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Formal office clothes back in favour


Business is turning its back on casual dressing in favour of more traditional office attire, according to research by the Aziz Corporation. The survey finds that 39 per cent of UK company directors consider a suit to be the most appropriate clothing for the office, a notable increase on last year's findings.

Furthermore, the number of respondents who feel smart casual dress is the most suitable attire for the workplace has dropped from 56 per cent to 45 per cent. Additionally, only half (53 per cent) of UK directors now allow staff to wear casual dress on certain days, such as dress-down Fridays, illustrating that the smart suit cannot be written off as 'old hat'.

Since last year's survey, there have been marked changes regarding acceptable dress codes in the workplace. 29 per cent of companies now require employees to wear formal dress at all times, not just when meeting clients - an 8 per cent increase on last year's figures. Additionally, only one quarter (24 per cent) of companies now allow employees to dress casually all the time, compared to over a third (37 per cent) last year.

This stricter dress code does not, however, pervade all industries or regions to the same extent. Company directors of consultancies and finance companies were stricter on clothes policy, with 56 per cent and 50 per cent respectively naming the suit (or equivalent for women) as being the most appropriate everyday attire. Directors from the North were also more inclined to agree that a suit is the most suitable outfit (47 per cent), whilst those from the Midlands and South were more lenient (36 and 38 per cent respectively).

It seems that this trend is connected, at least in part, with the current economic downturn, with 37 per cent of those questioned agreeing that it is more important to wear a suit in times of economic difficulty. However, those working in the PR and advertising sectors appear to be particularly wary of standing out from the crowd when business isn't going so well: 71 per cent of respondents from these sectors feel that it is more important to wear a suit in economically turbulent times.


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