With the rise of startups and startup culture becoming increasingly popular due to the laidback atmosphere, many companies are adopting these ideations, opting for a more relaxed environment for their employees. For many companies, this means transitioning to a more casual dress code. Regardless of this change, our consultants tell you why it still remains important to dress appropriately for work.

“Dress as if you care.”

Kyra Cordrey, a Director at Michael Page Finance & Consultancy, tells us in the finance industry, it is customary for everyone to dress in business formal attire, with the exception is boutique consultancies where they will mirror the client’s approach. She suggests it is important to separate work and play as you can tell a lot about someone by the way they dress for different situations. In finance and consultancy, your best bet is to dress conservatively.

“You spend more time in work-friendly clothes than in casual attire – budget accordingly!”

You might have expected that much of the legal profession adhere to a business professional dress code. This is an industry norm - especially in top-tier practices - but as David Forsdyke, a Managing Director at Michael Page Legal explains, many legal teams and law firms are now trying to demonstrate a more flexible approach to the working environment. This is often reflected in a dress code, which is transitioning to a business casual rather than a business professional approach. For in-house legal teams in a creative industry, such as digital or media, the legal team usually adopt a more casual approach, dressing like their colleagues. David notes that while people should judge you on your skills, experience, and competencies, human nature is such that judgments are made, rightly or wrongly, on attire and personal presentation. While business casual means different things to different people, he suggests that regardless of dress code, you should make a real effort, as it will be appreciated.

“Dress for the job you want to be doing! Look at the senior people in your company; how do they dress and present themselves? Follow their lead.”

Logistics has diverse working environments, as they are often based around depots, warehouses, and transport offices. It is a hands-on industry, so formal suits and smart attire are unusual. Ben Lyons, an Operating Director at Michael Page Logistics, tells us that even in an industry where formal attire is not the norm - you rarely meet senior level people who are casually dressed. It is important to dress in line with the organization’s dress code and represent the company correctly.

“This is a seriously competitive market; don’t let yourself down by making a simple mistake.”

Not every industry subscribes to traditional dress codes. Creative sector, such as digital and fashion, are much more likely to not abide by standard dress codes. Katie Self, a manager at Page Executive Digital and a specialist in Agency and Digital Creative sectors, tells us that even in an industry where dress codes are more relaxed, it’s still important to dress to impress. Since it’s a creative industry, you have more freedom to wear fashion-forward or colorful pieces.  

“First impressions count, so what you wear should reflect the company’s brand.”

Fashion is another industry where traditional dress codes are almost non-existent. Nicola Wensley, a Director at Page Executive, is a specialist in the fashion sector and tells us that more often than not, the internal dress code reflects the company’s product. For example, companies that sell contemporary clothing will be wearing next season’s fashion items to work. In fashion, part of your job can be interacting with PR and attending industry events. Therefore, what you wear is important because it demonstrates that not only do you work there, but you truly embody the brand. In the fashion industry, your style is a reflection of taste. Particularly if you are in a role that involves making product decisions and styling, it is a key indicator of your ability to perform.

One thing is clear, how you dress for work is important. Whatever you do, wherever you work, your attire can be a significant part of your identity and a key factor in how you are perceived throughout your relationship with a company.

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