I’m unsure when dress down days were introduced. If you’re a bloke, it was a hard thing to convert to. Simply talking off a tie (which you’d worn for several working decades prior) isn’t really dress down.
Despite working in the City, I never wore a bowler hat (the intricate folding of the accompanying umbrella failed me miserably) but I did wear a suit and tie for years.
My first suit was purple (it was 1974!) – a strange choice given my only eye ailment is myopia rather than colour-blindness! Deep Purple were a fashionable group at the time, but the eponymous name didn’t translate well into work clothes. Many fellow travellers thought I must be a bishop in mufti.
During the early days of dress down you got an insight as to what people looked like at weekends. Posh people would wear cords, the colour of which, made my purple look surprisingly normal. Posh people also wear shoes (loafers which have seen better days, but that’s how the rich get rich) with no socks – a sure-fire way of contracting pneumonia!
Before ties were deemed unnecessary in the workplace there was competition within workers as to who had the best tie. This contest became null and void when workers from the suburbs would visit with their ties adorned with Homer Simpson, Taz of Tasmania or any Thunderbird pilot!
Virgil Tracy always beats anything from Hermes.
The term “smart casual” has entered our vocabulary. However, initially this was misinterpreted as I remember one day arriving at work and a fellow worker had dressed in army combats. He looked like he was more likely about to invade Angola rather than help out with some filing!