Has Business Dress Changed?

The other day I was pondering the question as to whether professional business attire has really changed over the years.

Without a doubt the major change has been with the introduction of “business casual”. This movement started in the 1990’s with the casual dress style of high technology in the Silicon Valley. Today it has spread to most of the work force. Apparently 90% of all businesses have some form of business casual.  

But has professional business attire really changed? For men it has stayed pretty much the same. A man’s suit is still the official business dress and little has changed over the past 100 years. The changes occur in the details, the width of the lapel, cuffs or no cuffs, vest or no vest, cut of the suit, color selections and tie width. Men seem to have it easy.   A shirt, tie and suit are always correct.  

Women’s professional business attire has also remained consistent. When you think about it the components are still the same.  Always correct are the 2 piece skirt suit, pant suit, dress with jacket, and dress. Women have far more fashion choices and fads to deal with that complicate matters, and this sometimes leads to inappropriate choices in office attire. Like men’s clothing the basic components are the same, with skirt lengths fluctuating, shoulders and lapels getting wider or narrower, silhouettes changing and colors that come and go.  

The bottom line is stick to the basic components, and interpret the trends to stay current, fashionable and most of all professional.