The Equal Opportunities Commission has hit out at "old fashioned" chauvinism following cases of women being forced to wear skirts or make-up at work.
"It is no longer acceptable for employers to impose old-fashioned stereotypes about what women should wear - especially now that women wear trousers and David Beckham wore a sarong," said a spokeswoman.
Last month the Equal Opportunities Review reported that a woman received £500 for injury to feelings after being told to wear make-up at work.
In the case, heard last year, the employer insisted that a receptionist wear make-up "because she has pale skin". She left but did not qualify for a constructive dismissal claim because of her short service.
This claim follows the high-profile case of Judy Owen, who won the right to wear trousers after a tribunal ruled against the Professional Golfers Association (Personnel Today, 25 January).
The EOC said there has not been a surge in such cases, but instead increasing opposition to them. "Many people were shocked to find these attitudes still exist," the spokeswoman added.