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Stop Wearing Flip-flops In The APAC Office

That goes for shorts and leggings too, according to the latest YouGov study on what's OK to wear in offices across Asia Pacific.

by / Published: 28 Sep 2017

Stop Wearing Flip-flops In The APAC Office
Photo: iStock

No shorts at work. Big surprise (not really)! YouGov Hong Kong recently surveyed working people across APAC to uncover perceptions of acceptable and unacceptable dressing at work. 

Discounting the tendency of younger generation workplaces to be quite lax when it comes to casual workplace attire today, the results of this study can be summed up in five simple tips. Most of these seems common sense to us, with a few exceptions.

Photo: iStock

Sandals vs flip-flops
Flip-flops are a no-no. At least 56 per cent of people surveyed agreed that sandals are acceptable in the office, with only 35 per cent in favour of slippers at work. Typically a female footwear choice, sandals got an OK from 49 per cent of male respondents as well. (Sandals usually have a strap around the back of the ankle.)

Photo: iStock

Leggings? Think again
Who knew leggings could be 'the most divisive garment in the workplace'? While respondents in Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines and Australia widely accept leggings as part of office attire, the majority of Chinese, Indonesian and Malaysian (52 per cent) respondents gave it a no.

We have to say that we often wear leggings to the workplace and don't see any issue with it being worn under shorter dresses - it can look formal as well! And it's a good compromise between thick denim jeans (too hot) and going bare-legged (too cold in air-con). But of course, wear the all-black type, not the leopard-print ones. 

Photo: iStock

Vest tops for men are out
Only one in three people consider it alright for men to wear a vest top around the office. Bad news for those looking to cool off or to show off your guns (save it for the gym, gentlemen). On the other hand, hooded sweatshirts appear more favourable, especially to respondents between 16 to 24 years of age. Office air-conditioning gets pretty cold around here!

Photo: iStock

No shorts for men
While four in ten people across Asia Pacific agree that shorts for men at work are acceptable, the majority holds the opposite view. We agree that it can look a bit too casual for an office environment (unless you're Steve Irwin).

However, while shorts for gents can’t seem to catch a break in offices here, two-thirds of respondents agreed that it’s acceptable for women to wear skirts above the knee in the office. Within reason, though - hotpants and miniskirts are still likely to be a no-no.

Photo: iStock

Neck ties: possibly not
Unsurprisingly, an overwhelming number of respondents say it’s acceptable to forgo the tie at work, with mostly only 9 per cent in favour of a tie in men’s office garb. This seems to swing the opposite way from traditional opinions of acceptable office attire - wearing a tie is almost never inappropriate, but it might be a little too formal, in some situations.

This should be taken with a pinch of salt, of course: the company dress code trumps general opinion.

Click here to read about the other survey findings. What do you wear to the office? Or what have you seen people wear to the office that made you do a double take? Let us know in the comments!  

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