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Just what exactly does "smart casual mean anyway?

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  • Research shows 34 percent of British workers don’t know how to follow a ‘smart casual’ dress code
  • 65 percent of workers believe the way they dress has affected their chances of earning a pay rise
  • 37 percent of managers admit they have overlooked employees for a promotion based on how they dressed. 

One in three people don’t understand what a ‘smart casual’ workplace dress code means – Could this be hurting our careers?

Leading workwear provider creates expert guide to help people master the smart casual look. Research conducted on behalf of leading workwear provider Simon Jersey has shown that UK workers could be hampering their own career progression because they don’t understand how to dress in the workplace. 

The study, which polled 2,000 people, showed that 34 percent of employees don’t fully understand how to follow a ‘smart casual’ dress code. According to the findings, almost two-thirds (65 percent) of workers believe they have been overlooked for a pay rise or promotion in the past simply because of the way they dressed. Additionally, 37 percent of managers admitted that they have chosen not to award an employee with a pay rise or promotion because they consistently dressed inappropriately. 

Other key findings included: 36 percent of Britons would now describe their workplace dress code as ‘smart casual’; 32 percent of UK workers said they have fallen foul of the ‘smart casual’ description; 64 percent of respondents believe you can judge how good someone is at their job based on how they are dressed; 55 percent think that employees now dress less smartly than they did 10 years ago. As the research shows, it’s important to get things right when planning your attire for work. 

The company’s Design Manager, Helen Harker, said that for many workers the smart casual dress code is too ambiguous and it’s common for people to either under or overdress.

“The difficulty with smart casual is that it’s often referenced as the dress code in event invitations and in work contracts, but it’s never quite clear what it means. We think businesses should aim to be more specific, especially when it comes to what people should wear to work so it saves the stress on both sides. “In general, smart casual for work is anything that helps you create a professional look, with a relaxed feel that allows you to stay comfortable and show your personal style,” she commented.

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