Nanny in Dire Need of New Attire

I have a question for nannies, what do you usually wear to work? We have such a sweet nanny who just wears the strangest things sometimes! I mean, it ranges from totally crummy, loose, old and stained to evening wear and suits! The days she comes dressed like she rolled out of bed I feel like she can't be seen by my clients who have a meeting with me in my office and the days she is dressed in tight shiny evening wear I am worried my children are going to mess up her nice clothes. She has turned up in no shoes, slippers and very high heels. Should I suggest jeans and a jumper? My Mum suggested that I buy her some nice branded jeans and a few jumpers for her birthday but is this rude?

I know this seems strange for me to ask but I am not talking about slightly under or slightly over dressed because it is the extreme of both every day! I adore her, I trust her, I pay her well and I really feel like she is part of our family. Yes, this may seem silly, but having to hide her when she wears holes and stains makes me feel stupid! - Anonymous


NJ Nanny said...

I'm a nanny and while I wouldn't say that my attire is that extreme- I do have days where I will show up in sweat pants and days where I would show up in jeans. Maybe when nanny shows up in evening attire-perhaps she was out all night the night before? Or going out directly after leaving your home? Maybe she has a second Job? And maybe on the days she comes in loose shirts-maybe she just rolled out of bed.. I mean I am not sure but if I was your nanny if you bought me clothes I would be insulted. But you don't know what goes on in nanny's life when she isn't there. Or maybe she just likes variety. If she's a good nanny-maybe you can just let it go? Sometimes when you have a great nanny-you have to pick and choose what you want to approach and what is best left alone? If my mom boss questioned my attire-I would be offended. But that's just me.

Sewickley nanny said...

I work for a great family..I know it is their preference I am dressed almost business casual..if I am in jeans they are darker wash with a nice sweater. The first family I worked for didn't I wore sweatsuits all the time. Why not get her a gift card to the Gap or Anthropologie? I understand where my employers are coming from- I represent their family and their business.

♥ Amy Darling ♥ said...

This post was hysterical. Funny. ROFL.

Honestly, I don't know what you could do. I mean...she sounds like she is trying to still figure out her identity. Is she young?

I honestly wouldn't say anything about her attire. As long as she is doing a great job w/your children, then it shouldn't matter what she wears as long as everything is covered.

NervousMissDee said...

I have a friend who is a bit, uh, eccentric with clothing. She wears bright colors, makes her own clothes and it suits her personality: I cannot see her dressed any other way.

At my last center, we had the option of dressing business professional. Some days I would wear a company shirt and khakis, with minimal or no make-up, other days I would dress up with make-up. Fridays was a jean day, and I would show up with a company shirt and jeans on and chapstick.

Anything is possible here....Would you rather have a good nanny with a strange wardrobe, or a bad nanny with a designer wardrobe?

Wednesday said...

T shirt and jeans. If its real hot I'll wear a tank top with a light blouse or button up over it. Nothing fancy. I'll probably get pureed bananas on it anyway ha

Nannycaroline said...

I bought 3 dollar hanes t-shirts in every color and wear those with jeans or cargo pants. I don't have stains or rips, but I am casual and washable.

MissWi said...

In the summer I wear shorts and an appropriate tank or tee or if we are going on an outing, I'll throw on a casual sundress.
In winter: Its jeans and a tee or if I'm not feeling well I'll throw on the yoga pants.
I basically dress the same as I do at home. I'm not a racy dresser (unless I'm heading to the bar...) normally so my weekend clothes are fine for work.
Your nanny should wear what is comfortable for her without being sexy or anything like that. If she feels fine in nicer clothes, then so be it.
But if her clothing offends you or anyone she comes into contact with, talk to her. I once worked for a family where I was not allowed to wear shorts (cultural) and I was cool with it.

MissMannah said...

I don't really think it is any of your business what she is wearing. The only time I think it would be ok to say something is if her clothes were filthy to the point of smelling bad or if she was scantily dressed and it was making your family uncomfortable. She wouldn't come to work in fancy clothes if she didn't think that they would get messed up at some point, so that is none of your concern. And on days she is very casual, why are you worried about that? I thought your line of "I feel like she can't be seen by my clients" came off as very elitist.

LittleMiss said...

I think a nanny should be able to dress casual and comfortable. I usually wear capris and jeans. But, as long as her clothes are clean, and not extremely low cut that you can see her thong or something worse gross). I think it's okay. But, you are the boss and at the end of the day, if you are uncomfortable by her extreme clothes then you have a right to express it in a nice professional manner. Just like any other employment, she should conduct herself in a professional manner and dress appropriate. I would be concerned if she does not care about her appearance or hygiene.

Manhattan Nanny said...

Either holes, stains and no shoes or super high heels and tight shiny evening wear! I have to say I was also ROFLMAO.
Seriously, I think you are reasonable to expect her to come to work dressed appropriately. High heels and tight evening wear to chase kids around the playground or get down on the floor to play? Umm, no.
I think a nanny should arrive in neat clean clothes, that she can be active in without worrying about getting messy with the kids. She may go home with holes and stains, but she shouldn't arrive with them.
I think you should have a talk with her. Start out by telling her how happy you are with the care she gives your children. Depending on how comfortable your relationship is you might say something like you have noticed she doesn't have a lot of clothes that are kid proof, and you would like to give her a gift card to the gap as a little bonus so she can get some jeans, shirts and sneakers.

a said...

Op, I'm very serious when asking this but is your nanny eccentric in other ways, besides her clothing? Is she American? By ruling out her being from another culture that could explain the odd dressing, the reason I ask about the rest of her behavior is that I do volunteer work for adults with mental illness -- some you wouldn't even know were affected because they're on meds -- however, a lot of them dress very much the way you described your nanny. We don't understand why, but their choice in clothing ranges from very ratty to 5-star dressy.

If the only thing eccentric about her is her choice in clothes, you really need to sit her down and kindly explain (as Manhattan Nanny suggested) that you guys adore her but you'd prefer her choose more kid-friendly clothes. If you want, offer her a gift card (Visa would be best, then she can shop wherever she wants) but be very firm that it is for comfortable jeans, khakis, t-shirts, etc.

Good luck and please let us know what happens!

on-the-road-again-gypsy said...

Holes & stains? Tacky. Id definately tell her what you told us. "I can't have my clients see you in clothing with holes or stains. I am sure you understand." It really is that simple.

Jessica said...

I asked my boss what was appropriate and what her expectations of my attire would be. Since i was taking care of an infant we decided on black yoga pants and t shirts. I left extras at work to change during the frequent spit up diaper blow outs. If we were going to the doctors office or if I was to go out on play dates or to music class I personally would try a little more effort and wear collard shirts with kakis and brown shoes. Now that my charge is older I wear mostly collar shirts and jeans and occasional yoga pant appearance.

Honestly she is your employee and she represents you and your family. If you take issue with how she is dressed discuss it with her. Make time to talk with her away from the children and simply state what you have stated here. Explain that you are willing to pay for a few new work outfits.

RBTC said...

it is 100% your business what your employee wears in your home. Your clients put money in your nanny's hand and food in her mouth so your nanny is the elitist / entitled one if she were to think your clients and their views do not matter to her yet their money in her pocket does matter

when i was younger i started a 3 day a week nanny job and my grandmother was not happy with my day to day shorts/t shirts and bought me 3 outfits, just conservative pull over tops

so yes, your employer has the right within reason to ask you to wear reasonable professional attire

on the "Beverly Hills " nanny show those nannies make 40 per hour and the MBs are REALLY particular about what they wear - and they can be - they are the boss

Let's take a moment said...

Hi, OP. I agree with LittleMiss, Manhattan Nanny, & RTBC.

The bottom line is:
1) She's your employee and you have standards that you want her to meet, including appropriate work attire.

Please don't just up and buy her clothes. That would be rude (and I would feel a bit slighted if I were in her shoes). I like the gift card idea that others mentioned, but depending on the approach used, it also can be seen as offensive. Tread lightly.

P.S. As a future reference, be sure to mention your expectations and/or requirements for work attire when interviewing potential nannies.

RBTC said...

we had an OP once who told the story of her employers who had 3 nannies and they all had to wear a very specific black and white outfit- yes it was a pain

the Op could buy the nanny a couple of cute t-shirts that say "world's greatest nanny" LOL

i don't mean doing it without the nanny knowing - discuss it with the nanny

the thing about the clients is ironclad - explain - i am sorry nanny i know this is a pain but my clients are conseervative and we need to come to a common ground of attire

it's just business nanny - it's food in your and my mouth - it's just one of those things we have to do ;) ;)

anyone who would have a problem with that has a problem with work ethic. If you were to tell her to wear animal fur, or a questionable image like the rebel flag that would be wrong - but professional flexible guidelines? you do not sound a like a dictator LOL

let us know Op - you are the one in the right

{ i have been on the other side of the issue - i worked for a temp agency spending 2 hours taking an older lady to the grocery store. She insisted on pantyhose/dresses in the summer texas heat. i declined further work - but she was totally within her right - no hard feelings!}

gypsy said...

Made me LOL, too! <3

gypsy said...

What people wear sends a clear message to others about serious they should take you. In the business world, projecting an image that says,"I am like you. I am serious about our business relationship. I care about it. I am a professional" is paramount & is translated through clothing. Its important to dress like your clients because it sends them the message that you're on the same level. Its important to dress nicely because that shows you're serious & should be respected & taken seriously. The nannys clothing matter because its an extension of the families image. A nanny represents the family. A nanny with holes in her clothing & visable stains sends the message that the family is disorganized, careless & lazy. I don't think a nanny needs to dress up. Unless, she works in a formal home, the family expects it or its a special occasion. The nanny could even get away with wearing tracksuits. If they're clean, the colors not faded, it has no wrinkles & it isn't too tight or too lose. JMHO.

OP said...

Thanks for all the replies. I understand I have probably let this go too long so now it is harder to bring it up with her. She has been with us 4 months now.

I was speaking to my hubby and what really made me want to take action was my boss coming to bring me my new contract and me feeling like I couldn't even offer him a coffee as a knew Nanny was in the kitchen doing lunch and she was wearing basically pjs. (very worn grey track pants and a mans sweater) she also insists on not wearing shoes. It is just not a good look for me in my home. After all I get up and dress smartly enough to deal with clients when I wish I could stay in yoga pants all day long! Actually nice yoga pants would not be a problem for me.

So we decided that sometime next week I will bring up the ideas I have on what is appropriate to wear to work. Jeans, cargo pants etc and a nice clean tshirt or blouse. Then I will ask Nanny is perhaps we could all head to Gap together so I could start off her work clothes and perhaps also get some sneakers and some uggs to wear around the house in winter. I may also buy her some tidy yoga pants and jumpers.

I hope she isn't upset. It is just the position that I am in where my home is where I conduct my business and you are correct - my income = hers.

Thanks everyone. MissMannah I am going to have to disagree with your comments however. They did not seem to be kind at all.

Susannah said...

Since you want her to adhere to a certain dresscode I think you should not only nicely make it clear about the type of clothing you desire but provide her with a job clothing allowance.

I've had employers do this for me in the past. With one family I was given a monthly stiped of $800. They wanted me to wear scrubs daily.

In the past I have had it in my contract where I am reimbursed for on the job clothing or given a monthly clothing allowance of about $100. I typically get things from Target or Old Navy Things like slack, jeans, t-shirts, sweaters.

Since it's paid monthly it's easy to replace items that become to stained or worn.

Is she yooung? Sounds to me like she is building a wardrobe from the odds and ends she's gathered from her life in high school and college.

The only problem I see is that this has gone on for 4 months so she might feel attacked.


Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

The only way to do this without upsetting or ticking off your nanny is to make this ALL about your clients/employers perceptions, and NOT about you in any way.

"Nanny, I want you to know how happy we are with the job you're doing caring for little Maddie and Jacob. I appreciate the enthusiasm that you bring to the job. I do have a small issue that is all about how my clients and employers perceive ME. I need you to wear something of a uniform, simply because it will make a better impression on any business associates I have at the house. I would like to treat you to a shopping trip to buy some walking shorts/capris/yoga pants/khakis/jeans and some t'shirts/tops that are washable, comfortable, and easy to care for. I would like to offer to spend $XXX on these clothes for you because this is something *I* need, rather than something you are freely choosing to do. We can also work out a plan in which you get a twice yearly amount to spend to replace anything that has become worn out or too dirty to wear!"

There's no way to make this discussion completely pain-free, but making it all about you and your own concerns on how you come across to your own work peers is key. She may think you're odd, but she'll also, hopefully, be happy to have free work clothes.

RBTC said...

Op - don't worry when posters on here kind of seem unkind - sometimes nannies on here get a little frustrated and some of them are not able - yet - to see things from the point of view of the person WRITING THEIR CHECK lol !

It should not matter that it has been 4 months and i agree with the poster that says - make it all about the clients and tell her how good she is doing

it looks a little worrisome because - working with your kids in pj's, no shoes while fixing food in the kitchen - that shows a problem

i just had to part company with a contractor who would NEVER wear the accurate things to my jobs and we liked her - we painstakingly would buy things for her and these things were mentioned in the ad hiring her, she would get a 'fish eye " look on her face when - at the jobs we would have to send her into the bathroom - just to put simple lip gloss on ! etc

but gosh ! offering to buy her some nice professional clothing for the job - if she sneezes at that - she's a fool ! - let us know what happens

you are not only completely right but a very good employer !

MissMannah said...

I still do not understand why it matters so much what she's wearing. Like I said previously, if she doesn't stink or you can't see her goodies, I don't think it is that much of a problem. I also cannot understand why the nanny needs to dress to impress your boss. If she is coming to your office and meeting with clients regularly, yes I can see how it could be a problem. But your boss stopped by once, to talk to you, and you were embarrassed by your nanny's very casual outfit. And finally, the shoe thing. I NEVER wear shoes at work, simply because I want to be comfortable. Why is this wrong? I think you are a little too tightly wound.

And before someone else smarts off about how I can't see my boss's POV, I will remind yall that I work with a WAHM and she wears her pajamas all day long. I wear jeans everyday so in a sense, I dress up more than she does.

Sewickley nanny said...

Honestly I think the gap is a great idea..the clothes are pretty are going about this in a nice appropriate I wouldn't be offended if my employer bought me clothes!! In fact my boss does often pick me up dresses from little boutiques, buy me cute tennis shoes when I have complemented hers, even bought me gift cards for manicures. Now..I love clothes and I don't think my nails have even polish free in over 5 years, so it's all good!!!

PA said...

Let's all agree to ignore RBTC ( you run a catering company dear nothing like being a nanny) and the other rude and condescending posters that subtly or outright pick at other posters provoking a fight and pretending not to understand their wrongs.

heavens said...

If it bothered you so much ,OP why have you waited 4 months to correct the problem?

For someone so concerned with image and being professional you have certainly dropped the ball.

Sidebar, why would your clients ever seee your nanny. It would be more professional to have an area seperate from your home and work where never the two meet. I don't think professionalism when clients and bosses need to waltz through the main part of the house to meet with you.

Perhaps you are projecting your own shortcomings onto your nanny.

Unless your nanny is entirely clueless she will see right through you trying to blame your feelings on the clients.

Sure by her a new wardrobe and offer a stipend to keep her well dressed while she is employed with you, but I wouldn't expect her to stick around long.

RBTC said...

PA - if you are ever in texas drop me a line - i would love to have you WORK FOR ME, i'll put some money in your pocket lol

ps- my co has been successful with children and families for 30 years so - the point of view of the person who signs your paycheck is valuable, and businesses with children have overlapping issues - but please do ignore me - you are a valuable asset to this site and i will value your view

no one says that this particular Op is the only way or the right way or the specific way it should always be - all some of us are saying is that she is the employer, she is writing the check and she can reasonably decide what her employee will wear

if the nanny objects - she can find a sahm who wants to wear pajamas all day

i turn down clients on a regular basis who want us to wear something we don't like EXAMPLE : polyester referee shirts in 100 degree texas heat! we said no it has to be cotton and THEY backed down cause they like our work!

on the other hand, we had to let go of someone who would not wear a dress ( she answered an ad for a princess character )

so yeah - the nanny has the right to quit and the mom has the right to insist on a reasonable dress code - this is a great country !

OP said...

My homes layout is just that way - the hallway to my office is off the TV room which is very open plan on to the kitchen and dining room. I can't change that!! Shall I just build another office? Sorry to sounds bitchy but commenting about why my clients see my home is really beside the point. They see it and nanny is in it!

Mostly at the start I was only taking meetings 1-2 times per week though now it is more like 1-2 a day. So possibly in the past the issue was there but not everyday. I must admit however I put my head in the sand on this. I was hoping it would just change itself but I know that was silly of me. I am not a perfect boss, still working on it and didn't really know if it was my place to insist. It's harder with a Nanny as somehow you don't want to offend the person who gives so much to your children.

RBTC said...

Op - saying again - you are darned if you do and darned if your do not lol

these very valuable posters who blow up because it's been months are missing the point that you are using an amazing amount of descretion - getting advice - caring about the situation before taking action

some of these same posters get upset if the MB or husband makes a decision asap - you are darned if you do and darned if you don't

you are an amazing mb to think so much about this - you are right !

bottom line :

if she is the cat's meow with your kids - you say that to the client!

" Oh horsefeathers nanny is funny/eccentric but she takes care of BUSINESS which is what i do too!!!"


if she's iffy with the kids and compromises your living! let us know what happens

what is the answer?

Lyn said...

OP, I think I would just phrase the conversation something like this: "Nanny, I'm sure you've noticed but my clientele has been increasing and we are opening our home up to have meetings with them much more frequently than several months ago when you started working for us. I know this wasnt part of our original agreement, but because things have changed since then and our home is being used much more often as a place of business, we (husband/partner) and I would like to regulate a work wardrobe for you. Nothing insane, we don't expect you to come in business suites each day. And because this wasn't part of our original agreement we don't expect you to pay for it. We will gladly cover the added expense. Here is a list of items we would like to suply you with for your day to day workwear."
You can then add how you would like to pay for these things. A shoppping trip together? A monthly stipend? Also, Nannies (definitely including myself on this one) can be a bit sensitive about changes in the workplace, so please make sure you are telling her how much you appreciate all she does and how great she is with your little ones! :) we love hearing the positive affirmations! :)

As for what I wear daily? I own so many pairs of yoga pant. I truthfully probably wear them 2 or 3x a week. I also wear dark denim capris, dark wash jeans, cheap tee shirts layered with cute tank tops, hoodies in the winter, dolman shirts (which I LOVE btw! So great for wash and wear and looking put together and smart for taking kids out!), boyfriend cut cardigans over tank tops. Really just what I wear normally.

Also, am I the only Nanny who saftey pins her tank top straps to her bra so she isn't constantly having to adjust or watch for over exposure? Haha!

christine said...

I work in a home office as an assistant. I usually wear jeans and a casual top or sweater in the winter and shorts and a tee shirt in the summer. We seldom have clients in but when we do, I dress in a conservative skirt and blouse. My boss has really fabulous clothes and gets dressed very professionally when clients come in... she cleans up real good! Once, she said something to me along the lines of my getting "prettied up" for work every day. I looked at her, it was easily 3:00 in the afternoon and she was wearing her bathrobe... I nicely said- well, I'm more dressed up then you are now. She never said another word.

BHN said...

Amber got a pay cut from $35 down to $20 & has since been fired btw.

Beezus said...

Haha Lynn I've been safety pinning my tops since middle school!