What you wear. How you work.

What you wear. How you work.

Public Relations | Judette Coward-Puglisi

June 10, 2008


CAPTION: Mango Media Caribbean’s Generation Y in office wear

In my office the suit is dead! I tell those who walk through the door that we are all professionals but our professionalism does not always manifest itself in high-powered suits. Perhaps it is because our field is creative that allows me to get away with pink circle skirts and a black tucked in T-shirt.

But research just published confirms my thoughts about dressing down at work. Globally, 23% of firms have a dress down policy for at least one day of the week compared with 5% in 1997. This seems to be far cry from the uniformed conformity of 1980’s power dressing or the "let’s totter on our high-heels look" in the early 1990s.

 Some call the new Friday style the ‘Third Wardrobe’. In London, an accounting firm emailed its 7,000 UK employees indicating that they no longer had to wear a suit. Like many other big firms in that city, they had been operating "dress down Fridays" for some time and decided this year to give their staff the option to dress down permanently. No to be outdone, other big global firms such as Credit Suisse First Boston, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley have since followed this lead. Notice that they are all in the traditionally conservative financial world.

But why dress down, especially when the right label on a suit can indicate one’s status in a firm?