State Farm tightens dress code: No more shorts

By Associated Press
Posted Jan. 4 at 6:20 a.m.

Three years after they relaxed the dress code for employees at their Bloomington headquarters, the State Farm Insurance Cos. are tightening it up a bit again. As of this week, shorts are forbidden.

The Bloomington Pantagraph reports the change is primarily aimed at the Corporate South complex, specifically the systems department. Some employees there who don’t regularly interact with customers or upper-level management were wearing shorts on warm-weather days.

Eliminating shorts affects corporate headquarters too, but it hasn’t been a problem there because so many employees are exposed to upper-level management and dress accordingly.

State Farm has more than 15,000 employees in Bloomington and Normal, making it McLean County’s largest employer.

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  1. Todd M Jan. 4 at 11:17 a.m.

    You gotta watch those IT people. They’re a litlle off.
    I can’t make one reasonalbe excuse to wear shorts to work unless you work outside. Use common sense people. It’s still a business office, whether or not you interact with executives or customers.

  2. Steve O Jan. 4 at 11:44 a.m.

    Todd M – is it just not possible to post a comment without disparaging some group or individual? Make your comment about it being a business office, fine, but do the world a favor and resolve to quit attacking people on forums. To coin a phrase ” (u)se common sense, people.”

  3. Meriwether L Jan. 4 at 12:52 pm

    Oh, looks like a help desk monkey got his feelings hurt!

  4. AC Jan. 4 at 1:04 pm

    Next the company will be forcing proper hygiene on them! Oh, the horror!

  5. Mike M Jan. 4 at 1:15 pm

    Indeed, it is only ever possible to compose oneself in a professional manner if one is dressed in a professional manner. My company experimented with allowing younger professionals to have unbuttoned collars under ties, but found production to be 38% lower and incidents of unprofessional behavior – posting Dilbert cartoons and the like – to be up 153%. Simply unacceptable.

    On a personal note, I wonder how it is even possible to do office work whilst your knees are exposed to plain air beneath your desk? Is it not distracting? These “short pants” are nothing “short” of insanity – children’s hooplah & shenanigans. (Please forgive the pun – thinking about short pants seems to have made me a tad unprofessional).

    No wonder State Farm is coming back to the rational conclusion that work can only be done properly with suits, ties, and as little color as possible. Ladies may wear dress slacks instead of proper ankle-length form-unflattering dresses on occasion, but only at a truly “wacky” company. Goldman Sachs could pull it off, but probably not those gentle souls at CSB.

  6. LAB Jan. 4 at 1:20 pm

    Sounds like a group of uptight downstaters again. This is just the atmosphere where one faux pas is grounds for termination. State Farm is McLean County’s largest employer, so they can dictate anything they want. They, like any downstate company, hold all of the area’s economy in their hot little hands and when they decide to tighten on the employees, watch out.

  7. rwilymz Jan. 4 at 1:20 pm

    IT people ARE a little off, from developers and data wonks to sysadmins and the managers that came out of the group.

    Various “styles” I’ve gone through in 30 years:

    Sport coats, jeans and flip flops
    USNavy jumpsuits
    wool suits with pocket squares – and clashing socks

    I’ve worked with people who dressed as batman, who wear as much of their SCA garb as they can and meet the dress code, who where their barn boots to work.

    Psych 201: certain career fields tend to attract the more creative among us; IT is one of those fields. Creative people tend to dislike fitting into molds [or being fitted against their will] whether they’re “common sense” or not.

    If you want a group of dull gray cogs, then hire CPAs. If you want creative IT people who can make your computers do new and fascinating things, then take the oddness that goes with it.

  8. State Farmer Jan. 4 at 1:32 pm

    Sounds like a group of uptight downstaters again. …. spoken like an up-stater that doesn’t have a clue. The shorts needed to be recinded because people who not being ’smart’ about what kinds to where … short, short or ripped shorts…. a few ruined for the masses. Adn SF doesn’t dictate to their employees, hence the reason why so many people want to work here. They value their employees AND their opinions. We aren’t going back to suits and ties, just applying common sense that the “Y” generation can’t seem to apply to themselves.

  9. State Farmer Jan. 4 at 1:34 pm

    and yes — I didn’t catch my misspellings…. now you have something else to comment on about us ‘downstaters’….

  10. Joey Jan. 4 at 1:37 pm

    I worked at Corporate South in the Systems Department in the 1990s and the dress code was relaxed then – not just 3 years ago as the article states.

  11. Downstater Jan. 4 at 1:54 pm

    Mike M-Well played, good sir.

    Successful troll is successful.

  12. WOot Jan. 4 at 2:13 pm

    Arent there other things to worry about besides dress codes? Like getting unreasonable requirements fulfilled on time with less resources?

  13. mary contrary Jan. 4 at 2:17 pm

    As an HR manager I’m sick and tired of hearing of how the creative types just don’t like to do paperwork or don’t like to conform to whatever policies every other employee in the non-creative departments must adhere to. Grow up and follow the rules like everybody else all you so called “creative” employees.

  14. Mike M Jan. 4 at 2:38 pm

    Ms. Contrary,

    As a so-called creative type, I’m “sick and tired” of HR-types telling me I can’t be trusted to do my job if I’m wearing jeans. Believe it or not, programming computers can be done even while naked. The material covering my buttocks, be it denim, brushed cotton, silk, vinyl, leather, or just air, has no relation to the quality of my code.

    Not filling out job-required paperwork is a different matter entirely. If you’re getting hundreds of complaints about unnecessary paperwork being unnecessary, perhaps you should ask yourself what you really do with all that paperwork. Does it make you feel “grown up” to print a report and put it in an envelope? I feel all grown up when I get good pay checks for work well done and can take my wife out to nice dinners. Sometimes I even change out of my jeans for that.

    We creative types tend to ask questions about why rules are necessary. Some are and some aren’t; it’s only being counterproductive and immature if you continue to protest the rules even after finding out why they are necessary.

    As to the much-repeated notion that we aren’t grown up… not to put too fine a point on it, Ms. Contrary, but if you read our posts, which one of us sounds like someone who is composed in a mature manner? Which one of us is disparaging the other? Admittedly, I used “HR types” with a clearly derisive tone, but there was a literary purpose to it (echoing your own), and if you don’t think sarcasm fits proper rules of decorum on the internet, I’m honestly surprised you know how to leave comments online.

    That last sentence isn’t meant to be mean – it’s quite literal. I would place a fair bet that anyone who knows how to post a comment is aware that comments on message boards may be sarcastic.

  15. Patrick Jan. 4 at 2:44 pm

    rwilymz sez: “Psych 201: certain career fields tend to attract the more creative among us; IT is one of those fields.”

    Psych 301: little darlings like to think they’re special.

  16. mary contrary Jan. 4 at 2:57 pm

    Mike M, you really impress yourself don’t you? Yes, that was immature of me. But honestly, you must really love to hearself talk.

  17. Mike M Jan. 4 at 3:06 pm

    Ms. Contrary,

    Have you been to the internet before?

  18. Mike M Jan. 4 at 3:07 pm

    … looks like I haven’t — accidental tab to button.

    What is a comment board if not a place to express ideas, and yes, hear yourself talk (in a sense)?

  19. kick 100% of your a** Jan. 4 at 3:09 pm

    How can I finish the TPS reports if I am uncomfortable?

  20. paulyballgame Jan. 4 at 3:13 pm

    Why is this a news story? What’s next, Motorola cuts PTO days from 12 to 11? Aon is reducing it’s 401K matching percentage?

  21. Active Jan. 4 at 3:23 pm

    IT’s working in a large office are definitely not part of the creative personalities in the office. At State Farm maybe there aren’t any- perhaps the ad manager.

  22. random IT guy Jan. 4 at 3:32 pm

    Simple solution is for the systems guys who want to wear shorts to wear a UtiliKilt (, instead. Meets the dress code and gets the extra cooling all in one. (detractors in 3, 2, 1…)

  23. Rich Jan. 4 at 3:44 pm

    And this is a story WHY??????????????

  24. Mike M Jan. 4 at 3:59 pm

    Rich – My guess is the dreaded slow news day. Also, crusty old guy who can’t stand people working in shorts decided to put out a told-you-so article about how us young-uns are finally getting our comeuppance rather than being catered to.

    Can’t mention the generational gap and stereotype of Millenials as being coddled without saying it: Enjoy your pensions, old folks who can’t stand how coddled we youth are. My generation won’t even understand what such a thing is when we’re your age. “What… you mean people used to get paid without even going to work? And the trade off was that they couldn’t wear shorts in the office? Well, yeah, that sounds fair.”

    Alternately, enjoy the social security that I’ll pay for, but likely see little of when I’m retired. But by all means, make sure whippersnappers like me shouldn’t be allowed to wear shorts, because that’s just shameful.

  25. Chuck Jan. 4 at 4:58 pm

    Mike M: How is posting a Dilbert cartoon is “unprofessional behavior”? Your sentiment is exactly what makes Dilbert cartoon popular.

  26. brett favre Jan. 4 at 5:16 pm

    i like ines sainz in shorts – wow – boing boing boing!

  27. Mike M Jan. 4 at 5:23 pm

    Chuck – It’s unprofessional the same way satire are sarcasm are. Also, you may want to reread some of my posts.

  28. Steve Jan. 4 at 5:25 pm

    I’m a current systems employee at State Farm. A few misleading parts in this story is that this applies to all departments and shorts were never allowed at Headquarters.

    The most recent relaxation of 3 years ago allowed jeans, t shirts, shorts, and sandals. There were still standards as attire had to be clean, in good condition (no holes or rips), and non offensive. I’m sure at least part the recent change is because of a few people abusing the right and not leaving much to imagination, and also to make the code uniform for all areas

  29. HoHumm Jan. 4 at 5:38 pm


    Creativity does not necessarily correspond to intelligence, or artistic endeavor. A plumber unplugs a drain creating once again the proper flow of wastewater, whereas garbage disposal buries detritus.
    Then again, chickens create eggs, and cows create milk.

    Thus the local computer drone’s equating his work product as “creative” is in a way correct. But he seems more interested in acting the part of a prima donna with all the accompanying bad manners , floundering under the idea that all things artistic, regardless of their true worth, deserve special handling.

  30. tim browne Jan. 4 at 5:51 pm

    Professionalism is such a relative thing. I (briefly)worked at an advertising agency where the co-partners didn’t speak to each other. Oh, and each brought their dogs to work… and they peed on the carpeting pretty much daily!

    Now, that was a real professional environment…

  31. kons Jan. 4 at 6:01 pm

    Its not so much the shorts themselves, but some wear really them really short, tight or skimpy. This could lend to inappropriate comments, staring, gaping, etc. The person wearing the short then would complain for harassment, followed by lawsuits (yes, its the US way)…

    All of which could be minimize by not allowing shorts or lowcuts.

    HR wannabe.

  32. Desiree Jan. 4 at 6:14 pm

    I am a “baby boomer” and I don’t like to conform to a professional dress code. I’d rather wear jeans every day rather than having to maintain two wardrobes, which is a waste of money. PS look what all the Wall Street types were wearing when they destroyed the economy

  33. wow Jan. 4 at 6:34 pm

    Great story. Really worthwhile. Morons.

  34. Frank Jan. 6 at 4:24 pm

    It makes much better sense to have an aesthetics committee to approve all workplace garb. Some people look good in shorts and others should be more covered. Not everyone can wear short skirts or tights well. Those who can should be allowed and encouraged to do so. Employees well over the 200-300 pound range should be required to be fully covered at all times.