British loosen up on summer office wear

July 23, 2013, 4:50 PM GMT+0

Wearing shorts in the office has become more acceptable with the hot weather – and the Liberal Democrats are the most ‘liberal’ about summer office wear

Last week Nick Clegg caused a stir by admitting on LBC radio to “padding around the office without my shoes on.” He also said he was “perfectly relaxed” about people in offices wearing shorts or making other allowances for the hot weather. New research by YouGov finds that the public have loosened up on wearing shorts in the office, and that Mr Clegg and his supporters are like-minded in their liberal attitudes to office wear.

In the summer of 2012, the wettest summer for 100 years, only 35% of British adults said wearing shorts in the office was “acceptable” while the majority (61%) said it was “not acceptable.” But in the light of the first prolonged heatwave for seven years, the British have loosened up nine points: 44% now say shorts are acceptable to wear in the office while only half (50%) say they are not.

And the Deputy Prime Minister’s supporters are, like him, across the board more liberal in their attitudes to office wear. When it comes to shorts, the majority of Lib Dems say it is fine to wear them in the office; in contrast the majority of Conservative voters (59%) say it is not OK. But the biggest difference is with ‘hoodies’: 29% of Lib Dems think they are acceptable to wear in the office, while 85% of Conservative voters say they are not. The Lib Dems are, however, outdone by Labour when it comes to sandals: 67% of Labour supporters don't mind them being worn in the office while 65% of Lib Dems feel the same.

Teo van den Broeke, associate editor of Esquire magazine, said that Mr Clegg’s behaviour was “incredibly bad etiquette,” adding that "There are so many elements that could be offensive, be that cultural or simply that your feet smell."

See the full poll results

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