The answer is a big fat YES! As a business consultant, it is up to me to make sure I am properly dressed for the occasion. I don’t have an office ‘dress code’, I have to dress the part everyday. My rule of thumb is anything in a boardroom calls for more formal business attire (conservative dress, business suit, slacks with French cuffs etc); anything in a venue (venue refers to my clients hotel, restaurant, nightclub) can be a little more casual but definitely a lot heavier on the style (button down French cuffs paired with leather leggings); when going to meetings with marketing or PR companies in a restaurant (blouse, jeans or pants with heels) and lastly a construction site is the same as a restaurant meeting just with flats instead of heels. Regardless of what your style or level of comfort is you must always look put together. Got the hipster thing going on – you still have to be clean shaved or grow a full goatee/beard – sloppy stubble is no bueno. You have purple hair and black lipstick – no chipped nail polish please…see where I am going with this?
I pay attention to what people wear. You can go out on the town and see just about any sort of getup, but increasingly it is becoming harder to tell the successful from the guy living in his mom’s basement – which keeps us all on our toes! Particularly within the restaurant industry, it is more common to accept a different sort of attire. All I ask is the guests be able to tell the difference between management and revealers – if you ‘blend’ you are underdressed. Some would argue that dressing in less traditional attire in a business environment is a recipe for disaster. I think it is okay as long as you maintain a level of tidiness and personal hygiene.
Casual dress has permeated our culture for decades now and casual Friday has become not a reward, but the standard. Think about that for a moment and imagine what casual Friday has actually become – the new normal. Employers bow to pressure and have unwittingly standardized casual Friday in the American workplace. It is insane to wrap your head around; because it can easily be taken advantage of or it can leave to much room for interpretation. Casual Friday is a privilege but if employers decided that it would no longer be part of the workplace we would have a scene similar to a Walking Dead episode.
Granted, formal dress will never go by the wayside, but it is increasingly becoming a novelty. It is something that we do for “special” occasions and only for a short period of time. The new dress code has its advantages but I long for the old days of suits and dresses. You don’t need to spend your paycheck on a pair of shoes (although I do support this practice from time to time) but for the love of denim save your ripped jeans for the weekends!