• Wed. Jun 19th, 2024

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

Back To Business – Are Jeans Appropriate Workwear?

ByLands End

Oct 24, 2021 #Business, #Fashion

Back To Business – Are jeans appropriate workwear? 

The day of freedom has arrived at last! Finally, we can visit friends, dine out, and throw some shapes in a club once more. But whether you’re ready to ditch the mask yet or not, many of us will be making our return to the office and that means having to put on real clothes again.

But after more than a year of pairing our comfiest pyjama bottoms with work-appropriate blouses for Zoom calls, we’re not sure we’re ready to don the suit and tie again. Lands Endwanted to see how many people are looking forward to looking put together again, and who wanted to keep it a bit more casual. They asked 2,000 office workers from across the UK to see who is excited to return to the office attire, who is dreading it, and who is planning on keeping the athleisure wear a staple in their wardrobe. Some people are dreading the return to formal wear but others are looking forward to the opportunity to look and feel smart again.

How does wearing business attire make us feel?

The clothes we wear can be the difference between appearing professional and potentially not. Some would say that anything but a suit and tie is inappropriate in a work setting while others would argue that clothes don’t have an impact on your ability to be professional. But suits aren’t the be-all, end-all of work clothes. 49% of people who took our survey saw a drop in wearing smart clothes when allowed to work from home and only 8% of people said they still wear a suit with most people opting for jeans and a t-shirt instead.

Following their return to work, almost everyone we surveyed said that they wanted to go back wearing either jeans and a t-shirt or smart casual clothes such as chinos and a t-shirt. 27% of people said they’ll miss wearing what they want to work although, 35% of people don’t seem to mind, saying it wouldn’t make any difference to them.

The vocabulary used to talk about formal work wear differed greatly between the different genders. Women were more likely to feel negative about the clothes than men were but the overall result was positive. The most-used descriptors used were confident, formal, and professional, although 18% of women and 14% of men said that dressing smart for work made them feel uncomfortable.

Thinking about ditching the denim?

One of the questions on our survey was “Are jeans appropriate workwear for the office?”. Over half of our respondents told us that their office had a strict formal dress code before COVID-19 hit but since the pandemic has forced many to work from home, 53% told us that their offices have relaxed the policy, allowing them to wear more casual, comfortable outfits while at home. Around 20% of those who have already returned to offices across the country said that they miss being able to dress how they want.

With dressing smart in mind though, 26% of people think that wearing jeans to work is inappropriate with 75% of people over the age of 45 being the most strongly opposed. On the other hand, 79% of 18-24 years-olds, although having to dress smartly more than any other age group, think that wearing jeans to work is okay with straight leg and boot cut jeans being considered the smartest options. Unsurprisingly, distressed jeans were one of the lowest on our list in terms of professionalism alongside mom jeans and jeggings. It doesn’t seem as though denim will be going anywhere any time soon, but many people are conscious of the style they choose to wear to keep the outfit smart and work appropriate.

Battle of the ages

There was a fairly big divide between the age groups and what they prefer to wear to work. Despite being mostly against jeans being appropriate workwear, the 55+ age bracket were the largest group who wanted the option to wear more casual clothes to work and considered straight leg jeans to be the most appropriate. 18-25 year-olds were the group most likely to say they wanted to wear smart clothes, despite being the biggest group to advocate that jeans were appropriate workwear. This might indicate a shift in mentality of considering what smart clothes even are, especially as 33% of the younger group thought distressed jeans were work-appropriate compared to the 6% of 55+ people.

Some of those we surveyed work in the law enforcement and security sectors. There’s little surprise that they were some of the best dressed around with a further 4% actually seeing an increase in having to dress formally. Those who worked in leisure and tourism had the largest reduction in formal dress codes with 47% reporting seeing the change to more casual clothes while working from home. 18% of those who work within the creative art or media industry said they wear PJs to work.

Did you know that Portsmouth was the best-dressed city according to our results? A whopping 20% of people we surveyed who live there wear business attire to work. Cardiff on the other hand apparently prefers to keep it more casual as 16% of people there admitted to wearing their pyjamas to work regularly in the past year.

We say keep the denim! If you’re looking to upgrade your work wardrobe, we have the ultimate guide to jeans to help you pick the perfect pair. No matter what you decide, or are able, to wear when you make the trek back to the office, you can pick up all of your comfortable essentials from Lands’ End.