- One-third of employees in a new Randstad U.S. survey conducted by polling firm Dynata said they would not only leave their job if they were required to follow a conservative dress code, but they would also forgo a $5,000 salary bump to be able to dress casually.
- Most of the respondents described their employers' dress code policies as either business casual, casual or non-existent (i.e. no dress code). Yet for job interviews, 65% said it's important to wear a suit, regardless of an employer's dress code, and 42% said they'd rather be 20 minutes late to an interview than arrive looking underdressed or disheveled. For video interviews, half the respondents said they would dress conservatively from the waist up and casually from the waist down.
- Respondents rejected some attire as too casual, including ripped jeans (73%) and leggings (56%). High heels that are above three inches and open-toed shoes were both described as unprofessional by 50% and 40% of those surveyed, respectively.
Informal attire may well be emerging as a norm in the modern workplace. The number of workplaces that allow casual dress sits at roughly 50% compared to just 32% five years ago, according to an analysis released last month by Indeed. The company also found that 62% of workplaces have at least one casual dress day per week, and it cited a U.K. study that found 61% of job seekers viewed negatively employers that enforce dress codes.
Some of the biggest U.S. companies have opted to relax their dress codes. Target now allows its store team members to wear denim as long as they also wear a red top, while Walmart permits team members to wear jeans and sneakers and also updated its employee vests. Even normally buttoned-down financial service firm Goldman Sachs rolled out a relaxed dress code in 2019 — while reminding its employees that a casual look may not be best for client meetings.
Such policies can help employees feel both respected and appreciated on the job, one source previously told HR Dive, but employers must still ensure that relaxed dress codes don't conflict with existing safety guidelines. That includes requiring that any mandated uniform pieces be clean and presentable. But there are other legal risks to be aware of that result from creating policies that are too detailed or unnecessarily descriptive.