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Insights & Intuition: How has the dress code evolved in your industry and/or organization?

Representing our company well to our clients and business partners is an important part of our culture and brand.   

Twenty-five years ago, a shirt-and-tie was the everyday expectation. Today, the dress code is influenced by the person's role in the organization, and business casual attire is an important part of that.  

We want employees comfortable and feeling good when they come to work each day. This means having occasional casual days, maybe in support of employees’ favorite sports team or as part of volunteering.  

It's important to create a positive work environment in support of our quality employees  

Joe Welsch

VP of Marketing & Public Relations

Nodak Insurance Co.



Dress code in the engineering and construction industry can vary greatly depending on the type of work you are performing with clients or on a project.  

That being said, the dress code has relaxed quite a bit over the 20 years I have been in the industry and at AE2S. When I started my career, we could wear jeans only on Fridays and only if we didn’t have meetings with clients. Fast forward a generation, and now jeans have become the “business casual” of our day.

Regardless of the more relaxed dress code, AE2S still places an emphasis on dressing appropriately for the situation at hand.

Andrea Boe      

Business Development Director/Communications Practice Leader    

AE2S Affiliated Companies

Grand Forks, N.D.


A person’s role within the agency has always influenced attire. For example, account service personnel dress to emulate clients, which once meant a wardrobe full of suits. Over time, clients have become more casual; and therefore, so have we.

We need to dress for what we’re doing on any given day, activities that can include meeting a new client or going on a location scout or shoot.

Advertising agencies attract a young workforce, so the business casual trend has been wholly embraced. We are an image-based business, and we need to look the part whether in account service or in a creative role. You can look sharp and trendy while maintaining a business casual approach.

Shelly Johnson

Director of Community Outreach

Lawrence & Schiller

Sioux Falls, S.D.


We are not the world of “Mad Men” anymore. The time when a professional suit is required has passed.

Today’s attire depends entirely on the job you are doing. If you are meeting with a client, you dress to look professional; if you’re going to climb around a server room, you dress to get dirty.  Of course, while the office dress code of today tends to be business casual, employees should make sure that they set boundaries. The business world is not a college campus for jeans, T-shirts and hoodies. Employees need to dress for the job they are doing.  

There are many offices that you walk into and think “Wow, I am overdressed,” but it is better to be dressed to reflect you and the business you are there to do.

Michelle Smith

Marketing Director

Corporate Technologies

Eden Prairie, Minn.