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Web sites offer glimpses of a yen for casual dress

SHARE Web sites offer glimpses of a yen for casual dress

If dressing casually for work has become too common to satisfy your rebellious streak, try this shocking alternative: dress-up Fridays.

According to a story posted on the Internet site of CNN interactive (http://cnn.com/US/9607/05/dress.up.fridays/index.html), a World Wide Web site-design company called AGENCY.COM took that approach.Its employees dressed in blue jeans on most days, so it started holding "dress-up Fridays." What began as a joke soon grew popular, as employees left their grubbies at home one day a week to break out their suits or dresses.

A quick search of the Web reveals dozens of sites and stories about the nation's ongoing passion for casual fashion. For example:

- The Ban the Tie Brigade's site (http://www.ccn.cs.dal.ca/(tilde)af313/BTT.Profile.html) represents "a confederacy of men and women committed to the ideal of sensible choice in work and business fashion." The Web site boldly proclaims, "A person without a tie can work as well, and usually better, than one tied up."

- A 1997 story from The Corner Cleaner (http://www.pond.com/(tilde)hhorning/news/pjs.html) quotes a New York Times report that some people in China have started wearing pajamas to work, citing their comfort.

- The site for a store called Puritan of Cape Cod (http://www.virtualcapecod.com/puritan/casual.html) says many men do not understand how to put sportswear items together to make an acceptable outfit. "Men need to learn how to `item dress.' It can be very confusing for a person who has essentially worn the same uniform every day since college," the site says.

- A story on the Web site of bankinfo.com (http://www.bankinfo.com/hr/casual.html) offers extensive tips on "The Complicated Conversion to Corporate Casual." It quotes a University of North Carolina study of 189 Fortune 500 companies regarding what is and is not acceptable in the realm of casual dress. The conclusion: "Casual isn't exactly weekendwear. There's a thin line between casual and, well, too casual. It's a gray area that's perplexing some workers."

- Another site (http://bubblemouth.pathfinder.com/altculture/aentries/d/dressdown.html) gives a history of "casual Friday," saying it was "born out of the slacker-capitalist ethos of Silicon Valley in the '80s." However, the story says, "By 1996, a backlash was already in the making, with Citibank, Disney and other companies reversing earlier policies, claiming that chains of command had broken down, productivity was sagging and chaos reigned in the workplace."