Suits, ties and starched shirts are probably some of the things that come to mind when you think about work attire.
But the increasing influence of the casually dressed tech sector and the move to home working seems to be rubbing off on even the most traditional sectors.
So are smart dress codes a thing of the past?
Well first off, there are some professions where smart dress will always be de rigueur.
Barristers in suits and wigs aren’t going to be embracing hoodies anytime soon. But there is a movement toward casual clothing across sectors and job roles.
So, why has the trend in professional dress code shifted?
One theory suggests that switching to a more casual dress code attracts top millennial talent.
Workplace culture expert, Jamie Notter explains that the shift shows how the companies are focusing more on their employees ‘rather than management’. An aspect which is appealing to millennials.
So what are the top jobs for those of you who are allergic to super smart clothes?
Startups and technology companies have paved the way for the adoption of the casual dress code. The Silicon Valley uniform of hoodies and jeans has become ubiquitous with many software engineers refusing to get suited and booted.
But bear in mind that even if the dress code for a company is very casual, it might pay to leave the hoodie at home for the job interview.
A Facebook user operations analyst candidate quoted on Glassdoor suggested wearing “business professional” attire, even though the interviewer will most likely be in jeans and a T-shirt.
Dress code can vary by department in some firms.
Programmers’ disdain for suits has also infiltrated the world of corporate technology consulting.
Tech consultants at big companies like Deloitte are often allowed to pad around the office in shorts and flip flops (even while their colleagues in audit are in pinstripes).
UX designers often work in technology, so it’s little surprise that they are also rarely found in super-smart clothing either.
Creatives have long had more wiggle room when it comes to what to wear at work, but with UX designers increasingly in-demand, they have the ability to work on their own terms.
Freelance writers rarely work for investment banks from glass palaces, so it’s little surprise that they aren’t renowned for their power dressing. Freelance writers typically work from home and so can wear whatever they wish.
Customer Success Manager
Not to be confused with customer service, customer success is an area of growing importance in startups and technology.
Customer success teams are dedicated to helping customers achieve their goals.
They optimize their company’s value in the eyes of the customer by providing them with useful resources and reliable support.
Customer success teams rarely have in-person interactions with their target customers, most support is done remotely, meaning you get to wear whatever you want (on your bottom half anyway).
Say archaeologist and what do you think? Big archaeological digs in far-flung locations? Unlike UX designers, the role of an archaeologist has been around for a while.
The first modern archaeologist is arguably John Aubrey, who investigated Stonehenge and other stone circles in the 17th century.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that suits are impractical for investigating ruins and digging for rocks. So it’s still a safe bet for the suit averse we reckon.
Below are some examples of the big companies that have made changes to their dress codes in recent years.
In March 2019 the investment bank released an internal memo saying:
“Goldman Sachs has a broad and diverse client base around the world, and we want all of our clients to feel comfortable with and confident in our team, so please dress in a manner that is consistent with your clients’ expectations.”
This was said to be a clear move to make the working environment more casual.
Back in 2016, the firm told its employees that it was making the typical Friday ‘business casual’ its everyday dress code.
In an attempt to reinvent the business’ image, IBM chose to embrace what they call ‘appropriate dress’. That is jeans, a shirt and a suit when it’s more appropriate.
In 2016, the global investment management corporation announced that it was relaxing its business casual dress code even further. It now allows its employees to wear jeans.
In 2019 Virgin Atlantic confirmed that they were relaxing their dress code following feedback from an employee preferences survey. The changes encourage female flight attendants to express individuality. They can now choose to not wear makeup and wear trousers, not just skirts (how nice of them!).