Workplace Dress Code Evolution through History

Fashion is an ever-evolving, context-specific, and highly-subjective industry. It’s unique from other fields of manufacturing and it is primarily ruled by the same intention as its end product: change. Throughout the decades, business attire has completely evolved from the conservative style of suits and dresses to the smart-casual wear we see more and more often in today’s companies. As many of us spend a significant amount of time in the office, pulling together an overall corporate image, whth all the right office accessories, is especially important. 

How it was then - ‘60s - ‘90s style

Companies back in the middle of the 20th century were more "process-oriented" than the "results-oriented" organisations of today. This means companies were more concerned about how success occurs, thus, many offices expected their employees to adhere to a more formal look. According to GQ, men were practically required to wear dark suits, white shirts, dark ties, white pocket squares, leather briefcases and hats in any business environment. 

Women’s office wear had first a strong Chanel signature. Formal attire consisted of slim-fitting tweed suits of below-the-knee skirts and matching cropped jackets with gilt buttons and contrast outlines. With the beginning of the ‘60s - ‘70s strongly individualistic icons of popular culture like Jaquelin Kennedy, Cher, Jimi Hendrix and the Beatles made bright colours and nontraditional patterns and styles part of the mainstream for both men and women. 

The ‘80 was the era of the “power suit”. Suits with shoulder pads were in fashion for everyone and the masculine style of women’s clothes showed off their increasing presence in leadership roles. 

How is it now 

The 1990s was when the concept of ‘Casual Fridays’ became increasingly offered as a company perk. Business casual was all the more popular, with the style integrating khaki trousers and sensible shoes. For professionals who prefer a more formal look, the 1990s saw a shift toward a more loose suit silhouette. This style eventually transitioned into a slimmer suit profile during the 2000s.

However, some companies today are still promoting a formal attire, now referred to as the ‘business professional’ or ‘business formal’ dress code. Business professional wear is the most traditional and it is often seen in industries like finance, government, or law. Suits or pantsuits and a button-down shirt (often with a tie) or knee-length pencil skirt and blazer are the requirements for business professional dress. They should always fit perfectly on the body. 

A dress code that is generally reserved for events such as awards ceremonies or benefit dinners is the business formal dress code. For this look, wear a dark-coloured dress shirt or skirt suit and a pair of simple shoes. For accessories, pair your shoes with a simple belt and add jewellery.

Leonthe Office Bag for Women

What accessories should you wear at the office

So far we have discussed pieces of clothing that fit into the guidelines of a workplace dress code. What about the accessories? As the element of professionalism, an employee has to meet narrows the choices one has in terms of outfits, many struggle with finding suitable accessories.

What we can say for sure is that you can never fail with leather. Whether it is leather shoes, a leather belt or a leather bag, these types of accessories will always be suitable for office wear

The style of the bag is very personal. At LEONTHE, we only offer the finest materials and designs for both men and women. We guarantee that our customers will find their bags to be both timeless and sophisticated. 

LEONTHE perfectly mixes timeless design, precious materials, and minimalist accessories - all while keeping up with the highest quality standards.