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Study reveals office 'power dressing' is thing of the past

‘Dress for Success’ no longer relevant in the modern workplace as employees choose comfort clothes

Pictured: Flip-flops, coming to a desk near you soon.

Monday morning and we’re all back in the office and the chances are, you’re wearing your go-to office wear? Basically neutral colour clothes that you’d not be seen dead in at the weekend. You may even been wearing a suit, although this is most likely reserved for your next networking event where ‘business attire’ is cited as the evenings dress code of choice.

However, according to a new study out today by Travelodge only one in ten employees now sports a full suit and ties to work. The blame for this fall from sartorial grace is being squarely pinned on the black polo necks and t-shirts of Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Richard Branson. Dressing for success for millennials at least, means dressing down.  

Gone is the era of ‘dress for the job you want, not the job you have’ and city streets and public transport was awash with smartly dressed workers in power suits. In today’s modern world, over three quarter of British workers (76 per cent) believe that ‘dress-down Friday’ begins on Monday.

Travelodge, which operates 559 hotels and annually looks after around 10 million business customers, surveyed 2,000 British workers to investigate the modern office dress code - after hotel managers reported a decline in the number of ties, cufflinks, tie pins and suits being left behind.

The study revealed that in modern Britain, just 50 per cent of places of work across the country has a dress code policy in place. For over three quarters (76 per cent) of these organisations, it is a casual dress code policy.

The report also revealed that for modern British workers comfort dressing triumphs over power dressing, as (69 per cent) of workers reported that dressing casually for work makes them feel more comfortable and over a fifth (22 per cent) reported that they are able to express their personality by dressing casually.

Over half of workers also stated that a casual dress code is more affordable and takes less upkeep, whilst 26 per cent of adults said it takes the pressure of having to look good all the time.  

The report also revealed that 60 per cent of office workers believe that a more laid back dress code enables a more relaxed office environment and colleagues are a lot friendlier towards each other.

Commenting on the findings, Professor Karen Pine, psychologist in fashion at Hertfordshire University, said: “Over the last three decades, we have experienced a big movement in the workplace, where traditions and protocols and have fallen enormously. The biggest changes have included decline of hierarchy, the boss being less of an authoritarian figure and more of a coach, all colleagues being called by their first name and the biggest change, the transition from a formal dress code to a casual one.”

Adding, “Interestingly, women have probably benefitted from this movement more than men. In the past, women had to dress like men to reach senior positions in the workplace. Now they can dress as they like and assert their individuality through their work attire, without fear of bumping up against the glass ceiling.


 Is power dressing dead? Is casual the new king? Let us know your thoughts. You can either leave a comment below or email us directly at:


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