Time to Ditch Your Suit and Tie: Why Professional Dress Codes Are No Longer Feasible

For decades we have had the mental image of a business person in a suit and tie, carrying a briefcase into the office, as the standard professional dress code. According to this traditional thinking, strict dress codes convey a sense of authority, responsibility, and trustworthiness. This is pertinent as an employee’s appearance is considered a reflection of the company. But, this thought process is archaic with an increasingly remote workforce. How can you expect someone to wear a suit and tie in their own home when you can only see them from the chest up? How can you strike the middle ground of appropriate comfort and professionalism?


In a survey performed by OfficeTeam, 56% of employees surveyed said that

they prefer more relaxed dress codes. Shifting to a more casual dress code for telecommuters in current conditions could be an easy way to let employees feel appreciated. However, 41% also admitted that sometimes they are unsure about whether a piece of clothing is office-appropriate. That is why creating an informative and concise dress code is critical. Furthermore, the dress code should be gender-neutral both comply with workplace regulations and be inclusive to your entire workforce.

To maintain a professional look while wearing casual and comfortable clothing, look for button-downs, blouses, and T-shirts in solid colors. The fewer logos or words, the better. If your full body is going to be visible, dark-wash or black denim free from rips and holes. Although clean, not-too-flashy sneakers may be okay, stick to closed-toe shoes, and always avoid flip-flops. Clothing that reveals too much cleavage, your back, your chest, your feet, your stomach, or your underwear is not appropriate for a place of business, even in a business casual setting. No dress code can cover all contingencies so employees must exert a certain amount of judgment in their choice of clothing to wear to work.

Virgin Atlantic has recently changed its dress code for female flight attendants who now no longer need to wear makeup and are allowed to wear trousers. Additionally, according to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, roughly 50% of companies currently have a casual dress code, a 6% increase from 2017 and an 18% increase from 2014. A testament to how important the guidelines are to an office.

In conclusion, adopting a more relaxed dress code can have significant benefits for your organization. It can make your company more attractive to potential employees, promote gender equality, increase morale, and even boost productivity.

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