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Is Wearing A Suit To Work A Thing Of The Past?

Posted April 24, 2013 by Melanie to Career 0 0
This post was written by a EasyFinance.com Community member. The views expressed below may not reflect the views of EasyFinance.com.



Two decades ago, almost anyone who walked through a business or financial district would have noticed a sea of people clothed in black and grey suits. Now, in some cases, things have changed. Below, we’ll take a look at two possible reasons for the new trends, and let you know how to confidently pick a wardrobe when it’s time to head to the office.

Did the Startup Culture Spark the Shift?

Many of today’s motivated startup companies get off the ground with help from twentysomethings, and an article at the VentureBeat website suggests that these youthful entrepreneurs have played a role in turning the tide from slipping into a business suit every day, or selecting something that’s substantially more casual. Often, startup companies are defined by the personalities of the people who start them, and if the CEO is likely to don a pair of khaki shorts and a plaid woven shirt instead of a business suit, it’s more likely that other employees will follow that lead.

The Wall Street Journal has even profiled a San Francisco technology startup called Pulse. There, employees eagerly dress oppositely to how the majority of companies across America treat Friday dress codes. At Pulse, employees participate in “Formal Fridays,” by dressing in their Sunday best on Friday and, according to co-founder Akshay Kothari, being “super casual” during the other work days. The Wall Street Journal article further reports that in Silicon Valley, a place long recognized as a technology hub, dressing casually while at the office is now a trend in the majority.

The Rise of Working Remotely

Now that technological advancements continue to occur at a rapid pace, a growing number of companies are allowing employees to work remotely, especially if their job duties don’t require a great deal of face-to-face customer interaction. Dimagi, a Cambridge Massachusetts-based firm is a great example. Like the workers at Pulse, Dimagi employees are involved with technology. The Inc. website published an article about the company and noted that Dimagi has projects in over 20 countries, and some programmers were working outside the home office

The company began planning to let employees temporarily move to Brazil to complete work there. Although not every employee was able to make the trek, some stayed for a full six weeks. Although this case is one of the more extreme examples, it helps to suggest why opportunities to work remotely might further encourage dress codes to take a more casual turn. After all, if a group of employees has the chance to stay productive against the backdrop of a sunny Brazilian beach, it’ll be a lot harder to enforce a stricter dress code for the people who stayed behind in their usual climates.

Playing It Safe

Although these two examples illustrate how the dress code is strikingly different from times past, CNN reported that UBS Financial Services does not allow women to wear more than seven pieces of jewelry simultaneously, while men are prevented from wearing cufflinks. Also, last year, USA Today reported that the Disney company, known for having a particularly strict dress code for “cast members” who work at theme parks finally did allow men to have facial hair as of last year. Still, employees must keep fingernails short, can only paint them in a neutral color, and are forbidden from having visible tattoos.

This only proves that no matter where you’re getting ready to work, it’s crucial to ask about the type of dress code you’ll be expected to conform to. That’s the only guaranteed way to know that you’re taking the safe route when it comes to suiting up for a day at the office. Although business suits are being phased out in some industries, it’s still much too early to say they’ve become outdated.

About Melanie: Author Stacy Hilliard writes for education blogs. Interested in furthering your business knowledge? Consider the MBA program at Northeastern University.   

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