June 25, 2018

The Accounting Firm Dress Code Revolution Rolls On

In this first half of 2016, accounting offices across the country have witnessed a bolt of denim throughout their halls. It's been quite an interesting fashion evolution for a profession that's been banally formal since, well, always. It's captivated everyone, including PwC's Tim Ryan who, knowing that he needed to set the proper example, asked his kids for help.

It remains to be seen whether this trend will turn out to be a fad, which might explain why some firms have opted for "pilot" programs. Baker Tilly got this party started with their pilot program "Dress for Your Day" and now we've been informed about another pilot by the exact same name in Deloitte's Rosslyn office.

We haven't verified the text we weren't sent via an anonymous tipster, but it seems plausible enough:

Summer office “dress code”
Dress for Your Day pilot

Rosslyn Office Professionals:

We heard you. We heard that you don’t always want to wear suits, ties, formal dresses and blazers when it makes more sense to dress for your day (e.g., Rosslyn day vs. client site) This summer — now through Labor Day — the Deloitte Rosslyn office will assume a Dress for Your Day “dress code”. Based on your feedback, we can iterate and determine how Dress for Your Day looks for the Rosslyn office on a permanent basis.

What is a Dress for Your Day “dress code”?
This Dress Code Policy allows our Deloitte professionals working in the Deloitte Rosslyn office to maximize comfort, while maintaining a professional image. Nice jeans or slacks paired with other business casual clothing (top, shoes, accessories) are appropriate unless otherwise indicated by practice leaders, client/prospect meetings, client site guidelines, marketplace events, recruitment activities, or other circumstances. Dress for your day gives you flexibility to dress in a way that adheres to your schedule for that day (i.e., spending the day on client site vs. spending the day in the office).

Dress is a personal matter that requires each individual to exercise professional judgment. We realize there may be differences from one person to another, but everyone should make a positive, professional impression in their own style. Attire worn while interacting with our clients should always be client-appropriate (and adhere to client guidelines while at client sites), though never below the Dress Code standards.

Let's stop here and appreciate the first two sentences of that last paragraph. It's Millennial pandering at its finest.

Okay, picking it up again:

Rules of the road
In general, legs should be covered. Men should wear dress socks at all times. Clothing in form-fitting material is not considered office appropriate.

Sorry, no auditing in your active wear…yet. Plus, Deloitte's version of casual does not appreciate hairy ankles.

The following clothing items would not be considered office-appropriate attire:


  • Crop tops
  • Tank tops baring shoulders
  • Halters
  • Strapless tops
  • Spaghetti straps
  • T-shirts with writing or emblems
  • Sweatshirts
  • Bare midriffs

If accounting firms ever start allowing hoodies/sweatshirts, that will be the jump-the-shark moment.


  • Old or ripped jeans
  • Short skirts
  • Shorts
  • Leggings
  • Overalls
  • Cargo pants
  • Knee-length capris
  • Sweatpants and yoga pants


  • Athletic or tennis shoes
  • Sport sandals
  • Birkenstock-style sandals
  • Flip-flops or casual sandals
  • Hiking boots

Thanks for your adherence
Your adherence is greatly appreciated as we continue to work in an environment that is comfortable but always professional — whether we dress in business or business casual attire — or jeans. How you dress and present yourself to others will work for or against you in establishing your professional credibility. Don't let your choice of clothing get in the way. If you have any questions regarding this policy, please feel free to contact your local business leader or counselor.

All the firms need now is fashion police to keep the peace. I can't imagine that self-regulation will go well for long.  

Is your firm on the #TeamDenim? Or are they part of the backlash? Talk it out.

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