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Friday, 15 March, 2002, 15:45 GMT
R.I.P. Dressing Down
Dressing Down; the premature death is announced of this office style code, beloved by many a "City" professional.

Also fondly known as "Business Casual", Dressing Down's mortal blow was struck by investment banking behemoth, Lehman Brothers. The company has instructed employees to ditch their chinos and smarten up.

A precocious young offspring of parents Dot and Com Boom, Dressing Down grew up in the environs of Silicon Valley, and epitomised the thrusting, youthful confidence of the new economy.

Dressing Down's popularity was evidenced in its adoption by scores of young internet workers who sported its trademark "slacker" uniform of trainers, T-shirt and combat trousers to the office.

An arrogant, self-assured child, Dressing Down liked to cock-a-snook at the conventional - i.e. the tired and fusty business culture typified by suit and tie-wearing accountants, lawyers and finance workers.

But as internet stocks soared, Dressing Down quickly ingratiated itself with the establishment, and was adopted as a dress code by the likes of Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, although usually in the more subdued form of chinos, open-neck shirts and fleeces. Jeans remained a no-no.

Of course, Dressing Down was deeper than many gave credit for. Always more than a sartorial code, it was also about embracing change, breaking down hierarchies and youthful irreverence.

But when the internet revolution evaporated, and economic downturn set in, its comeuppance, like its associate   Conspicuous Consumption, was only a matter of time.

Dressing Down is however survived by its half-sibling Dress Down Friday.

No flowers.


Add your tributes to Dressing Down using the form below.

A tragic loss felt by all of us who believed that putting on a tie was something akin to slipping one's own head in the noose at Tyburn. Long live combats (more pockets!).
Cliff Brown, England

A sad day, unfortunately we never received a visit from this popular figure. I'm sure MDs around the country will be thankful that the death was quick and painless.
Rich, UK

News of Business Casual's demise has been greatly exaggerated. He is alive and well and is living in Yorkshire with his half cousin Scruffy Friday. It seems that dress down Friday was too pompous for him and he hankered after a less formal life.
Julian Berks, Leed, UK

This monster should have been smothered at birth. Maybe now we can return to the days of hard work and professionalism. About time too.
Naomi Whittaker, England

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See also:

22 Feb 02 | Business
Can suits outsmart your competition?
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