Rest of Europe remains formal

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In France, for example, formal dress remains the norm, except on the trading floor, where casual dress is acceptable on Fridays - even jeans and trainers, says Benoit Bout, co-head of equities syndicate at Credit Agricole IndoSuez. Italians follow a similar pattern with dress-down Fridays on the trading floor only. In Germany, meanwhile, a wider range of colours has traditionally been acceptable in formal dress, but there's no move towards dress down.

Johannes Hainlein, director of Options, a financial recruitment company, says: 'Germans have just learned to swap brown shoes for black ones. But their dress code and [formal] way of addressing each other seem to go hand in hand, so they will stay formally dressed.'