Dress neat for work

The office-goer must look neat and professional. The ideal workplace dress nowadays tends to be just appropriate but not formal or stiff, writes Sukumar Dutt

Office wear should never be casual
Office wear should never be casual

THE office dress ethics are changing fast, especially after the IT brigade took over the workplace. Recently a survey commissioned by an international team of dress designers showed that most of the employees in offices in our metros are wearing casual outfits or business casual dress, showing that most of our offices are loosening the dress codes. Not only that, the maxim, that for an interview for a job at the company headquarters, you must wear a formal outfit of suit/boot/tie, is also under scrutiny.

In fact some of the specialised recruiting agencies feel that too formal a dress tends to reduce the interaction between the interviewer and the candidate. As Rajen Chowdhury, a career expert and vice president of the marketing firm, Jobs International, says the basic idea is that better comfortable dress in office produces better productivity. But he also cautions that this should not result in the office attire becoming as casual as a picnic.

The office-goer must look neat and professional. As yet, the line between your office dress and the after-office- hours attire is still strict. But one has to accept that fashion has moved forward to a classic phase, with emphasis on versatile, softly tailored pieces. The ideal workplace dress nowadays tends to be just appropriate but not 
formal or stiff.

But the style is still essential, although it may not be necessary to wear a grey two-piece business suit. To the employer it has created a problem as to where to draw the line without being branded as old fashioned or oppressive. The more conservative bosses put the blame on the doorstep of the IT, entertainment and media companies, which have brought in many lifestyle and behaviour changes in the office room.

As per Krishna Pathak, CEO of a Bombay-based human resources firm, “ the industry you are in and the culture of the state you work seems to have changed the dress code.’’ But the booming entertainment industry, the teeming fashion designer firms and the creative arts encourage an informal atmosphere, where anything is acceptable. But as Narayani Sandu, vice president of New Era Advertising states, “ even within casual wear, there are boundaries, and shorts at office are a strict no-no’’. Formal wear for men is shirts and trousers, while casual wear can be jeans, corduroys, linen trousers and T-shirts. Broadly, office attire has been classified into two groups. Business professional dressing is now called business appropriate dressing, which most of us follow. Then comes business appropriate casual dressing. For this you have to maintain the limits of conservative guidelines. Do not be seen in the office in flashy prints and attention-seeking trousers.

Try and keep a formal jacket handy and for ladies, an extra pair of shoes is recommended. These are handy in case you get called in to a last-minute meeting and need a more elegant look. If you are unsure about the unwritten rules of dress code in your workplace, ask a supervisor or take directions from a respected co-worker. — MF