And that’s how the business suit finally died… or not.
Earlier this month J.P, Morgan Chase, America’s largest bank, adopted a business casual dress code, making the venerable banker’s suit optional.
JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon reportedly made the change after a tour of Silicon Valley tech firms, where he discovered that his employees’ attire was out of step with other American industries. (Really, he just noticed that? In 2016?) There are limits to the new policy. You won’t see a J.P. Morgan banker strolling the halls in cut-offs and a tank top. In fact, managers have the right to make an employee go home and change if their duds don’t meet the new minimum standard. The investment bankers will still wear suits.
While the financial media is painting the J.P Morgan change as transformational, other financial institutions, including Bank of America, already allow many of their employees to rock the polo and khakis. My financial planning firm has long had a business casual dress code.
This move was probably inevitable as J.P. Morgan Chase battles to recruit top young talent, and tries to appear more Main Street than Wall Street to prospective clients.
I do wonder if the pendulum will one day swing back to a more formal style. Probably not. But I do think there is something to the idea that dressing up can strengthen your presence and sense of purpose at work.
Just remember when shopping for financial advice, pay attention to what the prospective advisor says, not what he’s wearing.