21st Century Office Wear - have we seen the last of the three-piece suit?

21st Century Office Wear - have we seen the last of the three-piece suit?

You might have seen it splashed across the news in early 2018 that only 1 in 10 employees wears a suit to work these days. This was taken from a study of 2000 workers, which produced some surprising findings, including:

  • The number one item that a man wouldn’t wear to the workplace is a tie
  • Whereas women would leave a skirt suit behind
  • Richard Branson is the top fashion influencer for businessmen
  • Donna Karan sets a fine fashion example for corporate ladies

While we might not have noticed the trend, it’s something that Travelodge, who commissioned the study, have certainly paid attention to. According to their spokeswoman, Shakila Ahmed, “over the last three decades our hotel teams across our 559 hotels have reported a decline in the number of business customers checking in kitted out in a traditional three-piece business suit.  Also, we have seen a rapid decline in the number of ties, cufflinks, tie pins and suits being left behind at our hotels.”

Modern business travellers are adopting a comfortable casual look

And this is being replicated across British offices too.

The study found that 7 out of 10 office workers opted to dress casually because it made them feel more comfortable. Being able to express your personality and have a more affordable work wardrobe are certainly factors in this trend away from the traditional three-piece suit, but is there another reason why we’ve ditched formal business wear?

With the boss being seen more of a coach and critical friend than an authority figure and having less formality around the office in general, it shouldn’t come as a shock that these standards have transferred across to the dress code.

The introduction of dress-down days has most certainly had an effect too. By enabling office staff to be independent in their fashion choices, expressing their personality and creativity has relaxed the overall clothing standards, with many companies deciding against a dress code altogether.

What do workers wear in an office environment in Britain today?

Well, the study found that chinos and jeans with loafers or smart trainers have become the new norm, coupled with long-sleeved button shirts and blazers. For women, the shift has been made to skirts with blouses, rather than the traditional shoulder-padded power suit.

Previously, it was felt, women had to power dress in the fight for equality and to reach senior positions within a male-dominated company. Nowadays, the struggle appears to have been won and women feel more comfortable dressing according to their individual taste rather than being afraid of rocking the boat.

The power suit has been a business staple in the office since the 19th century, when workers would wear a three-piece suit according to the dress code of the day, knowing this would set them on the right track for success. Nowadays, the motivation to impress others isn’t so strong, and we’re more likely to dress for ourselves – can anyone argue that’s a bad thing?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic, so do drop us a comment below.

Photo by Nahashon Diaz from Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-wearing-black-shawl-lapel-suit-jacket-865530/

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