Casual Work Clothes

“Don’t dress for the job you have; dress for the job you want.”

You’ve probably heard it before. And, at a time, it was sound advice.

Not so long ago, in 2007, business leaders considered wardrobe an important aspect of climbing the career ladder: 93 percent said a polished, professional appearance influenced one’s chance of a promotion.

Today? That’s a different story.

Jeans have become the norm at creative and tech agencies, but it’s not just start-ups that are going casual. You’ll see high-level executives and entry-level employees alike letting their proverbial hair down — and adopting a more casual workplace wardrobe.

Is casual Friday becoming a thing – every day? A new study by OfficeTeam points to yes. Results show that dress codes across all industries are becoming more casual.

So, what’s with the change?

1. Strict Companies are Getting Lax

There’s an image in everyone’s mind of what a Wall Street banker looks like… and that image is no longer accurate at JPMorgan Chase. In the summer of 2016, the bank sent an email to all of its employees, informing everyone that the company’s new standard of dress was business casual.

Of course, the reasoning behind it isn’t just to give employees the option to wear more comfy clothes to work. It seems as though companies like JPMorgan Chase and other “traditional” businesses want to keep up with new, fresh tech companies.

Don’t expect bankers to roll into work in sweatpants any time soon, but do expect to see them dressed down in an attempt to draw tech workers back into the banking industry.

2. It’s Too Stuffy for Most

When’s the last time you saw your higher-ups wear a suit to work? When’s the last time you slipped into a suit? It’s probably been a while, and you probably don’t plan on rocking one again any time soon.

You’re not alone.

An April 2016 study by Regus surveyed 40,000 residents from 100 countries to find that the suit-and-tie look is too much in most places: 74 percent of respondents said it’s too formal for today’s workplace.

Alternatively, 79 percent said they believed that jeans were okay to wear in the workplace, though only 51 percent think t-shirts make the grade.

Ultimately, it seems as though workers in today’s world think that wardrobe should be up to your discretion: be smart, not stuffy.

3. Companies are Courting Employees

Nowadays, companies are vying with each other to snag ideal candidates from a potential-employee pool that’s dwindling as more jobs open up.

In order to compete with their casual techy counterparts, many companies have had to lower their professional-dress standards in order to rope in younger candidates.

It’s not just millenials begging for this change, either: the 2016 OfficeTeam survey revealed that 58 percent of all workers want a business-casual or casual workplace dress code. The survey covered workers of all ages.

Leave It Up to the Leader

Trying to figure out whether or not your workplace is going to go rogue, fashionably speaking? Consider your company president. If he or she tends to err on the side of casual, then your office will probably take on a similar stance.

Of course, you can’t predict every change that will come to your workplace while you’re there. Even the fanciest CEOs will allow their employees to rock a completely casual look.

They believe it’s a way to stoke creativity, comfort and productivity and, hey, you probably won’t want to argue with that.


Is your work wear going casual? Share your thoughts on social media or in the comments below.

And don’t forget to subscribe to Punched Clocks to keep up with all of our work-related news. 

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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

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