If the volume of news about workplace dress codes is anything to go by, we’re getting less tolerant of being told what to wear.
Ever since Nicola Thorp was sent home from her job at PwC in London for refusing to wear high heels last March, we’ve been quite prickly about it. The majority of us empathised, and with good reason. Imagine the anxiety of choosing between prolonged discomfort or being sent home from work. To say nothing of gender politics.
In June, Buckinghamshire, UK call centre worker Joey Barge made international headlines when he rebelled against his employer’s ‘no-shorts’ policy by wearing a skirt to deal with the heat in his office. His employers swiftly ditched the policy, but they’d already been without Joey’s labour while he went home to change out of his shorts.
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A few days later, the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow undid centuries of tradition when he announced that male MPs would no longer be required to wear a necktie in order to ask a question. Another arcane sartorial rule in the bin.
In the United States, House Speaker Paul Ryan was forced to clarify the dress code of the Speaker’s Lobby after a female journalist was denied entry for the crime of having bare shoulders. Ryan instructed the House sergeant-at-arms (the official tasked with protocol enforcement) to modernise the policy.