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Norfolk Business Awards 2019

Suits you sir? Why Norfolk firms are NOT dressing down at work

PUBLISHED: 18:05 08 March 2019 | UPDATED: 18:05 08 March 2019

Suits you sir? Smart but approachable is the key, says Max Sowerby, pictured with fellow managing director Lloyd Sandy of property specialists Sowerbys. But will he be bringing in a new tweed suit for staff? Pic: Archant.

Suits you sir? Smart but approachable is the key, says Max Sowerby, pictured with fellow managing director Lloyd Sandy of property specialists Sowerbys. But will he be bringing in a new tweed suit for staff? Pic: Archant.

It might be the new trend in the corporate world of the Big Apple but in Norfolk it seems many firms still expect employees to come to work suited and booted.

The decision this week by US investment bank Goldman Sachs to relax its dress code has sparked a debate over whether you still need to dress smartly, particularly in a suit, shirt and tie. But most heads of local firms gave dressing down the thumbs down.

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Max Sowerby, who runs the property agency Sowerbys which has around 70 staff in eight offices across the county, said: “The look used to be the sharp suit, tie and white shirt with the philosophy that you needed to look like an estate agent and that you needed a uniform for people to respect you. Then it became more about personality and the individual and so we adopted jackets and trousers but I’m now considering a tweed suit in our trademark green, cream and purple colours. We do insist the men wear ties, although a few break the rules, but a tweed suit with a tie or scarf would be unique.”

Anna Farquharson, a principal solicitor at Cozens-Hardy in Norwich said the majority of men did not wear ties at work but kept them in the office for attending court. “We don’t have a dress code but we are expected to be smart. There is a perception about the legal profession that we should dress in a certain way but it is changing.” Sarah West, managing director of marketing agency Full Mix Marketing, said: “We try to encourage people to be smart, I’ve had experience in the past of dress down days and people tend to take things to the extreme and turn up in shorts. I would feel weird doing my job wearing jeans. Being smart also gives you a definition between work and leisure.”

Sarah Daniels, who runs a health and safety consultancy, the Red Cat Partnership, as well as an office space agency at No 8, Thorpe Road said: “We need to be smart and professional. We did discuss whether we should have a uniform but actually it’s about our personalities shining through.”

Smart and professional: the legal ladies at Cozens-Hardy LLP solicitors. Pic: www.cozens-hardy.comSmart and professional: the legal ladies at Cozens-Hardy LLP solicitors. Pic: www.cozens-hardy.com

This newspaper asked the public what they thought too. Pensioner Barbara Partington said: “The last time I was a paid employee was in the 1970s and you had to turn up looking smart.”

Natoya Rimmer, a Miss England semi-finalist, said: “I would definitely wear a suit for work, as it empowers you.”

Tony Powell said he always wears a tie every day. “It makes me feel better.”

Sarah West, managing director of Full Mix Marketing and her team, based in Cringleford. Pic: www.fullmixmarketing.co.ukSarah West, managing director of Full Mix Marketing and her team, based in Cringleford. Pic: www.fullmixmarketing.co.uk

Suited and booted - but Max Sowerby, who runs Sowerbys, is thinking of bringing in a tweed uniform for his staff in the trademark green, cream and purple colours. pic: Archant.Suited and booted - but Max Sowerby, who runs Sowerbys, is thinking of bringing in a tweed uniform for his staff in the trademark green, cream and purple colours. pic: Archant.

Sarah Daniels, No 8 Thorpe Road. Pic: www.no8thorperoad.co.ukSarah Daniels, No 8 Thorpe Road. Pic: www.no8thorperoad.co.uk

"I wear a tie most days" Tony Powell believes it creates a good first impression to dress smartly in business. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Barbara and Ian Partington say nobody would have dared to wear jeans in the office when they worked. Picture: Neil DidsburyBarbara and Ian Partington say nobody would have dared to wear jeans in the office when they worked. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Natoya Rimmer from Acle believes wearing smart workwear is empowering. Picture: Neil DidsburyNatoya Rimmer from Acle believes wearing smart workwear is empowering. Picture: Neil Didsbury

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