The Evolution of Dress Codes: Embracing Smart Casual at BMA House


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By Rebecca Hurley (BMA House)

As we continue to navigate the post-pandemic landscape, the shift in professional attire at conferences and events is unmistakable. Here at BMA House, a leading venue for conferences and events, we have seen a notable transformation in dress codes over the last few years.  Whilst not entirely to blame, the COVID restrictions certainly accelerated the pace of that change, which mirrors the broader evolution in workplace and professional dress, reflecting a move towards more relaxed and individual styles.


The Shift Towards Smart Casual 

In the aftermath of the pandemic, there has been a general relaxation in dress codes, moving away from the traditional suit and tie to embrace smart casual. This trend is not just a reflection of changing fashion sensibilities but also of the shifting dynamics of work culture. With more hybrid working models, where individuals split their time between home and the office, there’s a natural inclination to opt for outfits that bridge the gap between comfort and professionalism.

At BMA House, we’ve witnessed this trend first-hand at our conferences and events. Attendees are increasingly choosing smart casual, which allows them to transition seamlessly from a day at the office to an event, without the need for a complete outfit change. This shift is indicative of a larger cultural move towards a more relaxed professional environment, where the emphasis is on individual expression and comfort, without sacrificing professionalism.

Evening Events: A Time to Shine 

Despite the general trend towards relaxation, it’s important to note that dress codes can still vary significantly depending on the type of event and the sector. For evening events such as awards and receptions, in particular, there remains a strong inclination for attendees to dress up. These occasions are often seen as opportunities to make an effort, with cocktail attire or business formal wear frequently chosen to reflect the special nature of the evening. At BMA House, we continue to celebrate this tradition through our theming and decor, recognising that for many, evening events are a chance to step away from the everyday and indulge in a bit of glamour.

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Sector-Specific Expectations 

It’s crucial to acknowledge that in some industries, traditional dress codes are still very much expected. Fields such as law, finance, and certain corporate sectors maintain a more conservative approach to professional attire. For many events across these industries, the expectation for suit and tie or formal business wear remains unchanged. Here at BMA House, we respect and accommodates these expectations, ensuring that the professional nature and history of our venue continues to be present.  This again demonstrates our versatility and suitability for a wide range of professional gatherings.

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In conclusion, the evolution of dress codes at conferences and events reflect a broader shift towards a more relaxed and individualised approach to professional attire. At BMA House, we embrace this change, offering a flexible and inclusive environment that caters to a diverse array of professional needs and preferences. Whether it’s a day conference in smart casual or an elegant evening gala, we celebrate the diversity of professional expression in this new era.


Enquire about your booking with BMA House here.