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Tuesday, October 5, 1999 Published at 12:27 GMT 13:27 UK

Business: Your Money

A uniform approach to work

Uniforms for Millennium Dome staff were unveiled

Off with your tie, forget that grey suit - the well-dressed office worker of the next century will have a very different look from today.

Instead of sporting traditional two-piece outfits to go to the office, he or she is more likely to dress down in smart casuals.

Unless, of course, you wear a uniform to work - because that's one tradition that's unlikely to change in the coming decade.

[ image: Office wear will be less formal, say fashion experts]
Office wear will be less formal, say fashion experts
These are the fashion codes predicted by organisers of the Career and Workwear Show, which has opened in London.

The event brings together companies in the workwear industry and even features a catwalk with models to flaunt the wares.

Organisers want to demonstrate that uniforms do not have to be dull and dowdy for the estimated 11 million people in the UK who wear some sort of uniform for their job.

Last year, British industry spent 430m on new uniforms and the booming market has attracted smaller firms to join in production.

Margaret Reid, of O'Neills Sports, said: "We do feel that corporate wear to large companies is an area we want to get into. There's a lot of potential."

Firms which change their staff uniforms regularly, such as the Abbey National, help boost business for workwear companies.

[ image: Workwear designers put their garments on show]
Workwear designers put their garments on show
Uniforms to be worn by the 2,000 staff at the Millennium Dome were unveiled at the show.

The New Millennium Experience Company, which runs the Dome, hopes the black and bright yellow garments will make their staff instantly recognisable to the expected 12 million visitors going to Greenwich next year.

For those people who do not wear uniforms, the code is becoming less formal, says fashion consultant Janet Storey.

She said: "We've seen the end of grey now. People really don't want to wear grey any more."

Earthy colours such as olive green and bitter chocolate will take its place, she believes.

And offices are even starting to see the end of the tie.

"There's a much more relaxed attitude towards dressing and we're going to see that coming through into the workplace," she says.

"People will want to wear something at work which is quite close to what they wear out of work."

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