Dressing Down at Work
The pros and cons of dressing down at work
Some companies don’t require formal business dress on every working day. Your employer might for example ask for business dress Monday to Thursday, then allow you to wear anything you like (within reason) on Fridays. Alternatively, some companies have a dress code of ‘smart casual’ throughout the working week. Another possibility is that ‘dressing down’ might be restricted to a few occasions per year, when you would give a small donation to a particular charity in return for the right to wear clothes of your choosing.
Your first thought might be that a relaxed dress code is definitely something to be welcomed. However, dressing down has both advantages and disadvantages.
The advantages of a more relaxed dress code include:
- IT CAN BE MORE COMFORTABLE – IT CAN GET HOT FOR MEN WEARING A SUIT AND TIE
- YOU MAY BE ABLE TO SAVE MONEY AS YOU WON’T NEED AS MANY SMART CLOTHES
- IT COULD BE SAID TO BE FAIRER TO BOTH SEXES, AS FORMAL BUSINESS WEAR FOR WOMEN ENCOMPASSES A WIDER RANGE OF GARMENTS THAN IT DOES FOR MEN
- IT MAKES IT EASIER TO GO STRAIGHT TO A PUB OR OTHER SOCIAL MEETING VENUE STRAIGHT AFTER WORK
- STUDIES HAVE SHOWN IT CAN IMPROVE STAFF MORALE
The disadvantages include:
- IT CAN TURN THE OFFICE INTO SOMETHING OF A CATWALK, WITH YOU AND YOUR COLLEAGUES STRIVING TO LOOK THE MOST FASHIONABLE
- IT CAN HIGHLIGHT DIFFERENCES IN WEALTH BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR COLLEAGUES, I.E. YOU CAN SEE WHO CAN AFFORD EXPENSIVE DESIGNER CASUAL CLOTHING
- IT CAN BE MORE DIFFICULT TO KNOW EXACTLY WHAT IS ACCEPTABLE WORK ATTIRE AND WHAT ISN’T
- YOU MAY FIND YOURSELF STRUGGLING TO DECIDE WHAT TO WEAR TO WORK, WHEREAS WITH A RESTRICTIVE FORMAL DRESS CODE YOU DON’T HAVE AS MUCH OF A DECISION TO MAKE
- IT CAN CAUSE DIFFICULTIES IF YOU ARE SUDDENLY CALLED ON TO GIVE A PRESENTATION, OR TO MEET SOMEONE VISITING THE OFFICE
Whatever your company’s dress code is, make sure you fully understand what you can wear to work and what you can’t. If you’re in any doubt, check with your boss or the HR department. If you get up one morning and are unsure whether your intended garment is suitable for the office, then just to be on the safe side, don’t wear it, and choose something else instead!