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Springfords LLP blog

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

Casual Workwear: Dress it like Willis

17 August 2017

Around the office, does your inner Llewelyn-Bowen long to be more John McClane, or are you more tie-dyed than Die Hard? Whatever your preferred state of office elegance, it’s time to take a new look at what to wear, where, with a vengeance.

Back in the hot metal and sweaty days of sweatshop Victorian printing, the hard pressed workers minded more than their p’s and q’s. It was only on the command of the master printer that journeymen were allowed to remove their jackets, and work in a collar and tie, restrained by a woollen waistcoat of course. Only in extreme circumstances, and where it would aid productivity, were gentlemen permitted to unbutton their cuffs and, in the origin of the phrase, ‘roll their sleeves up’.

However it seems that hardly anyone is dressing to impress these days. At least, that’s the way in Leeds, the most casual of workplaces in the British Isles. A survey by clothing firm Banana Moon, an outfitter that’s definitely more personality lead than defiantly bespoke, puts nearly three-quarters of the Yorkshire town’s working population in casual wear. More shell-suit than smart-suit on Briggate and Wellington Street.

For a dash of old school elegance, you have to go to Georgian Dublin. Almost two thirds of city centre sophisticates choose Charles Church over charity shop, and in Grafton Street anything less than Fendi is offendy.

The lines though are blurring. Nowadays, remarkably, it’s casual old Leeds that still has the highest incidence of dress-code enforcing businesses. All the more surprising, given the size of the city’s creative community.

Famously unruffled by being ruffled, the dress code has changed for today’s media mongrel and computer coder. Take a spin round Silicon Roundabout, and it’s the Hoxton uniform of horn-rimmed glasses and slightly careworn tweed jacket, teamed with ever-so-ironically unfashionable chinos, and a beard that Charles Dickens would be proud to sport. It’s one step back up the sartorial ladder from faded retro Metallica teeshirt and especially grubby-fied jeans.

The PR twin-set exec has never gone out of fashion. Today’s atomic blonde account manager totters down Whitechapel in three-inch heels, thumbing a smartphone in text mode and wielding a skinny latte like a fully loaded Glock. Think Charlize Theron with a press release, and you’ve got the look.

In the end, how you come out of the closet is up to you. If you’re more productive in your pyjamas, there’s a case to be made for wearing your winceyette to work. If a collar and tie makes you feel like a fly guy, wear what suits you, sir.

Of course, here at Springfords, just like all the accounts and tax returns we prepare, our work outfits are perfectly co-ordinated, clean and tidy. That all adds up to a perfectly tailored service. We don’t even wait for permission to roll up our sleeves.


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springfords blog

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

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