Is it casual Friday yet?

When it comes to business, I’m generally a laid back person. I can dress to meet most any situation, but is there still a need to adhere to professional dress in the office? Some would argue that a standard must be kept, after all there was a report out earlier this week that claimed people who are comfortable are less productive.

Blog Maverick Mark Cuban provides his alternative view on suits.

Someone had once told me that you wear to work what your customers wear to work. That seemed to make sense to me, so I followed it, and expected those who worked for me to follow it as well.

When Broadcast.com was sold, the suit went out the window completely. I vowed to never wear one again other than weddings and funerals, and only then because it wasn’t worth the hassle to deal with people asking why you didn’t wear a suit.

If you are a CEO , are there not better things your employees could spend money on than multiple suits, ties, dress shirts, dress shoes, dress socks, dry cleaning, and all the other associated costs ? Gee, no suits would be the same as giving your employees a tax free raise.

This past year I interviewed two people, one showed up (Starbucks) in the State of Texas polo shirt and hat, the other in University of Michigan shorts and t-shirt. On those two occasions I just happened to be in business dress (shirt, tie, etc.). I was initially taken aback, but after reminding myself these things shouldn’t matter and giving the individuals a chance, attire aside, I ended up offering both positions. They did of course have to adhere to our clients dress standard and turned out to be exceptional hires.

At one point I had a manager who went one step further and required everyone dress slightly better than the client because we were consultants, and wouldn’t you know it, that’s just how we were treated – consultant outsiders. Despite Mr. Cuban’s call to eliminate all suits, it seems for now business dress will remain part of our culture, making an appearance wherever culturally appropriate. Who knows though, if I ever become a billionaire I’d probably stop wearing one too.

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