Last year when the sun was beating down, I commented on workwear in the office. I noted that 'acceptable' workwear for women was on quite a wide spectrum when compared with men.
I know of a more traditional legal firm which has recently introduced a 'diary appropriate' dress code which is a sharp departure from its traditional expectations. What a great move this is but why have we had to wait so long? And have any guidelines been drawn up to suggest what this may not include as we all know how different approaches can be to the same instruction.
With the weather hotting up, this is the perfect time for all businesses to review their dress code. If staff need to wear a particular uniform for their job or for health and safety reasons this will of course be a little more tricky. However, it may still be possible to consider a change in fabric, layers, type of shoe etc. For office workers still wearing suits, is this necessary? Do all clients still expect this?
I don't think as a lawyer my clients expect to see me in a full on suit every time we meet. I don't want my clients to feel intimidated and I don't want to insert that invisible division between us by putting on a power suit and setting the scene as to who is boss. I want them to feel comfortable and able to talk to me, to be honest and not feel judged in any way.
'Diary appropriate' doesn't have to mean beach wear! You just have to set a few simple parameters and trust your staff, as adults, to make the right choices. If they don't quite get it right, a friendly mention of this and move on. People are more likely to be themselves if they don't have to don a suit every day and be far more comfortable and perhaps, even more productive and effective as a result.
“The U.S. men’s suit market has shrunk 8% to $1.98 billion since 2015,” the Wall Street Journal reported.