Should you ditch the corporate dress code?

A third of UK workers say that businesses should ditch dress codes in the workplace as they find it outdated, but is it the way forward?

Wearing a uniform for work is typically reserved for workers in the services, like the NHS, police, or a utility service like plumbing or mechanical work. It is rare for a company to impose a uniform on desk-workers; substituting a uniform for a required office dress code.

Currently, it is generally accepted that employees will be expected to wear suits, or office wear, like a skirt and blouse, but many businesses are progressing forward and changing their approach to office wear and employees are applauding the change.

New research from CV Library shows more than a third (33.5 per cent) of UK workers think businesses should ditch dress codes in the workplace, with a further 36.9 per cent believing that dressing smart at work has become outdated.

The survey, which questioned 1,200 UK workers on their views surrounding dress codes within the workplace, found 82.5 per cent feel that dress codes have changed over the years, with nearly half (46.8 per cent) believing that dress codes will become more casual and relaxed in the future.

The traditionalists among us consider dress code as necessary to make a business feel more professional and to give workers a mentality that they should be presentable and clean while at work.

Nearly two thirds of workers enjoy following a dress code, with this figure rising to 67.3 per cent amongst 18-24 year olds and 69.1 per cent amongst 55-64 year olds.

With the UK workforce being diluted with a much younger and liberal workforce, the idea of a strict business dress code is beginning to look more and more old-fashioned. Many businesses are young, agile companies that are relaxed about what you wear, as long as the work is done.

Many people in the study thought wearing a suit was uncomfortable, restrictive or personallity and slow to catch up with the fast paced world of fashion.

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of comments, “There continues to be a lot of debate around dress codes in the workplace and whether it’s still a necessity to dress smart. Dress codes mean different things to different people: some people prefer to dress smart, while others see it as a perk to be able to wear more casual clothes. We now have more flexibility in what we can wear to work and if your workplace has the option, then stick to what feels best for you!”

Biggins continues, “Every workplace is different and the rules are very dependent on the industry or role that a person is working in. There is no real evidence to suggest that there is a link between standards of behaviour and dress codes, though I personally believe that you should always dress smart if you’re in an external facing role or meeting with a client, customer or supplier.”

Owen Gough

Owen Gough

Owen Gough is a reporter for He has a background in small business marketing strategies and is responsible for writing content on subjects ranging from small business finance to technology...

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