SURVEY SAYS: Do You Have a New Dress Code?

July 12, 2007 ( - We've been reading lately how some employers are moving to put the business back in business casual - or at least finding themselves in the business of reminding folks (particularly during the hot summer months) about the appropriate standards for dress in the workplace.

This week, I asked readers if their dress code at work had OFFICIALLY changed over the past year.

Two-thirds (68.4%) said their workplace codes had not changed – but only two-thirds of that group said they were thankful for that lack of change.   The rest were apparently anxious for change of some kind.  

On the other hand, roughly a quarter said that changes had been issued.   Here, too, the reaction to the change was mixed; approximately half were pleased with that result – the other half not.   The remaining 5% opted for other (or weren’t sure).   Most of this group said that there hadn’t been an official change, but that changes were occurring nonetheless.

Among this week’s verbatim comments were:

Casual dress led to casual work hours, and the boss laid down the law—we can still dress down, but we have to be here by 8:00 and can’t leave until 5:00.

We have always had a business casual policy in my 12 years here, but it is extremely loose in practice. There are some dusty rules somewhere, but they are only dragged out for a few. The code in reality is basically if you’re liked what you do is fine, if not there could be problems.

There was an attempt to move back towards business dress, but the revolt was put down.

Some of the dress is way too casual. Even though we don’t allow jeans, some of the casual outfits would make jeans look like professional attire.

The dress code is unchanged. What has changed is the interpretation. Yikes! Summer attire varies from slacks and button-down shirt to something a pole dancer would wear. Of course, no one ever says a word to these folks.

It appears that business casual has been confused with beach wear casual in many instances.

Call me old fashioned, but I see way more flesh in the workplace than I want to.

Most of our employees dress like they are going to scrub the kitchen floor.

But this week’s Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who noted, “No amount of definition will be clear enough to define casual for everyone. Someone will find a way to cross over the line and go from casual to ‘you got to be kidding me.'”

Thanks to everyone who participated in our survey!

 1.People always try to push the envelope with the dress code, but we try to accommodate more in the summer by throwing in an occasional jeans and tennis shoes day.
 2.Our business casual has gotten progressively out of hand......a revision of the policy is definitely in order. As we all know, a few people who do not know (or do not care) about the way they look at work can cause the entire group to be penalized. Business casual has become business sloppy.
 3.Our office attire has never been casual. We take pride in our employee population dressing appropriately for business as business professionals. Once upon a time we held casual Friday's for dress codes. Over time it went completely out of control no matter how managers addressed problems or the amount of communications that were published.
 4.I know that all working in our location haven't read it. We continue to dress in our much less than business casual but we meet all the financial goals set up for our office. The big suits stay away as they should.
 5.Form following Function - Does wearing a short sleeved collared shirt on a 1oo degree heat index day really hamper work ethic or instead spare needless discomfort and enhance productivity . . .
 6.The dress code has changed. Unfortunately behavior hasn't. I think some people around here own nothing but jeans and sneakers.
 7.Unfortunately, people look like they are headed for the beach instead of to work!
 8.We are business casual, unless of course someone has a meeting. It's in the hundreds here during the summer - suits are just too hot. I never could figure out how the people on television show "Dallas" walked around downtown Dallas in full suits - they had to have people following them around off-camera with fans and ice cubes.
 9.Dress Code changed in 2006. Business casual for female gender is now official logo wear. For men it is shirt and tie with no jacket. Men also have the option to wear a logo shirt as casual wear, but only with a tie!
 10.from casual (jeans and tennis shoes) to businiess casual with a casual Friday with no tennis shoes. (No tennis shoes with the jeans! What's that!)
 11.We finally went to casual Fridays!
 12.The fashion industry as a whole has done a disservice to the working environment and schools. Comfortable clothing and self-expression are great when coupled with common sense, decency and morales. Many, not all, workers today have got to be reminded. The few make it hard on the many.
 13.I would like to see us with year 'round business casual, but currently it's professional dress (suits, ties, stockings)except on Fridays and summer months when it's business casual.
 14.We have the occasional offender of the CODE, usually by young females that took too many dress clues from Paris Hilton. It's too risque for our industry.
 15.Working for State goverment, we remain, for the most part, just shy of business formal (suits, etc.). On Fridays everyone who doesn't have designs on their boss's job can wear jeans. For my division, though, I have allowed the guys to were polo shirts and khakis because it dreadfully warm in our offices. The women can always where skits and sleeveless tops so they can adjust pretty easily.
 16.This happens every summer. We have to pass out copies of the dress code and remind everyone that jens with holes in them are NOT dress jeans, bare midriffs and tshirts with slogans do not meet the dress code. We are pretty relaxed about what does - I'd let people wear jeans to work every day if they would wear NICE ones. But we limit it to Friday and even then have to remind some that they are at Work!
 17.No, we are business casual. (Dress shirt or Golf shirt with slacks M-R, jeans and favorite sports team shirt on Fridays) If we expect to have direct customer contact then we wear shirt and tie no matter what day.
 18.One half of our practice has no dress code, my half has a strict one.
 19.Casual dress led to casual work hours and the boss laid down the law - we can still dress down but we have to be here by 8:00 and can't leave until 5:00.
 20.Women are not required to wear nylons.
 21.We're in Phoenix, so our firm has the sanity to go with business casual year round, including allowing jeans on Friday. The staff is surprisingly compliant to business casual - none of the flip-flop wearing, belly bearing type outfits that I've seen present issues at prior employers. Thankfully, people here seem to get it!
 22.We are a small firm - several years ago the boss gave up suits & ties for dockers and sports shirts. That allowed the rest of us to become "offically" business casual every day of the week (not just on Fridays). However, levi's (clean; no holes) are still only a Friday thing (unless you have a long day scheduled in the file room or some such thing). We love it!
 23.I say yes, thankfully, for me, because of course, I use the utmost professional judgment in getting dressed every morning, and I never make errors in judgment. (In fact, I don't really even need a dress code.) And yes, unfortunately, for the rest of the crowd, because they don't really understand professional dress like I do, and boy, do they wear some questionable clothing. spagetti straps for women, no shorts for casual fridays, no logo) non compnay)tee shirts
 25.Our new 500-employee neighbor permits jeans, short and flip-flops.....and it's not pretty! Our "jeans days" are increasing in frequency but are not a formal part of the polciy.
 26.I like business casual, but I do think employees have taken it too far. Flip flops and bermuda shorts are not "business" casual!
 27.Before changing jobs last year, I had been at a firm that allowed shorts and T-shirts. At least my new firm allows "business casual" during summer. casual in summer now means weekend casual..Are they kidding? Tank tops and flip flops in a business setting? I always dress appropriate, but see fellow employees that do not abide by the code.
 29.Fortunately our staff is aware of what is appropriate and what is not.
 30.Guess that will depend on who gets to vote on it! The guys proably like it as it is, however....... :>)
 31.I don't think I could afford to upgrade my wardrobe if we moved to a more formal dress code!
 32.I work for a company that makes athletic and sports inspired apparel, and our only official dress code is to 'support the brand' and not wear apparel or footwear made by a competitor. Right now I'm wearing shorts and a T-shirt.....
 33.We are in San Diego and dress is generally more casual throughout the city and particularly in our industry of biotech. If they tried to "business it up" there would be wide spread mutiny. People generally do the right thing to protect the current dress code level.
 34.we now allow "professional" capri-style pants and dressy sandels. I say unfortunately because, some are pushing to a more casual look instead of the professional one.
 35.We have always had a business casual policy in my 12 years here but it is extremely loose in practice. There are some dusty rules somewhere but they are only dragged out for a few. The code in reality is basically if you're liked what you do is fine, if not there could be problems. A little annoying. Personally, I dress a true business casual, I like to seperate work from home. I don't wear a tie at home and I don't wear jeans and tevas to work.
 36.We do, however, make greater use of "dress down days" for which employees pay extra ($5 per week), with the proceeds going to an employees assistance fund or to help a specific charitable organization.
 37.Business casual is still the standard but certain departments are more formal than others. I wear a jacket or suit most days. The hardest thing to follow is the shoe policy for women which says no open toes or backs and no sandals of any type. I already wear a difficult size and this policy is so limiting that it drives me crazy.
 38.Some office employees do wear what I consider less than tasteful attire during the summer. We have had occiasion to request that an employee not wear a specific outfit back to work again.
 39.Most people wear jeans but during the summer...they even wear shorts, short tops, tank tops and flip flops. It isn't right.
 40.Nothing has been mentioned at all, but then it hasn't been necessary. We have no fashion offenders.
 41.We are currently "business casual." However, some (especially the younger women) take it to mean "casual". Even though guidelines state no flip-flops, some still wear them. The guidelines are clear, but not enforced by all management throughout the company. The worst thing about it is the inconsistentcy in the company. People (mostly women) get angry because one dept. is allowed to wear capri pants, no hose, flip-flops, etc. and some are not allowed.............. HR says it's management's responsiblity to enforce, and some managers pay attention, others do not.
 42.We were able to wear jeans and sneakers on a regular basis, even shorts in the summer. It changed at the start of this year which required a big shopping spree as the "casual" dress code was the norm for three years.
 43.there was an attempt to move back towards business dress, but the revolt was put down
 44.Some of the dress is way too casual. Even though we don't allow jeans, some of the casual outfits would make jeans look like professional attire.
 45.Our dress code has lightened up considerably. Women can now wear sandals and even capri pants, men can wear polo shirts. It's come a long way from the stiff buttoned-up look of just a few years ago.
 46.We are a service orpanization (TPA) and no one comes into the office. As the owner, I like to be comforatble in shorts on a hot summer day and my staff has appreciated it as well.
 47.The dress code is unchanged. What has changed is the interpretation. Yikes! Summer attire varies from slacks and button-down shirt to something a pole dancer would wear. Of course no one ever says a word to these folks.
 48.I started working from home a year ago. So I went from business casual to bunny slippers! My only rule is that I must shower by 10 am each day.
 49.Working for a very white collar, conservative financial institution, I would have bet my entire retirement savings on the fact that we would NOT allow business casual Fridays. A few years ago, all employees received a memo that we would indeed be going business casual on Fridays. I'm glad I didn't make that bet! Women are still required to wear hosiery and men, button up shirts but it was an official change from suits.
 50.Our dress code for women is "Suburban Backyard Housewife". It consists of a large shirt over a sleeveless top, cropped pants and flip-flops/slides. For some reason, those wearing this outfit feel they're dressed for business. Maybe they forgot the mop and bucket that surely belongs with their attire!
 51.It appears that business casual has been confused with beach wear casual in many instances.
 52.We have had a casual dress code for about 9 years. There are some length restrictions to shorts halter tops, but they are being ignored.
 53.We are corporate casual every day except Friday, when we can wear jeans. However, meetings with clients and prospects are always suit and tie irregardless of their dress.
 54.Call me old fashioned, but I see way more flesh in the workplace than I want to.
 55.We are business dress 100% of the time. It would be nice though, to have the occasional casual friday.
 56.We went from blue jeans on every Friday to jeans just on the last Friday of the month. Call it a compromise.
 57.When it got to flip-flops and bare midriffs on our Friday "casual day", I felt that was too much. I worry about the backlash from management and really don't want to go back to suits and ties...especially in our 100+ degree summers.
 58.Business casual has been taken to a new level, we are beginning to see more jeans, tennis shoes, flip flops, and sports wear worn everyday vice the business casual dress on Fridays.
 59.HR reminds everyone of the "official" dress code each year, usually at the beginning of the summer (which seems to be the season in which people dress the most casually). However, there is a serious lack of enforcement. I don't have a problem with business casual, but shorts, flip flops, ratty jeans, etc. do not belong in a professional workplace. These items are listed as no no's in our dress code, but on any given day you will see all of them around the office.
 60.Officially our dress code hasn't changed but the actual dress of employees had been more and more casual especially here in the summer.
 61.We've gone to "jeans Fridays"... and of course sneakers and t-shirts seem to go with jeans for a lot of people. Ugh.
 62.I LOVE our business casual dress code. Especially since that means I don't have to wear stockings (panty hose). Each year we are reminded that flip flops and tank tops are not allowed. Denim (of any color or style) is never allowed. But who cares? I no longer even own a suit. My entire wardrobe is based on mix-and-match separates that can go to the office or stay home. Much cheaper and easier and way more comfortable.
 63.Khakis are out, even for Fridays. Dress shirts and ties are in. Women's attire is comparably modified.
 64.Personally, take the casual "out" of business casual. When we dressed professionally, people acted professionally and produced better work. What's wrong with that? Now that people dress casually for everything in life, they act casually about everything in life - and there is something wrong with that!
 65.We gave frienndly "reminders" about propriety of dress. No changes were necessary though.
 66.Everyone from the President to the lowest level wears the same uniform, so it doesn't matter!
 67.We are now allowed to wear business casual dress from Memoral Day to Labor day. No more sweaty suits!
 68.However, HR has found it necessary to remind folks that tank tops, sandals, flip-flops and shorts are not appropriate attire, whether in a business setting or in the factory.
 69.Most of our employees dress like they are going to scrub the kitchen floor. Our employees are not visible to the general public but it would be nice to see them tidy themselves up once in a while.
 70.For the most part it is a good thing, however, there are always those individuals who need some fashion tips!
 71.The Company added the option for women to wear capri pants. Ugh.
 72.Male employees can now loose the necktie for the summer months.We still are mandated to wear dress pants and shoes with button down shirts.
 73.We are required to wear suits, even though we have no external client interaction. We don't have to wear the jacket on Fridays though! Woohoo!
 74.Some employees don't seem to understand that business casual doesn't mean beachwear or clothes you wear to a club. Because we don't have an onsite HR presence (corporate handles all HR issues) no one is responsible for advising employees the correct attire to wear to work. Which of course, ends with others upset at what some employees "get away with."
 75.We have tightened up the rules more, more formal.....
 76.I cannot believe some of these young (and a few old) people think they are dressing for work! I have seen see-through white dresses, thigh-high leather boots with micro-mini skirt, tight pants and belly shirts (some with belly roll), gothic pants with rips, and of course, the never-ending sea of flip-flops. Then, there are the tank tops, blue jeans, tattoos hanging out everywhere, black nail paint, etc. I don't believe any of these people know what BUSINESS casual means, and I can't believe they actually got hired looking that way - this is a Major Manufacturing Corp!!
 77.No amount of definition will be clear enough to define casual for everyone. Someone will find a way to cross over the line and go from casual to "you got to be kidding me".
 78.In an employeee survey, some employees requested the company go "business casual". The CEO had reservations, but agreed to a trial period this summer. However, defining "business casual" and what is considered appropriate required HR to actually create a full color brochure with examples of appropriate and inappropriate attire, and made managers the enforcers. It has been hugely controversial, and other than the guys not having to wear ties, it doesn't seem much has changed, after all the fuss!
 79.When a dress policy is relaxed, professionalism goes by the wayside. Painted toe nails saddled in flipflops or the unshaven face are an eyesore!
 80.10 years ago, all the men had to wear ties and pants on women were frowned upon, which has fortunately changed since then. This year, they just said women didn't have to wear hose. Yes, I'm in the last bastion of conservatism - a bank!
 81.I'm not sure we have a dress code so I'm not sure it's changed. No dress code may explain the number of shorts, short pants and flip flops I've seen. And while I haven't seen a halter or tube top yet that doesn't mean someone isn't wearing one I haven't seen yet. I think we've gone beyond business casual and are in to the business vacation dress territory. If I wore flip flops to work I'd probably break a toe on something--then there'd be paperwork to do. Ugh.
 82."Business Casual" has become no business and all casual. Flip-Flops? Even though management sends out "reminders", associates still dressing like they're going to a Jimmy Buffett concert! Management needs to start sending people home to change......
 83.People need be occasionally reminded that office attire need be worn but thankfully we have continued business casual M-Th and limited dress down on Fr year round.
 84.Thankfully, employees were told no sweatshirts, flip flops or garden clogs. Also, no tshirts with sayings. Unfortunately, the shoe edict was phrased as no summer sandals or open toed shoes this also means no flip flops and garden clogs. I have a closet full of dressy sandals and open toed shoes, so do many other women in the office. It was spoiled for us by a few sloppy dressers. On the shoe issue, management is hanging it's hat on safety and open toed shoes aren't safe.
 85.Our company never went to business casual -- men still have to wear ties, women are supposed to dress in business attire but some of the outfits (stretch pants, etc.) leave a lot to be desired. The change our company made was going to "spirit day" Friday's. One can only dress casual if they're wearing a company logo'd shirt (purchased by one's self.) What a deal!!
 86.XYZA has been officially business casual for some time. That does not include jeans and tennis shoes, but you see a lot of those on Fridays, and it doesn't appear to be too much of a problem. Of course, at client sites, it's whatever the client wears. I am still waiting for someone somewhere to institute "Tube Top Day." That's the way someone from my prior employer days would scare any one in management from having a casual day...she insisted it degenerate into Tube Top Day.
 87.Fortunately, most people in our office understand "business casual" and stick to it. Of course, there are always one or two who watch way too much Paris and Brittany and try to emulate their "style." Equally as fortunate, our management is OK with dress being a little more casual than business.
 88.In our office, inappropriate attire is sort of like pornography. I can't tell you exactly what it is but I'll know it if I see it. If I do see it we'll go back to ties and pantyhose. That seems to be an adequate deterrent from what might otherwise be problematic.
 89.It's always been 'casual,' with 'business casual' on client visit days...HR recently reminded us of prohibited clothing after an uncited colleague wore some sort of layered outfit that neglected to hide her lingerie. I guess 'skanky' isn't an appropriate subset of 'business casual.'
Just yes. Not sure if it is good or bad.
Our official policy hasn't changed, but we're permitted to wear jeans (no holes, tears, rips, etc) on Fridays between Memorial Day and Labor Day. As a law firm, this permitted casual attire is almost scandalous!
It officially changed about a year ago to become more formal but, in all honesty, it doesn't seem to have made any sort of difference in how employees come to the office. (even the man who sent out the pronouncement hasn't dressed up more!)
Not officially- It does make me laugh to see "No Jeans" in the dress code but it seems to be acceptable to wear denim skirts, denim shirts, denim jackets, flip flops, baggy pants, plain t-shirts, wear your shirt not tucked in, etc.
Dress code is not enforced
We moved to business casual for the period from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

I'll confess that my interest in Major League Baseball's All-Star game has faded over the years (ironically, as the "involvement" of the fans in the team selection increased) - nonetheless, it marks something of a halfway point in the season (and the summer).  So, as a "bonus" question this week, I asked readers if they cared about the results of the contest (an exciting one, by all accounts, including an inside the park home run).

More than half (58%) didn't care, while roughly one-in-five (21.4%) said they did care - but a nearly identical 20.6% opted for "other".   "Other" in most cases meaning they didn't know AND didn't care…

A sampling of verbatims is on the next page - but this week's Bonus Editor's Choice goes to the reader who said they were "…a Phillies fan...desperate to see more than two good players on the field at once."

Thanks to everyone for participating in the survey! 

 1.There are major leagues?
 2.Since the Cleveland Indians may be in contention this year, I'm thrilled that the American League won. We want that home field advantage when we get to the World Series! (Stranger things have happened!)
 3.No, I'm an atheist even though Barry Bonds is a local guy and I heard he got a good reception.
 4.In another lifetime where I had time, I would care. line during this time of the year is "Who care? It's only baseball! When does football season start?"
 6.Not do/did I care, but do/did I know? Nope.
 7.It was played here in our city by the bay and so for one week, the street people were shuffled away from downtown. All that money spent on baseball while sick and homeless people sleep on concrete.
 8.Watched the end (mostly) had a meeting. VERY sorry I missed the inside the park home run!
 9.i watched since it is summer rerun time
 10.I'm a Phillies plan...desperate to see more than two good players on the field at once.
 11.This question could also give you insight to male/female participation.
 12.Now that the winner determines home field advantage for the World Series, I am at least interested in the outcome.
 13.With the season being over 682 games, it is tough to figure out the mid may point to even begin to care about the All-Star game.
 15.I missed it.
 16.However, my husband and son do care. They are huge Twins fans.
 17.only to see how my team's players perform
 18.I would have cared, but it was a beautiful evening and I needed to be out for a walk instead of sitting in front of the TV!
 19.No, not any more due to the high salaries and average ball players that play in the game. It is sad to see the low batting averages, home run and hits in with these supposely "All-Stars.
 20.Waiting for football. All other sports are irrelevant.
 21.Thankfully, I've never been afflicted with the sports bug.
 22.I chose to watch a bunch of high school girls play a recreational league softball game. I did not see 1) overpaid announcers singing their incredible skills (the announcers' skills that is), agents threatening a strike if more money was not supplied, or prima donna doped-up players batting .221 who were convinced by millions of fans that, regardless of what they did on or off the field, they were more important to the world than even Paris Hilton, Anna Nicole Smith or Princess Di. The girls laughed when they made silly mistakes, congratulated each other when they were successful and shook hands when it was over. Most didn't know, or care, what the final score was. I definitely received the better entertainment value.
 23.I didn't even know.
 25.I didn't watch it, but was happy the AL won, and that SIX Red Sox were chosen to participate!
 26.Always watch game..........
 27.The short answer is no. The expanded answer is that I did not realize it was being played - who won?