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Dress code at a workplace in Japan

Many people may have such an image in their minds when talking about a business dress code in Japan, that male employees usually wear a formal suit in black or navy blue, with a button-down shirt inside; whereas female employees tend to dress themselves in a business casual style, which consists with a shirt and a skirt without patterns, often in white, grey, black or blue colour.
This, to a great extent, is true and can be commonly testified in many companies here in Japan. One of the main reasons for those firms for setting up some strict dress code is that the management team do not wish their employees to spend too much time on thinking about what to wear to work, but focusing more on their jobs; another reason could be establishing a sense of unity and community, where no one seems to be ‘special’ and everyone shall be kept in the same.

However, other companies, such as an IT vendor like e-Jan, do not have such requirements on dressing. On the contrary, those companies tend to encourage their staff to dress as they want to, as long as the styles are not too casual.
In my personal opinion, a person’s way of dressing reflects her attitudes towards life, as well as her aesthetics. It does not necessarily mean that one needs to put many efforts on becoming fashionable. Dressing in a simple and easy way is surely a kind of style.
The important message delivered by a company which has a less strict or even comparatively free dressing code is that it encourages diversity in characteristics, it respects individual liberty by not trying to make everyone look like the same.

At least at e-Jan, by having a relatively liberal dressing code compared to other Japanese companies, e-Jan addresses one of her ideologies that employees should not be judged by the outside appearances, their looking, but the contributions or achievement they have made for the company.

In a globalising society, via the introduction and spread of teleworking in Japan, where even its workstyles are being diversified, wouldn’t it be true that the insistence on having a rather strict dress code at workplace should be changed and the presence of diversity in individual liberty should be further acknowledged?

--by Z.A.Y (from China, living in Japan since 2010)