Business casual is going retro, back to the suit and tie, that is. This year, the number of companies permitting casual dress at least once a week fell to 86%, a sharp drop-off from the high of 95% in 1999, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. It will be interesting to see how this will affect employees, considering the following stats from the Levi Strauss 2001 Casual Businesswear Survey, which show that casual wear is in full stride:

  • 70% of men say they never wear a suit to work.
  • 66% of workers say they dress business casual everyday (up from 53% in 1997).
  • 80% say they dress casually at least one day a week
  • Business casual employees spend 22% less on work clothes than their dressier counterparts.
  • Close to 60% say they are more productive when dressed casually at the office.
  • 58% say casual dress increases on-the-job morale.

Source: Robyn D. Clarke, Black Enterprise, August 2001

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