Nov. 13, 2016

It is Friday! Jeans Friday!

In my last blog about the history of business casual you could read how Hawaiian style shirts became present in offices, in banks and in any other nine to five workplaces. This happened in the mid - sixties.  

Now we are at the beginning of 90s. Company leaders realized that letting to wear something less formal than suit-shirt-tie led to have happier and more productive employees. Some companies allowed employees to leave at home their suit all week or only on Fridays, but without clear guidelines what to wear then, how to be casual caused that in the offices many employees looked sloppy and underdressed. That gave to the management huge concerns seeing employees in flip-flops and in big colored shirt. Here comes Levi’s brilliant idea and huge opportunity.

In 1992 Levi’s marketing team prepared a booklet “A Guide to Casual Businesswear” and the company sent it to 25.000 HR Departments across U.S. In the booklet naturally models wore Levi’s products, mostly Dockers khakis, which previously were used for golf courses.

 In this 8 pages guide here you can read some extracts:

  •      Casual does not mean sloppy. You can dress casually and look professional.
  •      Keep wrinkled, stained or dirty clothing out of the workplace.
  •      Avoid ripped jeans and "distressed" clothes.
  •      Sleeveless shirts and tank tops are inappropriate for most offices; cover bare shoulders with a blazer or cardigan if necessary.
  •      Leave flashy, "loud" clothing (including T-shirts with printed messages) at home.
  •      Avoid lingerie looks or too revealing outfits in the office. Be sure to check that garments are not too transparent.
  •      Accessories can make or break a casual outfit; consider the style and tone of the outfit when choosing belts, scarves, ties and jewelry.
  •      Save athletic clothing, workout wear, beachwear and sweats for after work.
  •      Don't forget to check footwear; open-toe sandals and sneakers may not be appropriate. Bare legs can also be considered too casual.

 It was advised to give this guide to all employees. If HR had questions or needed some support, they could use Levi’s hotline for advice or also to contact Levi’s company for consultation of a tailor-made company dress code.

By 1995 90% of companies had a dress code, which means that the campaign had a real effect and Levi’s could gain not only financial success of selling more khakis or jeans, but became part of the corporate history as well.

Watch some pictures from the “Guide to Casual Businesswear” in the following post.