Casual dress favoured in UK workplace

The majority (56 per cent) of UK directors now believe that ‘smart casual’ dress is the most suitable everyday office attire, according to the fifth annual Aziz Management Communications Index.

Furthermore the research, carried out by The Aziz Corporation, the UK’s leading independent spoken communications consultancy, shows that casual dressing could be good for business, with 40 per cent of directors believing that firms operating an informal dress code appear modern, innovative and forward thinking.

Since last year’s survey there have been marked changes regarding acceptable dress codes in the workplace. Sixty-two per cent of companies now allow casual dress in the office when not meeting clients while 32 per cent of companies now allow employees to dress casually all the time, compared to only 16 per cent in 2000.

The research also found that female company directors are considerably more sceptical about the merits of casual dress than their male counterparts. Forty-two per cent of women believe that a suit is the most appropriate outfit for everyday office life (compared to just 27 per cent of men) while 91 per cent of women believe that a suit should be worn for business meetings (compared to 77 per cent of men).

Khalid Aziz, Chairman of The Aziz Corporation, said: “Today, in the war for talent, firms are making great efforts to become more ‘employee-orientated’ and the greater acceptance of smart-casual attire is a reflection of this.

“However, despite these trends towards a more casual dress policy, it is worthwhile noting that first impressions do count and that appearance is an important part of communication. Our research shows that while smart casual dressing is on the increase, the emphasis is very much on the word ‘smart’.

“The old adage that people should dress for the job they want, rather than the one they have, remains true. While it is important for companies to look at all aspects of an employees working life, from office attire through to surroundings, there is no doubt that the smarter people look, the more seriously they are taken.” (MB)

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