliefs may warrant protection under the Equality Act 2010. This means employers should be cautious about making decisions based solely on an employee's visible tattoos.

Addressing Employer Concerns

Despite the cultural shift towards accepting visible tattoos in the workplace, many employers have legitimate concerns. These include maintaining a certain company image, managing customer perceptions, ensuring coworker comfort, and adhering to health and safety regulations.

Companies should aim to strike a balance between upholding professional standards and promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace environment. An overly strict anti-tattoo policy could deter qualified candidates, especially from younger generations, from applying for positions.

Dress Codes and Tattoo Policies

Many companies address the issue of tattoos through their dress codes and appearance policies. These policies may include provisions for covering tattoos, restricting the size and location of tattoos, and prohibiting offensive tattoos.

When implementing policies, it's important for employers to ensure that they are enforced equitably and communicated clearly. This helps minimize the risk of discrimination claims and promotes a more inclusive workplace environment.

Tips for Employees with Tattoos

For employees with tattoos, navigating the workplace can be tricky. It's crucial to understand the company's policies and culture towards tattoos, and be prepared to discuss them in a professional manner. Complying with company policies and demonstrating professionalism can go a long way in dispelling negative stereotypes associated with tattoos.

Advocating for Tattoo Acceptance at Work

Encouraging a more inclusive atmosphere towards visible tattoos in the workplace requires advocacy. Employees and employers alike can play a role in shifting perceptions and fostering a more accepting environment.

Changing Workplace Perceptions of Tattoos

Changing attitudes towards visible tattoos in the workplace is a gradual process. Employers can play a key role in this shift by focusing more on an employee's skills and capabilities, rather than their appearance.

The Role of Fashion in Tattoo Acceptance

Fashion plays a significant role in how tattoos are perceived in the workplace. By incorporating tattoos into professional attire in a tasteful and appropriate manner, employees can help normalize the presence of tattoos in the workplace.

Making Tattoos a Part of Your Personal Brand

Tattoos are a form of self-expression and can be a powerful part of an individual's personal brand. By showcasing their tattoos in a professional manner, employees can demonstrate their uniqueness and individuality.

Inclusive Dress Codes

Companies can foster a more inclusive work environment by implementing dress codes that accommodate tattoos. These policies should balance the need for professionalism with respect for individual expression.


The acceptance of visible tattoos in the workplace is a complex issue, influenced by cultural, generational, and industry-specific factors. However, with careful consideration and an open mind, employers and employees can navigate this issue successfully and create a more inclusive and accepting work environment.

By advocating for tattoo acceptance, implementing inclusive dress codes, and offering creative solutions for employees with tattoos, companies can contribute to a more diverse and inclusive work culture. After all, a person's ability to perform their job is not defined by their appearance, but by their skills, experience, and commitment to their role.

Additional Considerations

Both employers and employees should consider several additional points regarding tattoos in the workplace. Employers should regularly survey staff attitudes towards current tattoo policies and consider allowing temporary tattoo coverings during the interview process. Employees, on the other hand, should research typical tattoo sizes and placement options, and consider waiting until after the recruitment process to get new visible tattoos, especially in conservative sectors.

By considering these factors, both parties can contribute to a more open, accepting, and inclusive workplace environment.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.