THE BLOG

Work Wear for the Modern Day Man: What's a Guy to Wear?

08/04/2013 16:59 BST | Updated 08/06/2013 10:12 BST

Who has to wear a suit to work? I count myself lucky that it's not enforced at my place of work and I can choose whether I go casual or smart. Thanks to the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, and a boom in the creative industries, turning up to work looking super smart is no longer seen as a requirement.

So what does dressing for success really mean for the modern day man? Is it really just down to where you work and what industry you're in, or is the formal dress code in the work place a declining trend?

Trying to work it all out can be confusing, especially if you're a new graduate embarking on your first job or a professional moving up the career ladder.

A job interview is obviously a different situation when you're dressing to impress but what about when you get the job and you need to be seen as professional while fitting in?

I've been working with the experts at GANT UK online, to interview some key players from different industries. They give their thoughts on work wear style and how it's changed within their sectors in the last decade.

Finance Director Simon Collard and Olympic Gold Medallist Mathew Pinsent offer some interesting views on their work wear style

Name: Simon Collard

Age: 48

Job title: Consultant Finance Director

I've been working in finance for over 25 years, starting off training with one of the top accountancy practices, Ernst & Young before working in the oil industry. For the last 15 years, I've been working for advertising and marketing companies, helping them become more profitable.

The last time I wore a suit to work, it was too long ago to remember. In a way, it's good as it makes the day different and more of an occasion though if I did wear a suit to work tomorrow, most people would ask if I was going for an interview.

My style is definitely more casual than it was a decade ago and I have far fewer suits.

Most people assume that if you work in finance, you're bound to be wearing a suit but it really depends where you work. If you're in the city there's still a white shirt, suit and tie expectation but in the industries I work in, you'd stand out a mile if you wore a suit. As long as I have a selection of good shirts, range of jumpers and blazers and good shoes, my work wear is pretty much sorted. If I was going to a really important business meeting or conference I'd wear my best jeans, smart shirt and jumper combination topped off by a blazer to dress it up a little if needed.

At the highest level I suspect the dress code in the finance sector hasn't changed much though there is definitely more flexibility. I started out in an accountancy firm and I doubt much has changed and you'd be expected to wear a suit and tie at all times. In more and more industries though, there's less unnecessary formality and if I'm explaining numbers to a Creative or Strategy Director, I'm more than likely dressed a little like them.

Name: Mathew Pinsent

Age: 42

Job title: Olympic Gold Medallist Rower

The 80's and 90's probably weren't known for their classic looks and even worse, sportspeople (me included) tended to shun looking fashionable. David Beckham probably changed that for good and now sportspeople pride themselves on dressing well - at least off the field or river! I think Olympians have definitely got smarter in the last decade and a majority of our Team GB like Bradley Wiggins and Louis Smith are good dressers. Not something you would have said about us in the same time in our career.

My style has definitely changed over the last decade and it probably has a lot to do with budget. The majority of my formal attire now is tailor made where that used to be a luxury and with my casual stuff I put more thought into it than I ever used to. As a rower I would never have thought to check my shoes and belt match or indeed which colours go well. I'll never be a style icon but I can at least not jar the eye. If I was going to a really important meeting/business lunch, I'd either go for a tailor made suit or a smart blazer, good tie, dark shoes and a nice watch.

Funnily enough its becoming increasingly rare for me to wear a suit to a meeting in the city, and the last time I wore one, I found myself fibbing that 'I was going on to a dinner' and hanging the jacket on the back of my chair. No one else in the room was wearing a tie much less a suit.

It seems like what you wear in the work place is very much based on the industry you're in, though some traditional corporate sectors are becoming more relaxed. It will also depend on the culture of the company you're working for, how client/customer facing you are and your CEO's vision. The suit will always have a key role in the work place though the smart/casual dress code has become more acceptable attire, especially in creative media, marketing and internet businesses.