Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

More workers are returning to offices – but where have all the suits gone?

After two years of working from home, many have to get their wardrobe ready to return to the office again.
After two years of working from home, many have to get their wardrobe ready to return to the office again.

After two years of working from home, office workers have started to return to the workplace. But is the suit coming with them?

Maybe you’ve worked in your pyjamas, or worn a shirt with trackies for a meeting.

Unfortunately, the loungewear has to stay at home as you return to your desk.

However, it seems formal wear is now also being ditched by the workforce.

The death of the tie

Image consultant Edith Adam says we are not going back to the way we dressed before the pandemic.

“People have really gone more relaxed,” says the Carnoustie woman.

“There’s no more ‘we must dress properly and formally and in suits’.

“This is going to be the death of the tie, definitely.”

She refers to the new way of dressing as relaxed as opposed to casual. Casual implies not caring, but we still care about looking good she says.

Edith Adam has 10 years experience as an image consultant.
Edith Adam has 10 years experience as an image consultant.

With a more relaxed style, Ms Adam expects – and hopes – to see more colourful looks.

Originally from France, she is ready to see more colours as Scotland is “too grey”.

Younger generation leading the way

The ones least likely to accept formal work wear will be the ones who started their job during or after the pandemic, says Ms Adam.

“They will insist on being much more relaxed and express their personalities through their clothes,” she says.

“For people over 45, I’ve seen a lot drop the formality as well, because they see young people aren’t doing it anymore and they don’t want to feel out of place.

After taking all her formal dresses to a charity shop, Edith now wears something like this on a normal day.

“The younger generation will influence the older generation in the workplace, and they will learn about sense of style and maintenance of clothes from the older generation.”

At Dundee accountants Henderson Loggie, managing partner David Smith has also noticed a shift to more youthful dressing.

In 2019, the firm developed a dress for your working day policy.

It means employees are asked to dress appropriately if out visiting clients, but can wear more relaxed clothing in the office.

Comfort at the forefront

Overall, the Henderson Loggie style has not changed much over the pandemic.

“I’ve worn less shirts and ties since we introduced the policy and up to the pandemic,” says Mr Smith.

“I wear less suits, because I’ve been sitting in the house, but what I wear under the suit I’ve carried on wearing.”

He emphasises that as long as employees look smart when they are out representing the firm, they can wear whatever they feel comfortable in.

David Smith wearing one of his many polo tops with Henderson Loggie colleague Gavin Black.
David Smith wearing one of his many polo tops with Henderson Loggie colleague Gavin Black.

With more in-person meetings scheduled however, Henderson Loggie employees might have to start dressing up more often.

Although, like Ms Adam predicts, they can leave their ties at home.

“Within the firm I haven’t seen a tie, apart from at Courier Business Awards, for a very long time,” says the managing partner.

Suit and tie a mark of respect

Someone who won’t be dropping the tie anytime soon is Jim Parker at Fife Properties.

The estate agent views the suit and tie as a mark of respect to the person he’s meeting.

“If you are in front end sales, you meet different types of people with different opinions of how you should present yourself. Universally you can’t go wrong with the suit,” he says.

Jim Parker swears to his gold blazer for any work occasion.
Jim Parker swears to his gold blazer for any work occasion.

“The younger generation today are happy with having a more casual dress code as it’s what they have grown up with and I completely accept that. Do what makes you happy.

“The gold blazer, shirt and tie are a great marketing tool for me and ultimately helps me stand out from a sea of similarities.”

‘Real flexibility’ in work wear

At Marks and Spencer in Dundee, store manager Fiona Buchan said there was already signs of a move to less formal wear prior to Covid-19.

Customers were looking for chinos, smart jeans and colourful shirts and jumpers as opposed to suits or office style dresses.

M&S Dundee store manager Fiona Buchan
M&S Dundee store manager Fiona Buchan has seen a demand for more colourful clothing.

“The pandemic hit fast forward on this and now more than ever we are seeing customers looking for real flexibility when it comes to work wear,” she says.

“They need a strong collection of comfortable clothing, that can be dressed up or down.

“In terms of occasion wear, with the return of weddings, christenings, and formal events, we have seen a surge in customers looking for summery dresses and smart suits since spring – more than we’ve seen in the past two summers, which is great.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]

Conversation

[[title_reg]]

Please enter the name you would like to appear on your comments. (It doesn’t have to be your real name - but nothing rude please, we are a polite bunch!) Use a combination of eight or more characters that includes an upper and lower case character, and a number.

By registering with [[site_name]] you agree to our Terms and Conditions and our Privacy Policy

Or sign up with

Facebook Google

[[content_reg_complete]]

[[title_login]]

Or login with

Forgotten your password?

[[title]]