For as long as there have been corporate offices, formal business wear has dominated as the acceptable attire to wear at work. However, this seems set to change, as more and more workplaces are opting for a more relaxed dress code.
The advantages of this policy are various, and not all of them are quite as obvious as you’d think. So below are four reasons why employers should cast aside the suit and tie and look to a more flexible dress code—and why employees should place a strong emphasis on a casual dress policy when deciding which firm to join.
1. A more relaxed atmosphere
Casual outfits are simply more comfortable. Wearing a business suit can weigh heavily after a long day, especially considering that most office jobs are largely sedentary. Swapping formal wear out for more comfortable options will mean a more relaxed and comfortable workforce during long days. And if you’re more relaxed and more comfortable at work, stress levels will likely be lowered, which is a vital metric of a well-functioning office. There will also be less pressure to change clothes for casual after-work activities, which is always a bonus.
2. Less strain on finances
If you have to turn up wearing an immaculate suit every day, there’s a whole host of costs associated with this that can be a strain on you. Dry cleaning costs, formal footwear, and the price of the suit itself all add up. And if you’re having to pay for these simply in order to look the part at your job, you may well come to resent the policy and see it as akin to your school uniform policy from childhood. On the other hand, being free of this arguably needless extra cost will improve your morale and your monetary strain. And once you’ve swapped expensive trousers for a trusty pair of Levi jeans, for example, you may even see a productivity boost as a result.
3. Streamlined morning routine
Weekday mornings are already a hectic operation, with school runs, crowded commutes, and all sorts of morning organizing having to be done before the workday starts. When you add to that having to make yourself look formal and professional, an even more stressful morning often results. But if you’re able to wear a low-maintenance outfit and know that it’ll be suitable for both a hectic morning and the day’s work ahead, you’ll likely have more time for checking emails and work tasks before morning meetings. And for late sleepers, it means more time in bed.
4. Ability to express yourself
Business attire doesn’t lend itself too well to individuality—whether it’s the same blue and gray suits for men or drab dresses for women, there’s precious little breathing room for an eclectic dresser. A casual-wear office creates an opportunity for workers to wear clothes that reflect their personality a bit more, which is always good for self-esteem. Of course, this policy has its limitations. There needs to be a basic code of dress, even for casual wear, so employees who dream of wearing flip-flops all day every day might be a little disappointed.
Luke Conod is Managing Director of Buy Jeans and its parent company Denim Nation, providing competitively priced men's jeans and other high-quality clothing from leading international labels.
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