Sharon Reid


One of the advantages of working from home is not being subjected to the pressures of choosing a suitable outfit for work – although I could work in a onesie if I so choose – I wouldn’t as I don’t even own a onesie! I opt instead to work in a nice dress paired with fluffy slippers! The reason for my sartorial choices are simple; having built up an impressive working wardrobe during the years I worked in an office I may as well put these dresses to good use, not that many people get to see me ‘slay’ in my outfits unless you count the post man and the odd courier.

I can relate to the 22% of office workers who spend over £27,000 on work clothes over the course of a career,* according to a study conducted by office stationary suppliers, Viking. In addition to spending the equivalent of an average working UK wage (£26,500) Viking also revealed the pressures that office workers feel when it comes to the clothing they wear for work, resulting with 1 in 10 workers being unhappy with their workplace attire.

Overall, 52% of workers said they had felt pressured into buying new clothing to ‘keep up appearances’ around the office. When asked why, the majority felt their fellow colleagues would judge them for not revamping their wardrobe. Unsurprisingly women bear the brunt of this pressure with 42% feared that female colleagues would judge them, closely followed by 41% fearing the same thing from male counterparts.ID-100172174

According to the study, men and women are divided when it comes to dress code formality. Workplaces with a formal dress code claim that women are under less scrutiny. However, workplaces with a smart-casual, casual or uniform dress code said men were under less pressure. Therefore, women may be more conscious of their day to day clothing, whereas men feel greater pressure to smarten up in formal meetings, and during presentations.

The millennials’ influence is also apparent in workplace dressing, where a casual approach is preferred, Gemma Terrar, European HR Business Partner at Viking, reinforces this point:

“As a HR professional, I’ve seen it become more and more common to have a casual dress code – possibly due to the influence of millennials in our workplace.startup-Start -Up, Silicon Valley, Millenials Working, Modern Office, Tech, Lap Top, Meeting, Mac Air, Company, Entrepreneur, Business,

“As a result, wearing a shirt and tie is not only becoming a thing of the past, but our restrictions for what counts as ‘business formal’ have relaxed. Now, it isn’t uncommon to find a business meeting without a suit jacket in sight.”

As our workplaces become increasingly more casual – I represent a tiny minority resplendent in my smart dress and fluffy slippers toiling away in my work –from –home haven.

To see the full results from the survey please click here.

* Over the course of a standard career at the current retirement age (45 years from age 20 – 65)