So much has changed in our post-Covid world.

Even how we dress for work has changed.

We’ve all gotten pretty comfortable in our yoga pants and hoodies, right?

But as more people are starting hybrid work arrangements or returning back to the office full time, one of the discussions we have to revisit is about what is acceptable business dress code now?

This has always been an odd chat for us even though it’s a hot topic in business right now!

As business leaders, it’s a conversation and communication we need to have with our teams. We always recommend transparent expectations.

As hiring managers, it matters.

And as team players, we need to adapt to commuting, putting pants back on and getting up early enough to squeeze it all back into our day.

Our Dress Code

Amplify’s dress code matches our client’s culture.

Integrating and participating in our client’s culture is core to our Client Experience.

When we come on as Finance Leader, we join their team.

Our Recruiting contractors and permanent placements also become team members at the client.

Even Tech and Consulting prioritize how they can get involved during their engagements.

The way we view it is, how we dress and show up is just another part of the Client Experience.

June 2020. We are overdue for a refresh on our team pics!

In practice, this can mean changing from a suit to a pair of jeans and a t-shirt! As we move from a downtown midsize energy client to a distillery in the barley belt, we find we have to adjust and adapt!

Before Covid, we saw our clients and our network drifting to more casual options.

Alumni Big Four having “dress for your day” opportunities was an evolution. Especially since many of us remember having to pay a charity fee to wear denim on the odd Friday. On those days, you had to have a sticker showing that you paid to play!

Before the pandemic, the causal became more flexible in “business casual.” But even with jeans on the roaster it was still a firm line between home wear (aka yoga pants and hoodies) and work wear for most. When we got home we dropped our bag and changed our clothing ASAP!

To some extent, the difference between casual has always followed the size and location of your business. Most small and medium companies have led in flexibility. And companies located outside of downtown have historically been more laid back.

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A Suit Everyday

In June of 2018, I remember we had just incorporated Amplify, but we were still at our old jobs and Jesse and I (Jamie) went for lunch, and Jesse said he had to stop by and grab some suits he’d ordered.

My heart stopped.

“Aren’t we doing this?” I asked.
I was panicking because I had already given my notice and started with Amplify’s first client.
Jesse reassured me and proceeded to tell me that he was still going to wear a suit every day at Amplify.
Now though, we have plenty of downtown clients as well as midsize and large ones too. Our diverse client base has all kinds of dress codes. But in the end, at Amplify, I’ve seen flip-flops many days and I can’t recall the last time I’ve seen a tie!
woman in white long sleeve shirt

Recruiting & Hiring

As we launched Amplify Recruiting, we discussed the pocket squares and the suits of our friends.

I told Ryan about the time I interviewed with a recruiter in a dress and a blazer. I had the blazer off by the end of the chat. And I received feedback that I should be wearing a suit to interviews.

I was taken back since a dress and a blazer is the female equivalent to a suit in most people’s opinion. (Just for the record, I wouldn’t work anywhere that required me to dress in a pantsuit!). It seemed like a sexist and out-of-touch comment and a good reminder that people come in diverse physical shapes, sizes and gender, so expectations have to evolve too. It was vital that we understood this and had empathy and an open mind as we strategically grew our presence in the Recruiting world.

We decided that our Recruiting team (along with our other sales team) would differentiate by leading with Client Experience.

When in doubt of the culture or dress code we would favour a more casual business casual. We never wanted to intimidate or come across as “buttoned-up.” Our reputation as accountants, CPAs, and tech experts already comes with too many of those stereotypes.

We are on a mission to crush those perceptions!

(Having said that I still tell people to clean their shoes before interviews!)

Are you a CPA who would like to join our network?

So what are the trends to expect?

  • This article discusses “Dress Appropriately” & the brilliance of a policy that’s two words, as well as the pitfalls. Find it here.
  • Here you can read predictions and history that are female-centric. Maybe rebels are the ones in suits? Are our strict expectations not negotiable anymore with employees as we face talent competition? As a hiring manager or business leader this read is worth a visit, here it is.
  • It does not leave room for creativity. If you can spare some of the fun of a morning, many believe in a work uniform. Wearing the same thing isn’t a new concept or a pandemic-related one. A work uniform is something to consider if you are exhausted from all of the decisions you make each day. To read more, click the picture of the man in the turtleneck, a famous work wardrobe of many.
“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits,” Obama told Vanity Fair in a 2012 interview. “I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.” See the iconic list of those that prescribe this solution for decision fatigue in this article.
man in black crew neck shirt holding white printer paper

  • Finally, this article summarizes and predicts what is next. Business comfort, hybrid dressing or power casual can describe a looser, stretchier, and more accepting future in corporate wear. Something to consider if you have your wardrobe upgrades on your holiday wish list? You can read more here.

Much of the same is going to come back

Humans are fond of habits and our psychology drives a lot of our society and behaviour. But many accelerated trends are here to stay. Many would have happened anyway, but they gained ten years from the pandemic.

  • E-Commerce
  • Streaming video
  • Food delivery
  • Work-from-home/hybrid/work-from-anywhere/etc.

They are all far ahead of where we predicted they’d be by 2021.

Dress codes have changed too.

There was a trend towards flexibility and that opened the door to more casual options. I predict that we have kicked the door wide open now!

It will be interesting to see how organizations and employees negotiate the new normal.

I’m sticking to dresses. Amplify has had me ditch that blazer though! I love a good scarf or cardigan. I am a shoe addict. I’ve got some love for fabulous jewelry, good gear underneath and plentiful layers.
The fashion of ’90s starts and CPAs?

Is it timely to #supportlocal? For example, our friends at https://www.shopthecurvy.com/ and https://bratopia.ca/.

Let us know your favourites or post-Covid dress code plans!

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