Stricter dress codes back in fashion

More
bosses are enforcing stricter dress codes as businesses return to the formal
practices of the past, according to a new report on casual office dressing.

The
research, by executive communications firm The Aziz Corporation, found that
dressing down appears to have fallen out of favour, with a sharp drop in the
number of firms that allowed full-time, casual dress.

Less
than a third of UK businesses permitted their staff to dress casually at all
times, a 10 per cent drop on last year’s figures. Thirty-seven per cent of UK
company directors required staff to dress formally at all times – an 8 per cent
increase on 2003.

A
slight majority of 52 per cent of directors allowed their staff to wear casual
dress, except when meeting clients.

By
sector, finance companies topped the poll with 80 per cent stating they would
not permit staff to wear casual clothes to work at all – an increase of 38 per
cent on last year’s results.

Khalid
Aziz, chairman of The Aziz Corporation, said the results suggested a shift away
from the casual dress code emblematic of the dotcom era, and once hailed as the
office dress trend of the new millennium.

“In
a business environment you want to be noticed for your work not your taste in
clothes. So although it is obviously important that you feel comfortable in
what you wear to the office, your clothes must also project the right image,”
said Aziz.

“While
being more smartly dressed does not necessarily mean that you are better at
your job, there is no doubt that the more formal the attire, the more seriously
people are taken.”

The
survey also found that male directors looked more favourably upon mini-skirts,
with 37 per cent saying they were perfectly acceptable in a business situation.
Only 15 per cent of female directors thought the same.

By
Paul Yandall

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