Relaxing Dress Codes

Just as schools are relaxing their dress codes, so are companies, including some financial firms. For schools, motivation comes from reducing body shaming and recognizing that gender isn’t binary.

At investment firm KKR, executives sent a memo to announce a new dress code. The rationale is stated, “Given the changing nature of workplace towards less formality…we believe this is the right change for our employees.” A Wall Street Journal article explains that KKR follows Goldman and JPMorgan in easing requirements in order to compete with technology firms for talent.

In the memo, KKR doesn’t give examples of acceptable and unacceptable attire, leaving the decision to employee discretion: “We trust you all to strike the right balance and exercise good judgment.” But executives did include this caveat: “At the same time, we recognize that many of our clients and other external relationships have a more formal expectation of professionalism. So please always have business attire available.”

Image source.


  • How important is a company’s dress code to your job search? Could a more relaxed dress code make a difference in accepting an job?

  • Should KKR be more specific, as companies such as Starbucks are, in what is acceptable attire?