What’s the office dress code?

Two-thirds of UK employees enjoy following a dress code, rising to 67% among 18 to 24-year olds and 69% among 55 to 64-year-olds, new research has found.

Of those surveyed 57% said they did so to look more professional to customers, 26% said it made them feel professional and 9% felt it made everyone equal.

By contrast, of those who felt employers should loosen their dress codes, 28% said it made people feel uncomfortable, 24% complained that they didn’t allow people to show off their personality and 18% pointed out that styles were always changing anyway. The study also revealed that nearly a quarter of men and more than a fifth of women had been told off for wearing the wrong attire to work.

But some companies are loosening up on tighter dress code policies. Goldman Sachs was recently praised for relaxing its strict City dress code, which banned clothing items such as short trousers for men. In a memo to staff, the banking titan said it would be embracing a “year-round casual dress code”, though requested that employees consider their smartness when in client-facing meetings.

Dress codes can be useful for letting people know where they stand, and alleviating concerns about getting dressed in the morning. It is important, however that when developing a dress code, employers consider what is appropriate and practical in the office.

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