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Office dress code

So what is your office dress code

Didn't find your answer?

Why hello all.

So, in light of recent news events apparently you can't force women to wear high heels.  I don't know what the lady was in fact wearing, but I would have said any smart shoe would have done to my mind.

But that aside, it got me thinking.  Our office is 'smart work atire' which is then, in practice, men must wear a shirt, trousers, smart shoes and a tie.  This has been the dress code at every office I have worked in and has been strictly enforced (woe betide anyone who takes their tie off!  What do you mean it's 30 degrees, so what?!?).  So every day I put on the same trousers grey trousers, the same black shoes and then express myself by choosing a shirt (nothing too garish!  Has to be a subdued colour) and tie (as for shirt, nothing too garish).

I'm down with that, it's a professional environment, can't have people in their jeans and t-shirts, at least I'm allowed to take my jacket off!

Except... let's look at the dress code for the women.  Less 'smart work atire', more 'wear what you would wear were you not coming to work.  Full suit?  Yeah why not!  Mini skirt?  Don't see a problem!  Flats, heels, sandals, trainers?  Yeah, that all counts as smart work atire, in fact you want to walk around barefoot?  Who are we to judge!

I wish I was exagerating, or that I could say this is how a single employer has acted, but every place I have ever worked has had the same odd 'men must bake in their suits/women just wear what you like' code.

All I'm saying (in a slightly lighthearted way) is, if we are going to get outraged about women having to wear heels, lets re-examine a few other uncomfortable items of clothing while we're at it.

Right, think I'll take my tie off and time how long before I get tol-OMG THEY'RE ONTO ME THEY MUST BE MONITORING MY COMPUTER IT'S TOO LATE FOR ME PLEASE KEEP CIRCULATING THE TAPES DON'T LET ME MESSAGE DI-

(also I know it is tempting, but please don't all use this as an opportunity to lord it over me with your 'well as I'm my own boss and the only person who sees me is my cat, I wear my PJs all day!'.  AND I realise clients expect smartness and would be happy to smarten up to see them, so long as the whole office was bound by the same conditions).

/rant

Replies (49)

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By HeavyMetalMike
12th May 2016 09:03

I expect all ladies to wear high heels.

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David Winch
By David Winch
12th May 2016 09:10

It depends. There are days on which I am either (a) giving evidence in the Crown Court as an expert witness or (b) presenting a seminar to a firm of solicitors or barristers chambers or a police force. On those days I dress to look like what my 'audience' (jurors or delegates) would expect a chartered accountant to look like.
Hair of chartered accountant length (although sometimes I let it go a bit 'mad professor' for seminars). Ash blond colour (grey to you) & balding to give atmosphere of experienced person.
No facial hair (because people with facial hair cannot be trusted, obviously). Black shoes, flat (I've not worn much in the way of heels since my wedding day in the 1970's).
Grey / dark / pinstripe suit. Plain or striped shirt. Maybe plain cufflinks. Plain tie or subdued pattern (simple plain tie looks more honest & straightforward).
Definitely no waistcoat (looks like a spiv). Jacket on in court at all times. Mobile phone certainly OFF!
Use no words which HM Queen would not use in public.
Oh and try to give a genuine smile occasionally.
It seems to work.
David

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By Paul D Utherone
12th May 2016 09:22
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Replying to Paul D Utherone:
Quack
By Constantly Confused
12th May 2016 09:28

Paul D Utherone wrote:

The Daily Mash...on the ball as ever :D

http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/business/male-receptionist-sent-home-...

Wait, you mean it's not normal to have to wear a codpiece to work?!? I need to go speak to my manager on an unrelated issue...

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RLI
By lionofludesch
12th May 2016 09:48

Polo shirt and trainers. Or slippers.

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AS
By AS
12th May 2016 10:08

We are an office of about 100 people and the same dress code applies for men but a bit more relaxed - ties are mostly optional unless you are meeting a client that would expect you to be in a tie. Anything goes for the dress code for women. The worst part is the requirement to wear a suit on the tube during a heat wave when it seems that the dress code rule for men is very unfair.

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By D_Griffin
12th May 2016 10:11

I always found that slacks, a blazer & open neck shirt was acceptable in summer. There is nothing that looks worse than someone in a suit & tie slowly going red on a hot day. No one can work efficiently if they are uncomfortable and if I was a client it would put me off if my accountants imposed such antiquated rules as "ties must be worn" etc.

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Tornado
By Tornado
12th May 2016 10:19

Breaking News ... Cuban Heels and Winklepickers are making a comeback ... get to it guys.

I have found that NOT dressing like the people you are meeting gives one a distinct advantage at times, if you want that effect. Instead of looking like the rest, you stand out as being different which can be disconcerting for others and a huge advantage for you.

It works well for Richard Branson ..

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By Fast German Car
12th May 2016 11:07

I wander round naked in this weather - frightens the [***] out of the postman - unless I am seeing clients, when I'll probably don a shell suit.

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Replying to Fast German Car:
RLI
By lionofludesch
12th May 2016 12:00

Fast German Car wrote:

I wander round naked in this weather.

I came home last week to find a naked man in the house. I mentioned it to Mrs Lion and she said "oh, he's a passing nudist who asked to use the phone."

Quick thinking.

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By Anonymous123
12th May 2016 11:19

This is possibly the most ridiculous post I've ever read. Comparing men having to wear suits to women having to wear heels is just nonsensical.
High heels are specifically designed to make women more sexually appealing, elongate their legs and push their butts up. They also hurt! And are no more or less professional than smart flat shoes.
Does your suit hurt? Does it make your feet bleed? Your ankles swell? Cause men to leer, catcall and try their luck? I don't think so.
You're basically complaining that women have more clothing options than men, which if you think about it is true outside of the professional world as well making your point irrelevant.
Now shut up and enjoy that extra 14% salary that you're apparently entitled to because you have something between your legs.

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Replying to Anonymous123:
By cheekychappy
12th May 2016 11:18

Anonymous123 wrote:

This is possibly the most ridiculous post I've ever read. Comparing men having to wear suits to women having to wear heels is just nonsensical.
High heels are specifically designed to make women more sexually appealing, elongate their legs and push their butts up. They also hurt! And are no more or less professional the smart flat shoes.
Does your suit hurt? Does it make your feet bleed? You ankles swell? Cause men to leer, catcall and try their luck? I don't think so.
You're basically complaining that women have more clothing options than men, which if you think about it is true outside of the professional world as well making your point irrelevant.
Now shut up and enjoy that extra 14% salary that you're apparently entitled to because you have something between your legs.

Someone rattled your cage, kitchen dweller.

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Replying to cheekychappy:
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By Anonymous123
12th May 2016 11:28

Kitchen dweller? Aren't you funny! A real cheeky chappy! Next you'll be telling me my feet are smaller so I can get closer to the sink.

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Replying to Anonymous123:
By Democratus
12th May 2016 11:55

You may have missed the point - it wasn't that women can have more dress options than men because they have to wear heels, in fact the OP was supporting that lady's right to not wear them, it was the disparity in the interpretation of a dress code between men and women where he worked.

Having said that there's no need for any poorly thought out comments by old cheeky there! Come on Cheeky - you are better than that.

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Replying to Democratus:
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By Anonymous123
12th May 2016 12:12

I don't think I've missed the point at all. I believe the OP to be complaining that women don't dress as smartly as men.
Why should he have to wear a suit when women can swan around in "mini skirts"?
My point (granted I may have been side tracked by my anger over this heels debate) is that women can look smart in a variety of clothing whereas men only really have the option of a suit/shirt and tie. I think it's a bit unfair to say the women in his office get off lightly and have a different dress code purely because they're not confined to a suit everyday.
I'm sure if the OP wanted to wear a skirt to work he'd have every right to! And if his boss told him to go home and change he too would be top of the "most read" BBC new articles for discrimination against men who like to feel the breeze on their legs.

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Replying to Anonymous123:
By Democratus
12th May 2016 12:19

[quote=Anonymous123]

.
Why should he have to wear a suit when women can swan around in "mini skirts"?

Only my Ducky friend knows what he meant, perhaps as a Duck he can't "swan" around - see what i did there! and is therefore well annoyed.

I have to agree though that women can look smart in a variety of clothing, we men don't have the options is probably also true.

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Replying to Anonymous123:
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By Mobileaccountantaz
13th May 2016 18:37

Wow let me guess you're a "feminist" right? # 1 I wore heels because I LIKE THEM and not to draw a mans attention or push up my [***]. # 2 mine never caused bleeding or pain. # 3 flat shoes are fugly and frumpy... period

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Replying to Mobileaccountantaz:
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By Anonymous123
13th May 2016 19:05

Yeh I am a feminist, like every woman and man should be in 2016. It's about equality.
#1 I never said I had anything against women wearing heels, I sometimes wear them, but I take issue with being forced to wear them when they have no impact on someone's job performance.
#2 you're clearly used to wearing them. If you wear nothing but flats 99% of the time it would hurt to wear heels for an 8 hour shift.
#3 yeh, all the billions of flat shoes that have ever been designed are frumpy and fugly, better add a 3 inch spike on the heel to make them wearable.

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Replying to Anonymous123:
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By Mobileaccountantaz
14th May 2016 19:22

Please speak for yourself on the "as everyone should be" in regards to being a feminist ok? Thanks so much. There is a difference between being all for equal rights and forcing the opinions you hold onto others. Can't function in 3 or 4 inch heels? Sorry about that; sounds like a personal problem. I laugh at all of the articles I ever read that state without a doubt that high heels are painful and hurt ones overall health. I'm nearly 60 years old and I worked as a waitress for 17 years while going to college before my corporate career and I wore 5 inch heels every nite for 10 hour shift with no problems. I was born with a mild form of spina bifida called Spondylolisthesis and wasn't diagnosed until I was in a car accident at 18. If I try to walk long distances in flats I am in such pain it's debilitating. I had surgery to correct the spine through fusion and my surgeon then as well as any since then for checkups all said the same thing: FOR ME wearing heels keeps my back compressed and held together (in layman terms) so again FOR ME heels are far more comfortable. But hey to each her own: something that feminists don't seem to grasp the concept of.

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Replying to Mobileaccountantaz:
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By Anonymous123
16th May 2016 12:14

Like I said, your clearly used to wearing them.
And if you think feminism is a bad thing, you don't understand what feminism is.
No one's burning their bras anymore like they were back in your day.

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Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
12th May 2016 11:27

Well, in light of recent events we may need to modify our male dress code from the following:

Kilt- no garish tartans and absolutely nothing Campbell.

Sgian-dubh- caused extensive discussion with the
H & S officer but provided only used re opening mail and settling debates about who ate the last biscuit there appears to be no issues within the office ,though staff do seem to have issues when travelling by air so the policy may need slightly modified.

Sporran-required wear but staff must ensure no moths present within same.

Kilt pin- fine but if a gemstone nothing too garish, amber is good. Plain steel pins are just about acceptable if ornamental but never just a safety pin.

Socks-heavy socks which always descend towards ones feet irrespective of how held up. Wearing sock flashes is currently being reviewed due to staff using football colours, from a safety point of view it was felt these combined with the sgian-dubh policy was not ideal.

Brogues- only those with really long laces that tie up ones lower legs; the laces may be tied to be comfortable (they then fall down) or tied to remain tied(circulation ceases to ones feet)

Shirts- none of these incarnations with laced neck and frilly sleeves, a good honest shirt with appropriate tie. (tweed works and a tweed tie can be handed down for at least three or four generations)

If dress shirt and bow tie then a waistcoat and dress jacket isrequired, certainly no bow ties are to be worn with a tweed jacket.

Apart from the dress rules, hair requires to be kept at a reasonable length and where not its natural hue requires to be dyed ginger

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Replying to DJKL:
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By SKCOX
12th May 2016 16:11

DJKL wrote:

Well, in light of recent events we may need to modify our male dress code from the following:

Kilt- no garish tartans and absolutely nothing Campbell.

Sgian-dubh- caused extensive discussion with the
H & S officer but provided only used re opening mail and settling debates about who ate the last biscuit there appears to be no issues within the office ,though staff do seem to have issues when travelling by air so the policy may need slightly modified.

Sporran-required wear but staff must ensure no moths present within same.

Kilt pin- fine but if a gemstone nothing too garish, amber is good. Plain steel pins are just about acceptable if ornamental but never just a safety pin.

Socks-heavy socks which always descend towards ones feet irrespective of how held up. Wearing sock flashes is currently being reviewed due to staff using football colours, from a safety point of view it was felt these combined with the sgian-dubh policy was not ideal.

Brogues- only those with really long laces that tie up ones lower legs; the laces may be tied to be comfortable (they then fall down) or tied to remain tied(circulation ceases to ones feet)

Shirts- none of these incarnations with laced neck and frilly sleeves, a good honest shirt with appropriate tie. (tweed works and a tweed tie can be handed down for at least three or four generations)

If dress shirt and bow tie then a waistcoat and dress jacket isrequired, certainly no bow ties are to be worn with a tweed jacket.

Apart from the dress rules, hair requires to be kept at a reasonable length and where not its natural hue requires to be dyed ginger


"Is anything worn under the kilt?"
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Replying to SKCOX:
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By SKCOX
12th May 2016 18:09

I'm not going to have to do the punchline myself am I?

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Replying to SKCOX:
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By SKCOX
13th May 2016 09:36

"No, it's all in perfect working order."

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By Fast German Car
12th May 2016 11:57

I must admit, I am confused. I had always understood the OP to be one of the kitchen dwellers?

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RLI
By lionofludesch
12th May 2016 11:57

Flat caps, weskits and toecaps are obligatory in Yorkshire.

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By bilajio
12th May 2016 12:00

I am in the same boat, last work place was very much just shirt and trousers with casual Friday's. However female colleagues pretty much wore whatever didn't look too casual all the time.

Current place is shirt/trousers and tie all the time. I wear a suit all day, but I am accustom to it as it was drummed into me from Primary and Secondary school that a blazer should be worn at all times.

... the walking around barefoot thing really does get to me, I have no idea how anyone can think that its acceptable. The simple solution being that if you fancy shoes hurt... wear something more comfortable

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By Harrison88
12th May 2016 12:05

Big four: Smart causal (i.e. anything of smart trousers, shirt and shoes upwards). Some people come in bare minimum and some come with full suit and waistcoat. If you were meeting a client a suit was required.

Industry: ranges from smart casual as above to my current work place where I can wear jeans, t-shirt and a hoodie every day if I prefer.

As long as you get the work done, who cares? If you're client facing then I suppose it depends on what your clients prefer. At the Big Four we had a case where a proposal was won because we attended wearing fairly dress down attire because that's what the client wore. They said we obvious pay more attention to them than the competition did.

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Tornado
By Tornado
12th May 2016 12:19

Looking superior to your client is not a good idea. Wear as appropriate. Two clients earning approx 500K pa .. one feels awkward when he takes his jacket off and the other prefers shorts and very casual (a bit worn) clothes. Both very successful in different ways and dealt with by me as appropriate.

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Replying to Tornado:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
12th May 2016 12:31

Tornado wrote:

Looking superior to your client is not a good idea. Wear as appropriate. Two clients earning approx 500K pa .. one feels awkward when he takes his jacket off and the other prefers shorts and very casual (a bit worn) clothes. Both very successful in different ways and dealt with by me as appropriate.

Reminds me of my father (solicitor) explaining why he used two different cars for visiting clients- the car used was appropriate to the client; nothing too grand for the lower fee clients that would maybe make them feel they were paying for the larger car but yet it was available when thriving prosperity was an appropriate image for the more corporate clients.

He also had two sartorial approaches with a more rustic dress sense (green/brown suit with brogues) re rural clients and a more pinstripe/black shoes approach re city clients.

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Stepurhan
By stepurhan
12th May 2016 13:24

Appropriate news story from today.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-36272893

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Stepurhan
By stepurhan
12th May 2016 14:53

It could be worse of course.

http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/business/male-receptionist-sent-home-...

EDIT : See someone else has already posted this. Links are so hard to see in this new site.

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Quack
By Constantly Confused
12th May 2016 16:10

Gosh, I didn't intend to cause such a stir...

For the record, I am happy for ladies to be free to wear what they like, in this day and age I would hope the stuffy accountant stereotype has gone the way of the dodo. If I was expressing dissatisfaction with the world (and I usually am), it would be that men aren't afforded the same privilege.

Of course, as a duck, I know little of your human ways, though an observer sees more of the game, what.

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Replying to Constantly Confused:
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By Anonymous123
12th May 2016 16:37

I may have overreacted slightly (which won't have done much for the female stereotype) but trust me you're better of with your suits and ties.
Every morning before work I have to go through a checklist in my mind, "is that dress too short/tight/low cut, don't want to be slutty now! Is that dress too baggy/long/unflattering, don't want to look frumpy and unprofessional! Is that too bright, am I wearing too much makeup, too little, how's my hair, heels to high, does that match, do I need tights, oh no I've laddered my tights."
It's a minefield!

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Replying to Anonymous123:
By Tim Vane
13th May 2016 12:55

Anonymous123 wrote:

It's a minefield!


This is possibly the most ridiculous post I've ever read. Comparing getting dressed to being in a minefield is just nonsensical.
Minefields are specifically designed to maim people. They also hurt! Does getting dressed hurt? Does it kill you? I don't think so.
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Replying to Anonymous123:
RLI
By lionofludesch
14th May 2016 09:48

Anonymous123 wrote:

I may have overreacted slightly (which won't have done much for the female stereotype) but trust me you're better of with your suits and ties.
Every morning before work I have to go through a checklist in my mind, "is that dress too short/tight/low cut, don't want to be slutty now! Is that dress too baggy/long/unflattering, don't want to look frumpy and unprofessional! Is that too bright, am I wearing too much makeup, too little, how's my hair, heels to high, does that match, do I need tights, oh no I've laddered my tights."
It's a minefield!

Jeez ! You're worse than the blokes you moan about.

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Tornado
By Tornado
12th May 2016 16:56

"do I need tights, oh no I've laddered my tights."

That's the one that always gets me flustered, just when I don't need it.

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By Glenn Martin
12th May 2016 17:28

Impressed so many of you lads still wear a tie, as i thought that no tie was the new tie these days.

A company I do some work that own a nightclub were been courted by some Big4 firms for the audit business.

when they turned up at the club for a show around they simply removed their ties to appear casual. It did make me smile.

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Routemaster image
By tom123
12th May 2016 18:08

The last time I wore a suit and tie was for my job interview. Can't see me ever needing one for the working day.

I don't really expect my visitors (ie suppliers) to wear one either.

Last few jobs the MD dressed no differently, ie Chinos / Shirt / Black or brown shoes.

Sometimes I push the boat out with cufflinks.

My female work colleagues all dress differently, to suit their very different personalities - but, with an emphasis on practicality -one never knows when you will be required to go hunting for parts in the stores etc.

Flat shoes all round.

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Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
13th May 2016 09:38

Dare to be different, stay smart but get a comfy pair of heels

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By hiu612
13th May 2016 11:19

What's most frustrating about the situation described by the OP is when you're sitting in the office in your wool suit and black shoes, and one of the women wearing a skirt, vest and bare feet asks if you can turn the air conditioning off because she's a bit chilly.

Incidentally, when I grew a beard a few years ago, my grandmother asked my parents (on seeing a photo) "what, and they let him go to work like that?!"

Different times.

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Replying to hiu612:
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By Anonymous123
13th May 2016 12:46

I think you're frustration is a bit backward there. Why sit there in a woollen suit with the air con on? Why not wear something a bit less wintery and turn the air con off?
It's like wearing a vest and shorts with the heating on.
You should treat yourself to a smart linen suit.

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Stewie
By Stewie Griffin
13th May 2016 11:20

We just wear what we want. My team always look smart and I think they reflect the dress codes of today, not some antiquated thoughts.

It's generally smart jeans, shirt and shoes for both men & women

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By daveforbes
13th May 2016 11:28

I think the lack of choice given to men when it comes to "meeting clients attire" is a good thing. Have you seen what happens when given the freedom of "smart casual".

That said, I am sitting at my desk still in my cycling kit.

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By bendybod
13th May 2016 11:53

I think the current news item does raise certain issues beyond just 'it's not fair to make women wear something to look sexy'. I personally have never owned a pair of shoes with a 2 - 4 inch heel. There's a very good reason for that. I have issues with my joints. I could not physically wear high heels. I could, however, probably do the job in question. Why should I not do it in flats - or, at the moment because I am waiting for ankle surgery, boots. I have been client facing for the majority of my career. I have worn anything from Doc Martens (with a trouser suit) to court shoes. In my earlier days, when a client complained about my footwear not being appropriate, my boss's answer was 'would you complain if a man was wearing them'. So to me, demanding high heels is discriminatory - and I don't generally play that card.
Moving on to what women wear beyond footwear, in my first two jobs as an accountant / trainee accountant, I would almost always wear a suit. In the summer that might become a smart skirt / smart trousers and a smart top.
In my current office, which is more casual, the men do wear ties (although they take them off if it gets really warm and put them in a drawer in case of client meetings) and the women wear smart / casual but smart for meetings. Equally, the MD regularly takes his shoes off when he's sitting at his desk and the other male director wears comfortable shoes but keeps a smart pair for meetings. Sometimes I've been caught out by a client coming in for a quick chat and have apologised for my fleece, for instance, because the area of the building that I work in is cold. None of the clients of this firm have ever complained about the attire of the staff though. I wouldn't accept scruffy. Neither would I accept overtly suggestive. I think all of my staff have a grasp of what is appropriate and what isn't. Having said that, if the men stopped wearing ties then it wouldn't bother me unduly, so long as they still looked smart.
Fortunately I now work in an environment where the clients are more concerned about the calibre of the staff producing the accounts than what they are wearing and it is rare that anything has to be said about inappropriate clothing.

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By Mobileaccountantaz
13th May 2016 12:45

When I still worked in corporate if I ever wore anything less than a 3 inch heel people asked if I was sick or injured :) I despised with all my soul any type of panty hose - bleh but I was forced to wear them and since I always wore dresses (wore slacks maybe 10 times in 25 plus years) I had to wear them. Ties for the guys and white shirts was the norm. Jackets not so much unless meeting with outside vendors and suppliers. The day I left the midwest to move to Arizona was the day I tossed (with lots of glee I might add) every single pair of hose that I owned. While I still prefer and am more comfortable in a pair of heels (yes folks some women do actually find 4 inch heels comfortable sorry to break the myths) I found myself within a year moving towards more casual footwear. Nice sandals was the norm here. Pantyhose? Downright freakish! Capris in the office? Yep no problem! Then I left corporate altogether within a few years of my relocation and went out on my own so, yes even though you indicated not wanting to hear from those of us working from home in our PJ's sorry but that's what I have done for 6 years. Women working in Arizona would mostly be laughed out of the office if they showed up in 120 degree weather in hose. Maybe not flip flops but certainly nice sandals. My idea of dressing up even for a new client meeting? Maybe grab a paid of nice black jeans and sandals, that's about it. Seldom are the men in ties here anymore either especially in the summer (which starts for us around late March ... it's already triple digits here) so yes we might see the rare suit and tie here but that's quite rare.
When I did work in corporate in the midwest the dress code changed several times mostly due to the younger women coming to work in flip flops. At one time women were able to wear dress shoes with open toes and then due to the abuse and total misinterpretation of what "open toe shoes" mean we all got punished and the shoe dress code went to strictly closed toed which pretty much eliminated 200 pairs out of my 400 pair collection. I was also one of the few ladies (I think I might have been the only one for many years) with tattoos. Management went nuts I tell you! They attempted to have me (after a year of employment and only after other women started having small visible tattoos) cover all of them. They weren't skulls and fire breathing dragons or satans symbols, they were butterflies and feminine designs... and management tried to point to a statement in the official dress code that stated "tattoos were not acceptable" to which I stated what was acceptable to one person might not be to the other. They soon realized that there was not much they could do about mine since they hired me that way. So glad I no longer have to deal with the orders of others.

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Replying to Mobileaccountantaz:
Tornado
By Tornado
13th May 2016 14:47

Hi Mobileaccountantaz

A spiffing post there that is both entertaining and makes a lot of sense, except for one thing .. 400 pairs of shoes !!!

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Replying to Tornado:
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By Mobileaccountantaz
13th May 2016 18:42

:) Yeah... I got rid of about 200 during my last move. Don't blame me it's all my dad's fault - he was a ladies shoe salesman for 42 years. :) That's not counting the 40 some odd pairs of boots - motorcycle riding and 4 inch heels plus another closet just for flip flops and sandals. Hey it's a girl thing

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By coops456
26th May 2016 09:50

When staring at the wardrobe in the morning, I've often cursed the double standard; it's so easy for men! Many of whom wear the very same suit and tie every day, you're just lucky that they change the shirt.

Ties are a bizarre convention when you think about it. "Let's wrap this strip of material round our necks to signify that we really mean business."

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