No short-lived trend
Perhaps one of the more memorable trends of workplace fashion, permission to wear shorts in the workplace was a proud win for staff in 1966.
A letter from Gisborne branch to Head Office dated 22 February reads,
“With the prevalent high temperatures at Gisborne over the summer months, working conditions become most unpleasant and to help alleviate the position I recommend our male staff be allowed to wear suitable summer dress. Dark shorts, calf length sox, white shirt with sleeves rolled up, tie and black or brown shoes would appear suitable. Strict control would be exercised to ensure a neat and tidy appearance was maintained."
The author goes on to note, "For your information, all of the other banks in Gisborne allow their staff to wear shorts and one bank allows an open neck shirt, but I do not favour this."
To support his request, a copy of the official temperature records for the region was included.
Head Office responded with a letter to all branches, acknowledging the trend for a more relaxed dress in other businesses and announced permission to wear summer attire, "at the manager's discretion". They did however strictly state that "shoes not sandals" were to be worn, shorts should be "of reasonable length" and "not in any way offensive to the public".