Casual Dress Code In The Workplace :: Let’s Talk About It

For as long as we can remember, workplace dress code has stayed the same—formal shirts, ties, pantsuits, a-line skirts, you name it. But that’s not so much the case anymore. Many companies are starting to embrace a casual dress code, and we’re all for it.

As a society we’re always adapting, so it’s no surprise that Silicon Valley started this shift by leaning off of traditional business practices in the 80s. The nature of these tech companies requiring long hours made way for a shift away from formal dress codes. And who doesn’t love a challenge to break the status quo?  

Now, many companies are giving more accountability to their employees to dress according to how their day will go. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 50% of the organizations surveyed in 2018 reported that they allowed for casual dress every day, which is 18% higher since 2014. Companies like JP Morgan Chase, Target, IBM, Goldman Sachs, Virgin Atlantic, and others are embracing a more casual dress code for the workplace.

This growing shift is encouraging more of a welcoming environment in the workplace, which is the tone many companies are trying to set. On top of that, casual dress codes are being linked to increased productivity and happiness for employees. Being able to creatively express yourself, no matter the circumstance, is a big factor in happiness. And can you really feel all that productive when you’re too focused on your stuffy suit or uncomfortable pantyhose trapping in more heat than you ever thought was possible?

Along with these benefits of shifting to a casual dress code in the workplace, millennials are taking over the workforce according to Pew Research Center. Because millennials have such a big impact on the labor force, they’ve been able to create this cultural shift and emphasize performance instead of keeping traditional dress code expectations. This calls for a bigger focus in actually doing the job instead of looking the part. Millennials have made this a big importance in their careers, making it an incentive when job-hunting. While it’s possible that they’re a big cause for this shift, the older generations in the workforce aren’t completely opposed to it either. Casual dress codes are being more and more accepted by new generations and old.

At this point we really need to ask ourselves, “What can’t millennials challenge?” 

While a casual dress code is becoming more widely accepted, there’s still some criticisms being thrown around. Some believe it doesn’t increase productivity and that it allows for more slacking off. Again, this depends case by case because a lot factors into the changes in productivity in the workplace.  

Because this is a fairly new shift, there’s also confusion on what counts as business casual and what counts as regular casual-wear. So, while we’re embracing this new transformation, we also need to come up with a set definition for business casual.

Because let’s face it… we’re all a bit lost.

This shift has created a more relaxed yet productive environment in many different career fields. Again, shout out to Silicon Valley. Performance is in, and dressing standards are being pushed off the table. So let’s keep transforming and setting new standards in the workplace—because a little comfortableness never hurt anybody right?


Kiran BrarComment