Should Your Office Have Casual Dress Attire?

There is currently a trend toward casual dress in the work place. The question in why your office should have casual dress and which form should it take. There are several modes of casual dress that are allowed by different corporations. There is casual business, casual and relaxed casual. The casual trend started in the 80’s & 90’s when people were being laid off in the corporate world. The general thinking was that employee morale would be raised by the relaxed atmosphere thereby increasing work output.


The casual business dress would mostly consist of khaki pants with no tie or jacket, but with a collared shirt. Golf shirts or button downs would be ok for men. Similar outfits for women, but perhaps a sleeveless blouse would also be allowed. Socks optional but shoes were a requirement. The casual dress code would allow jeans and t-shirts with sneakers, all clean and well maintained. The line was drawn at ripped jeans and tank tops. The relaxed casual introduced the wearing of shorts and sandals (no flip-flops) into the mix.

Although called dress down or casual days, these were initially reserved for Friday. The thought being that everyone would finish off the week by relaxing on their last work day. This led to a general trend of casual dress for the entire week. This spread gathered momentum after the turn of the century until the current day. It is believed that about 40% of businesses (usually who didn’t have face-to-face customer or client contact) have adopted the casual dress week.

There have been several studies done that point to the possibility that this trend has increased productivity 41% of the time. The belief being that when employees are relaxed they tend to feel more comfortable in their position and work at a higher capacity. The relaxed atmosphere is believed to add to greater spontaneity, better work conditions and improved relationships between employees. Several companies offer the casual dress policy as a benefit to working in their company. However, when considering a casual dress policy consideration should be given to spelling out exactly what is and isn’t allowed to avoid problems of poor taste or poor judgment.

8 thoughts on “Should Your Office Have Casual Dress Attire?”

  1. I much prefer a casual dress code. It is much more comfortable when you are sitting behind a computer all day and you can still look professional when dressed casually.

  2. Having worked in the business world for over 40 years, I have to say that wearing jeans to work is waaaay nicer. Not only are you more comfortable, but your wardrobe budget is cut in half!

  3. Our company used to have the policy that if you wanted to dress casually on a Friday you had to donate $1.00 to charity; we have finally progressed to casual everryday and I really appreciate it.

  4. I love it also but you know there is always someone that ruins it by not following the rules. We all know when it happens because we get the “warning” email

  5. Casual dress codes are so much better (and saves you money). I hate having to get all dressed up to sit in front of a computer.

  6. Casual dress really needs to be spelled out to exactly what is allowed and what is not. People shouldn’t roll out of bed and end up at their desks in PJ’s.

  7. Not having to worry about what to wear to the office is a big plus. We can focus on productivity and not on who wore the cutest outfit.

  8. I work so much more efficiently when I am dressed comfortably. Only on days when I meet with clients to I dress up.

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