What Do Office Dress Codes Really Mean?

Posted on Monday, April 30, 2018 by The Workplace AdvisorNo comments

The dreaded office dress code. Business-casual. Board room wear. Casual Friday. But what does it really mean? For most of us office workers, the office dress code is at best confusing—and at worst can lead to some serious workplace faux pas. At our leading London PA recruitment agency, we like to make the office a happier place for everyone, so today we’ll look at what office dress codes really mean. Buckle up!

Boardroom wear

If you’re a member of the board or you have to attend board meetings as a manager, then you should go for traditional business wear unless told otherwise. This typically means a dark suit for men, black dress shoes, a white collared shirt, and a modest (i.e. not crazy!) tie. For women, this usually means a dark suit, a collared shirt, and smart black shoes. If you choose to wear a skirt, it should be knee-length or below with tights.

Executive/business wear

Taking a step down, executive or business wear means you can switch to brighter colours and subtle patterns when it comes to suits, shirts, and ties. Women can switch starchy shirts for smart tops. Think slightly more relaxed, but still super smart. If you meet clients as part of your job or are a manager, you’re likely to fall into this category.


When the word “casual” appears, it can start to get tricky, but it essentially means you can start thinking fashion, not just formal. For men, this generally still means a jacket, shirt, and trousers, but these can be more comfortable and relaxed. This might mean non-matching suits, ditching the tie, and in some businesses, switching the jacket for a jumper. For women, it means brighter colours and more fashionable items, but still professional. In If you work in PA jobs or office support roles, you’re likely to have this dress code.

Casual Friday

Also known as “dress down Friday”, this one can cause major confusion! What you might consider “casual” at home isn’t necessarily what you should wear to the office. It certainly doesn’t mean PJs, tracksuit bottoms, short skirts, low-cut tops, or scruffy jeans! What it does mean is you can be more comfortable—smart jeans, tidy trainers, sandals, and t-shirts are generally fine. However, whether you’re an office manager or a temp PA, you should still aim to look tidy and professional on dress-down days.

Casual/no dress code

If you’re lucky, your office might have chosen to ditch the dress code and go perma-casual! However, this doesn’t mean you can turn up in last night’s outfit or sweaty gym gear. If your office has no dress code, then consider the company ethos and see how everyone else dresses, so you risk don’t under- or over-dressing. Remember that you still want to show you take pride in yourself.

How to decide…

Whatever the dress code, the key is seeing how it’s applied in your particular business. If you work for a financial or legal company, the dress code is likely to be much more formal than in a creative marketing agency, where tidy but casual might be the norm. If you work for a relaxed tech start-up, then band t-shirts might be totally fine. If in doubt, ask your manager.

If you’re looking for your next temp PA job, a top London PA job, or an exciting office manager role, then get in touch with team at Love Success today. Stay tuned for more office wear tips this week!


Love Success is a leading PA and secretarial recruitment agency in London.
Our recruiters can help you find secretarial jobs, office support jobs, and top PA jobs in London.

View our latest job opportunities here

PA Jobs l Executive Assistant Jobs l Office Support Jobs l Top PA Jobs 
Secretarial Jobs l Marketing & PR Jobs l HR Jobs l Finance Jobs


Previous PostNext Post

No comments on "What Do Office Dress Codes Really Mean?"