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Springfords LLP blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

Heel of a way to do business

27 May 2016

The internet has recently been awash with men stumbling about in not so manly fashion in fashionable Manolo Blahniks.  Springfords resists the obvious opportunity to call this post sexism in the city.  We certainly wouldn’t exploit the wrong-footed miscalculations of another accountancy practice.

It seems hardly creditable that anyone in this century would expect to get away with demanding female employees wear high heels to work.   The much publicised case of the out-sourced receptionist is an exemplar of elegance trumped by inequity.  Quite apart from the preposterous stance of the temp agency at the toe of the issue, would an enforced footwear code stand up as a legitimate business expense.  We know without doubt that persuading the taxman that the very latest red-soled Christian Louboutin creations were exclusively work wear would be nigh on impossible.

Dress code remains what the legal profession tend to call a grey area. In many modern workplaces, dress down to impress is the order of the day.  We can’t imagine that Saville Row tailors get called out to many fittings in the hipster-populated workspaces of Silicone Roundabout, and if the digital doyens of Steve and Steve (Jobs and Wozniak) were ever seen in anything other than a black tee-shirt, the rest of the office would call the cops, as there was obviously an impostor in the building.

OK computer genius, in fairness to Mr Wozniak, he has widened his apparel collection these days, but the only man we can still think of, who wore heels to work every day, was Prince.

There is a whole wardrobe of tax regulations and reliefs for attire deemed necessary and wholly for work use.  Forestry workers might successfully make a case for steel-capped boots and safety hats for times when felled trees branch out unexpectedly, and a barrister could make a case for a wig and gown to be worn while pleading in the high court.  Neither though could expect to claim for a lumberjack shirt or court shoes, since either could be worn off the job, as it were.

Tax related clothing regulations are a world apart from workplace dress code.  Here at Springfords, you’d expect us to be professionally presentable, and that’s just how we like it too.  It just makes sense to be dressed for business.  If you drive into your local garage with the exhaust pipe trailing along the forecourt, it just feels more reassuring to be greeted by a team of motor engineers, togged out in all the polo-shirted uniformity of a racing car team.

All of which leaves the errant accountancy firm tripping over their laces.  They’ve since put the blame on the temp agency, claiming that the directive came from that source, and they didn’t have any such discriminatory policy themselves. That may well be the case, but the whole affair has left their public relations profile flat footed, as they try to rescue their reputation.

In the end, if we all dressed appropriately for the working day, and our clients were impressed with our work and our sartorial choices, then we can all go home afterwards, satisfied we did our best, prepare a nice refreshment, and put our feet up for the night.  No shoes on the desk please.


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springfords blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

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