Traditional UK workplace attire is on the demise as the work shirt and women’s smart dress become lesser work-worn or generally owned.
These findings come from new research commissioned by brands-for-less retailer TK Maxx and leading cancer charity Cancer Research UK to support the ‘Give Up Clothes for Good’ campaign - the UK’s largest charity clothes collection.
The traditional shirt, a wardrobe staple which dates back to the sixteenth century, is being shunned in favour of a more casual, informal look. The research suggests that this new relaxed wardrobe means around one in four men don’t wear a quarter of the suits they own, while over a third of men don’t wear a quarter of the trousers they own.
It is not only men that are changing the way they dress for work, over a quarter of women are also ditching dresses and favouring other items.
fashion commentator and trend forecaster Amber Jane Butchart, said: “The research finds that 4 per cent of UK office workers don’t own any shirts. This would have been unheard of 15 years ago. It is also interesting to see that a quarter of women no longer wear dresses at all. My work in this area shows that despite women making significant headway in the workplace, masculine-styled clothing such as a tailored blazer is often worn to work as a visual way of exerting authority.
“From the turn of the millennium, creative and media industries were using new dress codes that could be worn in or out of work, for example the suit jacket with a t-shirt and jeans. We have seen this spread as we’ve moved into the ‘Tweenties’ and more and more industries are rejecting the formality of suits in favour of a combination of office and casual wear.”
The survey suggests that work and personal styles might be merging, therefore the age-old notion of a workplace wardrobe may become defunct. The research also alarmingly suggests that both men and women are keeping hold of huge amounts of clothes they no longer wear. Over a third (36 per cent) of those surveyed admit to holding on to jeans that no longer fit them, and almost a third of men (29 per cent) and women (31 per cent)confess to not wearing a quarter of the jeans they own.
The ‘Give Up Clothes for Good’ campaign is calling upon the UK public to clear out its wardrobes and drop off a bag of unwanted, quality clothing to TK Maxx stores throughout April to help beat kids’ cancer. Each bag could be worth up to £30 and all funds will go to Cancer Research UK to fund the treatment of childhood cancers. Launched in 2004, ‘Give Up Clothes for Good’ has raised £10million to date and hopes to raise in excess of £2.5million this year.