What did you wear to work today? Was it a shirt and tie, a blouse and heels, or was it jeans and a t-shirt? How we present ourselves day to day at work has certainly evolved over the years.

Flashback 10 years to when there was a strict dress code… typically speaking for men it was a shirt, tie and smart shoes and for women it was a smart shirt and blazer, accompanied by formal trousers or a skirt. Nowadays we’re seeing jeans, t-shirts and converse in the office which sometimes causes a little bit of controversy. The question is - does it really matter what we wear to work?

The Traditional Approach

Many professionals favour the traditional suit and tie approach. The thought being that if you are dressed in smart clothing, you feel in more of a work frame of mind. It’s much like a uniform. When you’re wearing it, you know you must be your professional self, whereas when you take the uniform off you are no longer in work mode. Many people also associate wearing smart workwear as an authority statement; if you’re wearing a suit you’re perceived to be of importance.

The New Approach

The majority of our current workforce are millennials and with that comes changes to thinking. Wearing more casual clothing has become the latest perk of the job, contributing to potential employees deciding to apply for a job. Many workers have also expressed they feel more comfortable in casual attire whilst at work, which may be the very reason we have seen an increase in relaxed dress codes in order to attract more candidates.

Business Meeting Attire

There is debate around this on how to dress for meetings, with some mixed opinion. The majority believe that wearing jeans to a meeting is acceptable as it allows both parties to feel more relaxed. You should always consider what kind of meeting it is of course. Is it with a colleague or manager? In which case you wouldn’t necessarily have to make a good first impression, or is it with a client or potential customer? In this instance first impressions are crucial, so is worth putting a bit of effort into your outfit?

What’s the difference?

A casual dress code has various definitions across businesses and more often than not people find themselves questioning whether a certain top or a pair of shoes are appropriate. One company with a casual dress code may literally mean wear whatever you like, whereas another company with the same dress code may feel certain items of clothing are off limits, such as flips flops.

The real question is does it really matter what we wear? When you weigh up both sides of the argument, each are equally understandable. There’s nothing wrong with wearing smart business attire if you feel you are going to be more productive, but with modern offices becoming quirky and less office-like, it’s understandable that employees and colleagues alike are going to feel more comfortable in their dress down attire.

Let us know your thoughts on this. What dress code does your office have? Let us know by posting on our Facebook page or tweeting us.