The formal workplace dress code is slowly dying off

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No longer does a new job mean worrying about years spent trussed up in a skirt suit and heels – the chances that you’ll be stuck in a traditional dress code are rare unless you work in industries like law or finance.

Only one in five offices actually upholds a formal dress code, according to a new survey.

The survey of 2,000 U.S. adults was conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by the fashion platform Lyst as part of a larger project on the popularity of denim in the office.

ladders clothes
Casual dress code at Ladders

Uptight no more

Half of the respondents said that their offices only required a casual, or “smart casual” work dress code, which allows for jeans and other relaxed items.

Wearing denim to work is common, and 84% of respondents said that jeans are a major part of their style. On average, respondents report owning nine pairs of jeans.

Even the most historically uptight offices are loosening up – and some are sporting their denim.

Last May, white-shoe investment firm Goldman Sachs, one of the most traditional banking firms when it comes to dress, moved to a “flexible” dress code (although Goldman Sachs honchos did not define what “flexible” entailed.) Bankers at the San Francisco office were already wearing jeans.

And at Credit Suisse, there’s a dress-down Friday where jeans are allowed.

And in March, Big Law firm Dechert became yet another major firm to loosen its dress code – including the bonus that attorneys could wear jeans any day of the week. The move was made in part to attract talent.