There has been a real shift in the work place on what to wear. A move by creative companies such as Google and Facebook to wear more casual dress has become a part of new workplace culture.
Attitudes toward dressing for business have changed significantly over the years. Once upon a time, most workplaces demanded suits, ties, dresses, skirts, pantsuits and other formal work wear. In some professional service industries, women were not permitted to wear trousers!
It is a question that often comes up for job interviews; I would always advise to go as smart as possible, unless advised otherwise. See Amanda Underhill’s Blog on Dress Etiquette for Interviews. Which leaves no room for doubt on dress code!
I always ask this question as would not want an interviewee to feel out of place.
Personally I always clarify further when I hear the dreaded ‘smart casual’ (what is that anyway?) Jeans and jacket? Skirt and blouse? Are clean trainers allowed? – answers on a postcard please! Smart casual can mean different things to different employers.
I think it does depend on the culture. I have worked with retailers where you would be out of place if you didn’t dress ‘on brand’ even as a HR professional joining the business.
I have heard of a retailer, reject candidates based on their ‘style’, candidates would be well turned out in professional dress, which would be appropriate for any interview in the HR profession, however rejected based on the fact that they weren’t ‘on trend’ enough, this particular retailer had expected candidates to visit the store and find out what the shop floor wore and dress accordingly in line with their potential colleagues.
I must admit personally I do prefer having a more formal dress code at work; it puts me in the right frame of mind and always allows me to switch off at the end of the day when I can completely relax leave work at the door and remove the formality of the day.
A dress down day is of course is always welcome. Casual Fridays have become a staple of many work weeks, but dress-down days can be extended to other situations as a way to reward employees for good work, thereby boosting morale. Something very much liked by the Ashley Kate HR team.
I think casual Fridays are a way to reward employees on an on going basis. It marks the start of the weekend with a reprieve from the norm. Dress-down days can be used as an occasion for company-wide charity fundraisers that help bring employees together in support of a good cause. Casual days can also be a reward for reaching a sales goal, successful conclusion of a major project or realising any other achievement.
Dress-down days do not have to be free-for-alls. In some workplaces, it may be appropriate to wear trousers and a button-down shirt on casual days, but inappropriate to wear jeans, sandals or shorts. My advice is don’t leave employees guessing. Determine what is appropriate for your kind of business and whether employees will be interacting with customers on casual days. You still want to project a professional look to clients. Lay out guidelines for dress-down days in the formal business dress code and employee manual and cover the subject during training.
For me an office environment with a smart dress code works on many levels and takes the thinking time out of what to wear in the morning.
But then perhaps I was one of the geeks who used to love wearing a school uniform and be excited at the prospect of a yearly trip to Clive Marks (other school clothing retailers are available)
But in todays working world does it still matter how you dress? Just because you’re a sharp dresser does this make you a better fit than a sports billy?
Gemma Thomason- is a Senior HR Recruitment Consultant for Yorkshire and the North West. She is a customer focused, HR Recruiter and a key member of our Northern team.
Gemma has had key success in filling roles in the Yorkshire and the North West area including several at Regional HR Manager level with a global distribution firm, HRBP’s for a national Not-for Profit organisation and also in the Professional Service sector. She enjoys recruiting in the specialist areas of HR and has had some great outcomes especially in the Reward area recently. If you require any assistance with recruitment please feel free to contact Gemma direct on 0114 221 8000 or email Gemma.email@example.com you are more than welcome to connect with Gemma on LinkedIn or follow her on twitter.