Bank On It: Wall Street Is Embracing Relaxed Attire

Levi Strauss & Co.
July 12, 2016

Are we really losing the stuffy suits and stiff neckties at work?
Today, more and more workplaces across numerous industries are saying goodbye to strict dress codes in favor of more laidback, casual ensembles. It’s a shift from the “Casual Fridays” kicked off by Dockers® back in the 1990s, but it’s still work clothes in progress.
Last month, the day finally came when folks at J.P. Morgan Chase got to hang up their neckties, put away their pumps, and ditch their business professional attire for good.
“In a break from tradition, the largest U.S. bank by assets is allowing employees to wear business-casual attire on most occasions,” reported the Wall Street Journal on J.P’s Morgan’s dress code change.  And while the bank is certainly loosening the reigns on their wardrobe restrictions, there are still limits. The J.P Morgan Chase company-wide memo reads: “Business casual is not weekend casual, and if you’re seeing a client you should dress for that client.”
That last line of advice mirrors the call-out from Dockers® when it launched its “Guide to Casual Business Wear” campaign in 1992. A pamphlet was sent to more than 25,000 HR managers showcasing a variety of business casual looks featuring Dockers® khakis. It stressed the idea that casual was not another word for sloppy—“Keep wrinkled, stained, or dirty clothing out of the workplace”—and cautioned that anything too revealing—lingerie looks, transparency and in some cases, bare legs—could be a major no-no. We also sponsored seminars, put on fashion shows, and maintained a toll-free hotline for those who had questions about business casual dress.
The campaign turned the concept of business casual into a buzzworthy trend that allowed many institutions to loosen up their dress codes. Soon thereafter, business casual attire was everywhere, from boardrooms to Wall Street, and continues to thrive today.
J.P. Morgan’s move was presumably sparked by an attempt to stay relevant in a landscape where bank clients, including those in the notoriously casual Silicon Valley, shun formal wear. You can thank Dockers® for that.
Pull off your own business casual style – shop Dockers now.