What Is The New Economy Dressing for Success?

Thanks to the geek aesthetic of the high-tech industry, the work-in-your-Jammies home office movement in today’s low unemployment hiring environment, business casual wear has taken off in a big way. And employers are increasingly tweaking dress policies in order to relax them. Traditionally, industries like media, fashion, information technology and advertising tend to be casual, while law, banking, accountancy and the service industry lean towards the conservative. But since techies have taken over the world, technopreneur chic has suddenly become de rigueur.

So it is out with stuffy suits and court shoes, and in with trousers and funky trainers. And suddenly everyone-including bastions of conservatism like banks-is jumping on the bandwagon techwear aesthetic to look hip rather than establishment…

According to an Asian woman’s website poll, more than half of the respondents suggested that the new economy dress code should be comfortable. Even employers agree with that.

While the trend toward business casual has spelled more comfort, for some, it is meant more confusion. Take Adeline Foo’s case, for example. She works in the accounts department of bank. When the bank relaxed its dress codes, she turned up for work in Capri pants and a tee shirt, but was later informed by the human resources department that is was not appropriate.

The trouble with casual wear is that there are no boundaries to indicate what is and what is not appropriate. One person might understand casual to mean khakis and a sports jacket. Another might think it means a pair of jeans and tank tops…

Even in the age of Silicon Valley casual chic, it is still vital to dress to impress. Despite new economy ideas permeating the workplace, some things remain resolutely constant; power, hierarchical and economic status is still communicated by the way we dress…

So what are the new guidelines when firms “go casual”? With this great new informality at the workplace how do you avoid looking like you just rolled out of bed? How do you get it right?

While there is little consensus on what makes up business casual, experts agree the following have no place on the job: Capri pants, tank tops and halter-tops and halter-tops, cardigan jackets, flip-flops, revealing attire and gym wear.

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