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This retail store wants you to have gorgeous tanned legs and a bottomless wardrobe to work for them


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Oxford Brookes student Emma Ward shocked people when she tweeted a poster from her old work place with a sexist checklist. 

According to her Linkedin profile, Ward was a sales advisor at M&Co for three months between June and August of this year. She chose to remove the name from the poster and keep the company a secret as she feared it might backfire on her. 

"The idea that I wasn't allowed on the shop floor without "Light makeup" and "tanned and gorgeous" legs is sexist garbage," Ward wrote on Twitter. 

"Were my legs tanned and gorgeous? No. But my name tag was on and I knew the latest sales and stock. Let me do my damn job. We were often expected to wear the company's latest items on the shop floor...which is hard to do when your branch doesn't stock plus size."

"In the two months i worked there they never provided my uniform, tho they could easily replace items for the smaller members of staff."

When asked about the second point on the list, 'are you wearing one of this seasons fashion looks, which is less than 3 months old?' she replied with the following:

"There used to be a clothing allowance for employees, but they stopped that & instead asked staff to borrow outfits for the weekend shifts." 

We spoke to former employee Sarah* about her time at M&Co:

Have you ever seen this poster?

I am familiar with this poster, a copy of it was hanging in the staff room while I was working for M&Co.

What was the uniform code like?

When I was working there, the uniform was black trousers and a black shirt.

I don't really recall anyone being out of dress code while I was there but once I wore a pair of trousers that weren't considered smart enough, and the assistant manager did tell me that I wasn't allowed to wear them from now on.

It wasn't a large telling off but it was done in the middle of the store while customers were around. I do remember a colleague being told by the management that she had to wear makeup, even though she didn't want to.

Overall, I think most people kept to the dress code, and when people didn't to the extent expected, it was something we were berated for.

How did management approach you if you were wearing the wrong uniform? 

The management would not take us to one side if they wanted to talk to us about something. They would do it on the shop floor in front of everyone. That was humiliating and there were times when I was actually with a customer and would be interrupted by the assistant manager who would not wait to 'have a word.'

Did you have to borrow clothes from the shop? 

Borrowing clothes from the shop never happened in my experience, but it is something that would not surprise me at all. 

What do you mean by that? 

I think it's just the environment.

They really wanted us to be selling the products and before I left they were going to change the uniform so we would wear the company's clothes instead of all black (most of us welcomed the change), so it wouldn't surprise me if that's what they did to ensure that the products were worn.

What was the makeup policy like? 

I know that upset a few of my colleagues who were explicitly told it was expected of them. I didn't wear makeup everyday because of my skin, and I was definitely more likely to be put on the shop floor when I was wearing makeup compared to when I was not.

M&Co have been contacted for a statement.

Lead image courtesy of Emma Ward

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