Stilettos or flats? Tie or no tie? What is appropriate business attire?

All the papers have been covering the issue of the temp who was told to go home because she would not change into heals.

Julia Roberts walked bare foot up the red carpet in Cannes to demonstrate her feelings on the fact last year actresses were told they could not attend in flat shoes.

The big Sunday debate was not about politics, but the different fashion styles of Andrew Marr and Robert Preston. Marr goes for the tie, Preston goes for no tie. And didn’t George Osborne look uncomfortable appearing on the Preston show minus his tie.  It looked as though it had been dragged off him.

Where do you sit with the dress code?(19-5-16) Tie and Shoes

Those were the days.

Anybody who started working in the city during the late seventies or early eighties would have had a very different experience. People were told to wear dark suits, blue or white shirts, conservative ties and most importantly black, clean lace up shoes with 6 holes.

Heaven forbid – a pink shirt.

Employees were sent home to change for not conforming back in those days. With stories circulated regularly about employees turning up
with black slip-on shoes, and being sent home to change. Turning up for work in brown shoes or a pink shirt would have been met with horror. Men in brown suits and brown shoes were bookies not bankers.

And as for women

Women were few and far between – especially on the trading floors. But which ever role they had they were expected to be dressed appropriately, with tights or stockings, dress or skirt and blouse. Trousers were only for the men – a definite no, no for ladies.

How things have changed, or have they?

Dress-down Friday

We started with the dress-down Friday, which somehow evolved into dress down week.

In the most conservative institutions you rarely see a tie these days, and employees rarely put on jackets to attend meetings.

Things are changing though. A number of financial institutions have withdrawn the right for their staff to dress down any day of the week.

Is this a trend that is going to continue?

Appropriate attire?

Remits are being issued about appropriate attire for attending meetings, especially external meetings or while face to face with clients. These state the need for shirt and tie.  Jackets are to be worn unless permission is obtained to remove them. The need for clean smart shoes is stressed. Oh, and one of the best, ensure you smell appropriately – be clean but don’t jump in the aftershave or perfume bath.

So why the change?

Have we gone too far down the casual route?(19-5-16) Suit

Does what we wear really affect how we work?

Talking to a number of twenty somethings, they said; “It’s easier to have a work uniform, suit and tie, dress or skirt or tailored trousers.  I don’t need to think about what I’m going to wear each day. I can leave those decisions to evenings and weekends. I don’t need the unnecessary stress in my already stressful life”.

Others said “If I dress for work, then I go into work mode. I get into the zone and feel comfortable. It motivates me”.

So where do you sit on this?

Should we return to the seventies and eighties?

Should dress-down stay or should we be somewhere in between?

FSTP would love to hear your comments as we run a number of courses for graduates on behalf of financial institutions. Contact us on