What even is business casual?
In recent years, office etiquette has been both shaken up and stirred like a big dirty weeknight martini (olive optional).
During the pandemic, some major companies were quick to relax their dress codes as many loosened their ties and hid away the ironing board for the last time.
For some, business wear as we knew it was gone forever.
1 in 8 Americans in a OnePoll study said they’d rather have a casual dress code at the office than an extra $5,000 toward their salary (OnePoll)
Goodbye stuffy shirts and hello erm, less money to buy stuffy shirts.
How short is too short?
I’m not talking about the length of your pencil skirt. Oh no.
Wait, you mean SHORTS? *gasp* But you can’t wear shorts to the office…can you?
It’s a popular topic taking LinkedIn by storm. But why now?
Feeling hot hot hot!
One argument is that the world is heating up and workers across the globe have used this as an excuse to save on sweat patches and flash some flesh.
But even in companies where rules have been relaxed to reflect the recent rise in temp, the sight of bloomers, breeches or bermudas are still not commonplace. Huh.
Could that have more to do with the opinions of our fellow colleagues on what business casual actually means?
Would we rather mop our brows and chafe our way to the water cooler than be looked down on, literally?!
During lockdown, when we were all confined to our homes, they saw it all. Feral pets, kids, wine disguised as coffee and unicorn pjs all featured on-screen, off-cue more than we would care to admit.
So, why now, would the sight of an ankle, calf or other cause scandal in the office?
I was curious to find out.
So, I rocked up on a quiet Friday, easing myself (and others) in gently with some inoffensive (see, boring) beige chino shorts.
For every nod of quiet admiration, there were as many faces aghast. Hmm, a mixed bag.
One guy fiddled purposefully with the top button of his shirt, in lieu of tightening a tie (which he must have removed, ironically) and I think I was supposed to feel uncomfortable.
Except I didn’t. I felt more than comfortable. In my shorts.
So what is business casual: an attitude or a dress code?
I know what you’re thinking. What if I didn’t wear my shorts purely for comfort or to beat the heat? What if I wore them to STAND OUT?
You see, absent mouse-wiggler’s are on the rise. Out of sight, in their own homes, they use this tactic to divert suspicion by appearing active online. In reality, they could be finishing that Netflix show that had them up ‘til 3am, popping to the corner shop or stretching off for a game of squash. Comfortable they may be but productive…?
I was no “mouse-wiggler”. I wanted to be seen. But did my bold and defiant act attract the right sort of attention? Time will tell.
What I do know is that the days of stoating to and from the photocopier in unnecessarily high heels or overshined leather loafers only to come home with blisters so raw that only a medicinal wine could dull the pain, are as over as the decade that introduced them.
Shorts are now seen as acceptable office attire in the UK – only since 2016. (YouGov, 2022)
Times are indeed a’changing.
So is it a yes please, to flashing knees?
For more SHORT stories, continue reading here.