Employers, don’t even think about requiring a formal or conservative dress code in the office – your workers would flee. A Randstad survey of 1,200 U.S. employees and workplace attire revealed that Americans love to dress comfortably and casually on the job: one-third of employees said they would not only quit their job (or nix a job offer) if they would be required to dress conservatively. Not even a $5,000 bump in pay would bring them back.

But that doesn’t mean they won’t dress up for an interview

While 79% of employees say their employers’ dress code is either business casual (26%), casual (26%), or that there’s no real dress code at all (20%), they still understand the need for decorum when the occasion presents itself.

A majority, 65%, think it’s important to suit up during a job interview, regardless of that workplace’s dress code. You only get one chance to make a good first impression! That might be why 42% of respondents said they’d rather be 20 minutes late to a job interview than arrive looking disheveled, sweaty, or underdressed.

But what if you’re interviewing by video? These respondents have it all figured out: 50% wear business on the top and casual on the bottom. And their interviewer is none the wiser.

There is a thing as too casual

Even for a nation that loves to dress casually at the office, there are places where employees draw the line. Here are the items of clothing that push their buttons:

  • Ripped jeans (73%), and their cousin, leggings (56%) are not considered appropriate workwear, yet they creep into the office again and again
  • Sky-high heels (defined as heels over three inches) are deemed “unprofessional,” and 40% say the same about open-toed shoes.
  • Young people. A full 38% of employees 25-35-years-old admit they’ve been asked to dress more professionally by their manager, or called into HR over their clothing.

That’s the thing: sometimes wearing a beaded skirt makes you feel good, but as it turns out, it’s office-inappropriate.

“There’s an interesting disconnect around younger workers: most associate dressing up with more confidence and better work performance, but nearly 40% also report they’ve had a manager speak to them about dressing more professionally,” said Traci Fiatte, CEO, non-technical staffing, Randstad US, in a press release.

“The bottom line is, as long as employees dress in a way that’s consistent with their employer’s policies, most managers care less about what their employees wear than about their performance and work output.”

Originally published on The Ladders.

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