Black is new black at work

Should office dress be smart?
Should office dress be smart?

I remember those days well.

Sweating over what to wear for the first day of work while exchanging black trousers for another pair of black trousers and then a black skirt.

Anxiously wondering if I would fit in on my first day..

It seems a long time ago (it was.)

Now I’m of that age and experience now where if it is clean, smart, comfortable and ideally doesn’t require ironing it’s perfect for work- although black remains a winner.

But smart is the key word here because dress codes are becoming increasingly more casual and perhaps thanks to the ‘Bill Gates’ effect, even jeans are acceptable to work these days.

A new study has proven that this relinquishing of dress codes is leading to stress and confusion amongst British workers.

Like non-uniform day at the end of the school year, lesser expectations equal greater pressure with 36% saying they feel judged on what they wear with 25% struggling to find suitable Mufti every day.

As a result 36% would prefer a compulsory uniform to make life easier.

Here in the newsroom, we adopt a fairly relaxed but smart office approach.

As any reporter worth their salt should know, you cannot turn up to court, council chamber or an important meeting in sloppy jeans and t-shirts.

We have a professional image to project if not a city smart one. I have twice known reporters berated in court by a judge or magistrate about their dress, once because a female reporter’s top was considered too low cut, once a skirt too short.

Which in itself an interesting debate because 25% of women say they have been subjected to inappropriate comments about their dress.

It’s a problem.

Rightly or wrongly, smart dress projects trust.

But even in newsrooms, it common to see work experience students turn up in skinny jeans and trainers and dress-codes in organisations like the BBC, the only smartly-clad people are on camera.

But behind those TV newsdesks, the newsreaders or presenters often admit to wearing jeans.

The lines are increasingly blurred but my advice?

Wear black.

The industries who felt the need to impress the most through office fashion:

1.Recruitment (59%)

2. Advertising, Marketing and PR (56%)

3. Charity (51%)

4. Media (48%)

5. Property (45%)

*The study was commissioned by retailer Banana Moon Clothing