1/24/97 -- 5:02 PM

Permitting Pants,0294


DALLAS (AP) - Electronic Data Systems is slackening one of the last vestiges of Ross Perot's crew-cut management style.

After decades of only skirts and dresses, women at EDS got word Friday that the fashion-repressed company relaxed its dress code to allow pantsuits for women employees.

Despite loosening of the rules, EDS was still stiff about what would be allowed in its hallowed halls.

``My understanding is the biggest change in the new appearance policy is the inclusion of tailored trousers with coordinating jackets as part of the accepted business code for women,'' said EDS spokesman Steve McGregor.

Only matching outfits will be allowed at most of EDS' sites and jeans are still taboo, the company says.

EDS once operated under a starched-military-style dress code instituted by Perot, its founder. Workers were destined to dark suits, lace-up shoes, short haircuts and no facial hair.

After Perot left EDS in 1986, the company dropped the no-beard policy from its dress code.

Women are ready for the pants-permitting policy.

``We just put out the memo today and the women seem pretty enthused about it and are ready to come in next week and wear pants,'' said Jennifer Dominguez, a research and development group manager who had worked a couple of months on the trouser treatise.

While there has never been any formal ban on certain attire, at EDS it's always been understood that tattoos, flip flops and nose rings are out.

``I haven't seen anything in the policy that pointed things out like that,'' said Ms. Dominguez. ``It's just what is accepted and what's not.''

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