Financial Recruitment Officewear Blog

Workwear has some work to do – The office’s tribal identity

It happens to us all – Half way through our journey to work, the first signs of discomfort start to show. As the wool blend begins to rub against our elbows, waist and knees, our temperature skyrockets as a brisk walk to get to our desk on time starts undermining our layered office wear look. The coat comes off. The jacket comes off. The shirt gets loosened. Finally, modest freedom.

Suddenly you step within view of the office windows. You hurriedly pile back on your regalia, take a deep breath between exhausted panting and let out a desperately chirpy ‘Morning!’ to the workplace – aware that the recipients of this cry too sit under a restricting drape of neutral colours.

The office wear uniform is finally being challenged head on, but in a more substantial way than the older kids used to at school, shrugging off their blazers to replace them with hoodies, excusing it as an ‘act of expression’. The ‘jeans, oh you can’t wear jeans’ or the ‘is she wearing FLAT SHOES?!’ mind-sets, among others, are in competition for what thoughts are the most outdated. After seeing Facebook and Apple employees plastered over our screens in their hoodies, turtlenecks and jeans, the world began to realise that what you wear has no correlation to how you perform.

From high-street to high-end, everyone caught on and began to produce a relieving blend between what is purchased strictly to wear in the office, and what can be worn outside. Style guides are littered with ‘how to pull off jeans in the workplace’ and other like-minded topics and titles, being that trusted source for doing something rebellious. Though surely it doesn’t need to be about making a stand or how to pull it off without being noticed, it should just be how it is. Dress how you would do to meet your better half’s parents essentially.

The conservative female office wear is thankfully being left on the rails by the newer generations of working women, whilst men equally turn their noses up at the 50 shades of grey suits on offer. What instead takes priority is the colourful, comfort driven and unrestrictive attire that for some makes the wearer less able to read. Though for others, it can be telling of their character, and break down barriers between the pecking order of the workplace.

Now I think we can all agree that shorts and sandals do not have a place in the professional sphere. However, picture an office where members are accepting of one another to the point where they dress how they want to, yet voluntarily care about their appearance rather than it being enforced. Immediately, your black suited superior becomes far more approachable in their patterned top (or just a bright-ish coloured one for those of you that want to take it one step at a time) and a slick pair of cotton trousers/a sleek skirt. They’ve let their guard down and have chosen to reveal their personal identity to you, not just a barricaded work identity.

Working and socialising have become fluid within the workplace. For us, promoting an environment which encourages this blurring between the two has been highly successful. The age old ‘work hard, play hard’ is still important, but work and play shouldn’t have to be so distinct from one another. Clothing worn within the office should reflect that.  A relaxed atmosphere ensures confidence in a worker’s surroundings, and therefore an increase in productivity.

The debate has potential to go on for ever, as research continues to be inconsistent and there’s still a divide between the office uniform supporters and its protestors. We stand with the dress downers, finding first hand just how much it can achieve. Now we just need to pester those stragglers who are dressing up and making us look bad.

What’re your thoughts? How will your office perform dressed like Zuckerbergs?

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