Your younger colleagues think you need to dress smarter, study finds

  • More than half of UK millennials believe their workplace would benefit from a smarter dress code

A RECENT survey has found that more than half (56 per cent) of millennials think their office would benefit from a smarter, better enforced dress code. What’s more, only around a third (34 per cent) think their workplace colleagues dress smartly enough already.

The new data suggests that the perception of millennial attitudes, around challenging conventional working environments, might actually be changing. Only seven per cent of millennials believe dressing comfortably or fashionably is more important than being perceived as professional, whilst 77 per cent agreed that dressing professionally means you are taken more seriously.

Justin Grau, fashion expert and publisher of Aspiring Gentlemen, said, “I believe the workplace really determines the way you should dress. If you work at say Google or Facebook, it is likely acceptable to dress casually, but if you work in a more traditional workplace where it is expected to dress ‘professionally’ you should dress at least at the average dress level.”

In comparison, another survey conducted by the same company discovered that nearly half of over 45-year olds (42 per cent) believe comfort is the most important factor for office attire. However, 53 per cent of this age group agree with millennials that there should be an enforced dress code, with 65 per cent dressing to look professional.

Smart dress equals success?

Sophie Green, a fashion blogger who has worked in the professional clothing industry, says: “I have always been of the opinion that first impressions count in the workplace. Following fashion trends is less applicable in corporate roles, instead I’d recommend investing in good tailoring be that a suit, tailored dress or similar. Whilst I believe that casual wear is becoming more commonplace in city roles (ties are less prevalent for example) I think when dressed smartly half the battle is already won.”

Jeffrey Doltis of The Savile Row Company, who commissioned the survey, was not surprised by the results.  “We have certainly seen an increase in sales of our casual clothing, however sales of formal shirts and suits has remained steady across all age groups,” he told “We have a large proportion of loyal, repeat customers which certainly goes to show that good tailoring never goes out of style!”

With many businesses relaxing working regulations, with benefits such as flexible working, you might think more of the workforce would be keen to see a relaxation in attire.

However, even though having the freedom to dress how they please is important, it’s evident the younger generation do still want to maintain a smarter dress code.

About the survey

The survey asked office workers about the dress code at their workplace. Survey respondents were asked if there was an enforced dress code at their workplace, how they would like to be perceived at work, which factors they consider when choosing clothes for work and if they think people who dress smart are taken more seriously.