The story of the casual business dress code that took over the week
The most famous Hawaiian word Aloha has many meanings: “hello”, “goodbye”, “presence”, “breath”, “love”, but it also became known as the godmother of a curious moment in business etiquette – that of relaxed, casual style of dressing in the office. We tend to think that casual Friday was invented in modern times, but it actually has a much older history.
How casual Friday took over business
British newspaper frommore than a century ago published an article saying that bankers on Fridays put on sport jackets and old ties to make them more comfortable when they leave for their suburban estates in the afternoon.
Aloha Fridays is part of a 1960s marketing campaign that promotes wearing Hawaiian shirts to work once a week. The Hawaiian fashion brand isn’t the only one turning to the workplace to boost casual wear sales. In the 1990s, Levi’s launched the Dockers line of golf pants along with a business casual guide. At the beginning of the 80s, the casual style was adopted in the Silicon Valley as well. Back then it was expressed through khaki pants, comfortable sports shoes and shirts with a slightly unbuttoned collar.
From publicity stunt to cultural phenomenon
The casual business dress code has gone from a marketing gimmick to a cultural phenomenon thanks to fashion and flexible office practices. They make it easy to spread the casual look trend not just on Fridays, but every day of the business week.
This trend is becoming closer to individual personal style, because it is clear to everyone that comfortable clothing greatly affects how confident and relaxed we are, and they are the main guarantors of productivity and creativity.
What do modern managers value?
There is no longer a company that compiles lists of unacceptable clothing, as it was until recently in many countries around the world. Today’s managers want their employees to dress in a way that makes them feel good, that is respectful of customers and colleagues, and is safe and appropriate for their environment. So if you were to end up in London, Tokyo or any business capital, it would be almost unbelievable to see ladies in business suits and men in ties on a weekday.
Modern style is business casual, but the question: “What to wear to work?” will always be relevant.