Reuters and Ipsos, a research firm, asked 12,500 people in 24 countries what they thought was appropriate to wear to work. Fifty eight percent of Indians polled said they wore a full suit or other classy attire to the office. Why? Advancement. Sixty four percent of Indian workers said people who dressed casually wouldn’t make it to senior management positions. Fifty eight percent (probably the exact same Indians who wear full suits) said people who dressed casually are slackers. India leads South Korea, China and Turkey as the best dressed workers in the world.
Meanwhile, in many European countries, casual attire gets a much friendlier reception. Only 12 percent of Hungarians wear full suits to work, and only 21 percent of Spainiards and 22 percent of Swedes dress up to go to work.
Where do Americans lay? We’re in the top half — just barely outdressed by Australia and Britain and slightly more put together than our friends in Canada and Italy. Thirty seven percent of the US workforce puts in the effort and slides into a suit between nine and five.
But the study reveals a lot more than numbers and percentages. It turns out that people tend to dress to where they are on the workplace totem pole.
“It’s clear that around the world dressing to your place in the hierarchy is more often the case than dressing to the elements,” said John Wright, a senior vice president at market research company Ipsos.
So maybe Indians are the most ambitious among the world’s workers, and Hungarians are the happiest with where they are? The study doesn’t go that far into the psychology of getting dressed for the office, but for the sake of not strapping ourselves into a three-piece every day for the rest of our lives, we’re going to start learning Hungarian.