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June 13, 2019
Modern corporate dress code - how to be apprioriate but still express yourself
By: Svetlana Fridman

As Millennials started pushing for a more flexible working environment where people could be themselves, one of the many areas to change was the corporate dress code.

As a result, I’m pleased to say the formal business suits and shirts I used to wear when I started work 20 years ago are now peacefully gathering dust in the corner of my wardrobe.

The rise of the ‘business casual’ dress code has allowed me to be more practical (and comfortable) as I can now mix and match my weekend wear with a few more professional pieces. Not to mention I can now let my personality shine through and be the real ‘me’ at work.

Those of us with a passion for fashion – or a yen to be different – have been cheering from the sidelines as more and more big corporates introduce flexible dress code policies. But I’m also mindful that for some people the current relaxed attitude to business attire can actually be a bit confusing when you’re unsure of how to dress for a job.

If your morning is busy enough without having to think about what to wear, then the vague terms in which corporates now couch their dress codes can be overwhelming.

What does business casual actually mean?

At Accenture we trust employees to make their own decisions about their workwear. That means dressing in a way that:

  • Makes you feel comfortable – select clothes that make you feel authentic, proud and truly yourself.
  • Is respectful to clients and colleagues – at work we don’t just dress for ourselves. In an inclusive workplace, we also have to be mindful of other people’s sensibilities and cultures.
  • Is safe and appropriate for your working environment – think about the office or client site where you’ll spend most of your day and choose clothing and shoes that is appropriate.
  • Adapt your wardrobe to fit in with your client – dress for how you want to represent yourself and Accenture in front of the client. We often say dress for your day. So if your client is slightly more formal then dress in a way suitable for that. The same goes if they dress more casually.

What should I wear for an interview?

That same theory applies to interviews. Try to dress one layer more professionally than you would for a regular day at work, but I always encourage people to let their personality show through! If in doubt just ask the recruiter or hiring manager what the dress code is like when you’re organising the interview.

But I’ve always worn a suit to work…

If you’re still clinging to 20th Century corporate dress codes, I’ll leave you with some food for thought, a quote from a Forbes interview on the changing workplace with Amazon Director, Rob Green. Rob says: “I started my career wearing a suit and tie, then moved to khaki slacks with a button down shirt and navy blazer. Now, I wear jeans and t-shirts to look relevant to these young kids at work who are smart as whips and can assimilate information at an incredible rate. Wear a suit and you’re dismissed as someone who can’t keep up.”

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