In a significant departure from the traditional workplace attire, a recent study reveals that only one in 10 employees now dons a suit for work in the modern British office. The study, conducted by researchers who polled 2,000 workers, highlights a shift towards a more casual and comfortable dress code.
The attire of choice for professional gentlemen in today’s workplace comprises jeans or chinos paired with long-sleeved button shirts, a smart blazer or jacket, and either loafers or smart trainers. The survey also indicates that a staggering seven out of 10 employees prefer dressing casually, attributing it to increased comfort, while more than one-fifth of respondents feel it allows them to express their personality.
The decline of the business suit is further emphasized by the fact that 43 per cent of workers believe it no longer has a place in the office. In a striking revelation, if a colleague were to wear a suit to work, 43 per cent of respondents agreed that they would stand out like a sore thumb in the modern workplace.
The study, commissioned by a leading hotel brand operating 559 hotels in the UK, sheds light on the evolving landscape of office attire. The survey was prompted by observations from hotel managers who noted a decline in the number of ties, cufflinks, tie pins, and suits being left behind by business travelers.
According to a psychologist at Hertfordshire University, the workplace has undergone significant transformations over the past three decades. Traditions and protocols have given way to a more casual atmosphere, marked by the decline of hierarchy, a shift in leadership style from authoritarian to coaching, and the abandonment of formal dress codes.
The adoption of a casual dress code is not merely a matter of comfort; over half of the surveyed workers believe it is more affordable and requires less upkeep. One in four respondents also mentioned that it alleviates the pressure to look good constantly.
Interestingly, the demise of traditional work fashion is not limited to men. The study highlights how women have adapted their looks in response to the trend for casual work clothes. Women, who once felt the need to conform to a male-centric workplace by wearing power suits with shoulder pads, now embrace a more individualistic approach. The modern female work wardrobe often includes skinny jeans, a smart jacket, a t-shirt or top, and sneakers or flat shoes.
The survey delves into the influence of business figures on changing work attire. A founder of a well-known brand tops the list as the smart-casual style guru. Their shift from a suit and tie to an open-neck shirt and jeans in the mid-’90s set a trend. In second place is the founder of a popular social media platform, known for a casual yet signature style. An iconic fashion designer secures fourth position, followed by a businesswoman known for her entrepreneurial success, who attends meetings in a blazer, jeans, and flat shoes.
A spokesperson for the hotel brand observes that the decline in traditional business attire aligns with the brand’s observations over the last three decades. Modern business travelers, she notes, prefer a smarter, comfortable, and casual look, reflected in the decline of traditional office attire being left behind in hotels.
In conclusion, the study signals a seismic shift in workplace attire, with the business suit losing its once-unquestionable status. The rise of casual dress codes is not just a matter of comfort but a reflection of evolving workplace dynamics, where individuality and comfort take precedence over traditional formalities. As the workforce embraces a more relaxed approach to attire, the days of the formal business suit may indeed be numbered.