Work attire and working from home/office

Do you try to keep to the same level of smartness?

Didn't find your answer?

Afternoon everyone,

An Any Answers from 2011 has recently resurfaced, the OP was questioning whether to drop wearing suits and implement a smart casual dress code for the office.

I’m interested to hear what you guys now think about this debate because working from home has changed what people wear massively. In 2011 most people chose suits or swayed towards smart casual. 

So do you opt for suits, smart casual or casual wear? 

And how much does this change between working from home and office working? Do you try to keep the same level of smartness between the two?
 

Replies (45)

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By Ruddles
20th May 2024 13:41

At home I dress as I would for the office - from the waist up. As TV newsreaders used to.

Seriously, I do wear ‘office gear’ at home, which is smart casual for the majority of our staff, and change out of it at the end of the working day as it is important (to me) to maintain that cut-off between work and playtime.

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By FactChecker
20th May 2024 16:30

Molly forget to distinguish between 'at home' on your own and 'at home' on zoom calls.

There were far too many examples in the early days of lockdown when those unversed in video-calls took the "from the waist up only" concept to heart ... but seemed to assume that the technology was somehow self-censoring.
On a number of occasions (when the door-bell rang or child called from another room or ...) the affected person would expose all and sundry in the meeting to far more than they'd signed-up for.
The worst being when a cat jumped onto participant's lap and used its claws to steady itself ... triple-X certificate (nudity + profanities + gore)!

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VAT
By Jason Croke
20th May 2024 14:02

I think what people wear in the office has changed since Covid and therefore what we wear at home has also changed.

Or put another way, I don't think people are necessarily wearing different attire at office or at home, more a case that the expectation of what to wear at the office has changed and therefore what you wear at home fits with this new way of thinking.

I don't think there is any firm out there where everyone wears casual when at the office but then when at home, workers feel the need to wear a shirt and tie/blouse and skirt (although nowadays, all of this is interchangeable but a different debate for a different forum).

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Johny Fartpants Picture
By johnny fartpants
20th May 2024 14:17

I went to the staff party last week for a client. The client in question, used to have smart offices when Covid arrived. They are tech savvy and took the opportunity to sell the offices (in 2021) and everyone has worked from home ever since.

One of the first discussions was how several of the team had needed to buy something to wear for the event as they could hardly turn up in their slippers and pants! I think there was a degree of exaggeration but it shows how they (and me too) have changed habits over the last few years.

I still work from home mostly (with the exception of odd meetings at client's premises). My work attire is casual these days, but more formal than slippers and pants!

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Replying to johnny fartpants:
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By Jason Croke
20th May 2024 14:58

You aren't properly working from home if you aren't wearing slippers (I'm wearing slippers as I type this).

On the flip side, went to a 60th birthday family event the other week, shirt and tie and shoes, oh my, how uncomfortable are office shoes (brogues) all of a sudden?

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By Geoff56
22nd May 2024 09:54

My brogues are more comfortable than my trainers. I don't know if that says more about my brogues or my trainers.

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By FactChecker
22nd May 2024 15:43

At a guess - neither.
It suggests (a) that you're not overweight and your feet musculature is intact; and (b) that your brogues are reasonably old and have moulded themselves to the shape of your feet.
The time to compare alternative footwear options is when the shoes are new - and you have to decide between instant comfort vs delayed gratification (often a quick way of differentiating between the generations)!

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Replying to FactChecker:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
22nd May 2024 17:11

There is something to be said for foot temperature, leather brogues can be cool in the temp sense.

I have two pairs of sketchers, one are slip on, feet never get hot, but they are getting tatty, others have laces, thick tongue but feet can get too warm in them.(feel hot)

Best footwear for all day comfort are possibly my De Walt workboots, (back on offer at Screwfix, £39.95 when I was in there the other day ) reasonably light (despite the metal in them) and only drawback trying to stretch feet and point toes when still laced up.

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Tornado
By Tornado
22nd May 2024 17:51

The Screwfix Boots are a good idea when you are up on your toes as the metal caps protect them, but it might look better if you used traditional ballet shoes when performing, especially for delicate parts like Swan Lake. .................... but on reflection, the boots are much more fun.

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By Bobbo
20th May 2024 16:02

I still wear a shirt and tie when at the office / visting a client. Partly this is because I like ties and enjoy wearing one from my fairly sized collection.

When at home however it's whatever: hoody, jumper, pjs, dressing gown whichever is comfiest. If I have a video meeting with a client I would put on a smarter jumper or perhaps a shirt.

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By FactChecker
20th May 2024 16:22

Only "perhaps a shirt"? You been reading that style guide from the nice Mr Putin? :=)

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
20th May 2024 16:15

A casual shirt is about as 'dressed' as I get unless its a funeral*

The only people I see in suits are Estate Agents and Politicians. Both trying to sell snake oil.

*and its amusing to note how many people dont own any smart shoes. The number of "trainers and suits" under 40 is suprisingly high. To be fair mine are probably 25+ years old. I dont reckon it will be long before suits are phased out for wedding and funerals and just hired in like a morning suit and tails.

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By FactChecker
20th May 2024 16:48

I know exactly what you mean regarding shoes.

After most of a lifetime of wondering (only silently to myself) why so many women were prepared to rather obviously suffer from beautiful but uncomfortable shoes ... the lockdowns were a revelation to me as I purchased a couple of pairs of smartish shoes (but definitely not brogues, very soft leather that adapts to your feet) - and then found (after the first lockdown ended) that brogues were actually hell!

I still think trainers look silly on anyone my age, but you can have comfort and support whilst still being 'properly' attired ... who knew?!

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paddle steamer
By DJKL
20th May 2024 16:18

Today I wish I was in shorts, we have lots of glass, no aircon and as the afternoon has advanced I have become hotter and hotter.

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By bettybobbymeggie
20th May 2024 16:57

I work form home and I am not concerned about any demarcation between the office and the rest of the house. Right now I am wearing cargo shorts and T-shirt and I'm sat at my desk in bare feet. If I go to meet a client I'll put on socks and shoes and wear a hoody if it's cold.

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By FactChecker
20th May 2024 18:07

Thought the hoodie was reserved for debt-collection days?

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By 0098087
21st May 2024 10:38

Exactly the same as me!

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By Paul Crowley
20th May 2024 19:34

Covid killed the office suit at my firm.
The ladies now look smarter than the gents.

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By jonharris999
21st May 2024 06:17

My last haircut was before Covid. I'd never have thought the ponytail was professionally feasible, BC. Now it's part of the brand.

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By FactChecker
21st May 2024 12:52

What does the pony think about the transfer of the accoutrement?
For that matter how has your partner (assuming that's not the pony) taken to it? :=)

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By jonharris999
21st May 2024 14:22

I have to assume you mean Business partner, this being a professional forum. Team hair-brushing session every morning.

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By Jason Croke
21st May 2024 16:26

I had a ponytail in my 20's when I worked at the Home Office Police Training division, we had a new Commandant start and one of the first things he said to me was about my ponytail.

He suggested to me that the only thing that should be at the end of a pony tail... should be a pony's bumhole* and with that singular, cutting remark, the ponytail was no more.

*he used much stronger words than that, but the swear filter will dampen the spirit of the punchline and this was a time when the Police was much less "PC" back then.

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By jonharris999
21st May 2024 16:42

Wonderful story Jason :::))))

If I can't be the only pony-tailed accountant, I'm at least planning to keep it going until I can be the only pony-tailed care home resident.

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By mbee1
21st May 2024 08:17

We're all casual whether in or out of the office. A few months ago I cleared out five suits that I no longer wear, most of which didn't fit me now anyway! I've kept a couple that do fit as they can be suitable for weddings, baptisms and funerals.

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paddle steamer
By DJKL
21st May 2024 09:54

A non fitting one can be used for the funeral, unpick the seams at the back as nobody will notice.

My lifetime ambition is to fit back in to a very lightweight £400 (about 14 years back) suit purchased semi tailored from Aitken & Niven in Edinburgh- I have lost 9 kilos but I appear to be a different shape re weight distribution compared with
what I was at 50 so it still does not fit.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
21st May 2024 12:13

ive got a lovely full tailored suit from when I was in my mid 20's. Last wore at a funeral with the trousers done up with a massive saftey pin as about 2 inches too small. Kept for nostalgia only! I did look rather good in it, even if I do say so myself. Well back in the day. Not now.

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By mkowl
21st May 2024 08:20

I will go smart casual for a client visit - which my wife long argues is not that smart really. But most the time for the 2 months of summer its shorts and T shirt, winter jeans and a hoodie. I was doing that when we had an office, long before covid as well.

I don't need to wear traditional office garb to get in the mindset for work

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Pile of Stones
By Beach Accountancy
21st May 2024 08:26

I work from home (mostly) but I try to be smart casual.

I have far too many pairs of navy chinos :(

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By VJR Business Support
21st May 2024 08:30

Personally it depends on what I have scheduled in. If I'm just working on a clients books and don't expect to see anyone then I will happily wear a hoodie, but if I know that I'm going to be on a video call, then I will wear something more smart / office wear

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By Marlinman
21st May 2024 08:54

It's 13 years since I last wore a suit.

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By Rgab1947
21st May 2024 10:26

T-shirt and jeans.

They use me for my brain and service not for my Armani suit.

If I go to their premises I may put on a shirt and slacks.

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Caroline
By accountantccole
21st May 2024 11:59

Sitting in the office currently in hiking boots, jeans and lacy top and cardigan.
Working in the Alps is definitely very different to office life in the UK, practicality comes high on the dress choice. My suits are getting dusty in the wardrobe and only get dusted off when I am heading to the UK to work with clients. Even then, I am less formal than I would have been 10 years ago.

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By Jack the Lad
21st May 2024 12:11

I started in 1958 wearing a suit and bow tie! Then gradually increased my suit collection to 13, so I could wear a different suit every work day, with a shirt and tie of course! After I semi-retired in 2009 and worked as a consultant, the suit and tie collection went down, so now I have only 5 suits, which I wear to special meetings, weddings and funerals, when smart (and respectful) is the order of the day. Otherwise, it is always smart casual, not scruffy. Nowadays, dress is just a small part of the equation for judgement by potential clients, the most important factor being ability and trust.

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paddle steamer
By DJKL
22nd May 2024 17:27

I have the following-

Nice tailored lightweight suit I cannot get into, the ambition suit. (My all time favourite suit- bought when I actually could afford decent clothes (kids still at school pre both at university)

Cheap "Our Man in Havana light colour suit", actually quite useable as can wear jacket with other trousers in the summer (A jacket being a wallet and key carrier) Have since bought the hat to go with it which I use when gardening to avoid sunburn on top of head.

Really cheap old work suit- really too small, grey, boring.

A heavier slightly more recent blue pinstripe , okay, does fit, but rarely worn.

Another okay quality more recent suit that does fit and jacket works as just a jacket when needed-Magee I think

My Cameron kilt (my mother's lot), made to measure, heavy, a thing of beauty- bought for son's wedding as I just could not be bothered hiring, keep meaning to pick up tweed jacket to go with it but yet to do- used to be a couple of places in Callander that sold the type of jacket that can be used to sand furniture so I should take a day trip.

Other than that I am generally the slouchy scruffy sort with check shirts and black jeans for work (At my age climbing scaffold etc in decent clothes would have the knees ruined day one as I clamber up, so all work clothes are disposable clothes)

So six but only four fit.

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By Geoff56
23rd May 2024 10:09

"(A jacket being a wallet and key carrier)"

Agreed. I often find myself wearing a jacket when it is too warm to do so comfortably, simply in order to be able to carry my wallet, credit cards, office keys, car/house key etc.

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By FactChecker
23rd May 2024 14:14

Understand if you don't fancy a man-bag - but not tried a bumbag then?
They are available in small, thin variants that are near invisible (even with phone) - and remove possibility of items falling out of pockets when jacket is put down.

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By Geoff56
24th May 2024 09:35

I do actually have a bumbag (fine soft leather) but it never makes its way to the office.

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By 17RDR12
21st May 2024 12:41

I don't wear anything much different to what I'd usually wear at home, except maybe slightly less comfortable. I'll make sure to wear proper shorts / jeans as I feel much less productive wearing comfies

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By accountaholic
21st May 2024 13:07

What's a tie?

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stonks
By WinterDragon
21st May 2024 13:09

I've worn a tie maybe once or twice since switching to accountancy before realising it wasn't for me. Standard office attire is M&S everything. White or black shirt (top button undone), black trousers and smart shoes (comfy ones) with a pair of socks that I've collected from the expos. I do partake in casual Friday and if you ever catch me out at an event like FAB or Accountex then I will almost certainly be wearing trainers. I'm not prepared to do 20,000 steps in my smart shoes when I won't even be meeting a single client that keeps my lights on.

As for wfh attire... I at least keep the shirt on.

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By peter morgan
22nd May 2024 08:07

I don't want to have to change when I pop out for a coffee so it's smart casual at home for me. A better pair of jeans when I go the office for collaboration days.

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By adam.arca
22nd May 2024 10:37

I still work 100% in an office and never from home as I prefer that for my work/life balance.

And if I’d answered that thread back in 2011 (yikes), I would have said suit (and definitely tie) every day of the week. It was part of my mental preparation, a bit like putting on a suit of armour and readying for battle.

These days, I’m winding down a bit and part of that is only bothering to wear a suit a couple of times a week (and still a tie: like one of the previous posts, I quite like them and am always a sucker for a new one whenever I’m dragged shopping). Unless I’m going to a client’s or have a meeting in the office which I know about in advance.

The problem is that, suits apart, I’m naturally scruffy and don’t really have anything which could be called smart casual. In fact, slightly weirdly, Friday seems to be a day where I wear a suit so, unlike everyone else, I have “dress up” Fridays.

Just as well I have a stable client base and they’re used to my foibles, really!

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Tornado
By Tornado
22nd May 2024 16:23

I try hard to maintain the same level of unsmartness whether at work or not. It makes life so much easier.

Many of my clients are manual workers and it helps to mirror their attire when they come to see me.

Zoom and similar ways of communication are avoided as much as possible as they seem to be a disruptive waste of time in my business.

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Tornado
By Tornado
22nd May 2024 17:56

I only have one suit. It is my all purpose Wedding/Funeral suit and works well by changing my tie to suit the occasion. Black ties and socks for a funeral and multi coloured tie and striped socks for weddings. (The striped socks are inspired by Peter Jones on the basis that someone who is worth 1,200 million pounds knows a thing or two about dressing well).

I cannot remember when I last wore a suit to work.

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
24th May 2024 12:14

Vest top and shorts whenever I cycle to our office in the sticks.

Mrs I'msorry calls me Onslow!

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