This has become a fashionable term in recent months in the US, and the phrase has now crossed the Atlantic to Britain. It’s a reaction against dress-down Friday, which started out as a well-meaning attempt to inject informality into office life, but which seems to have led to more stress than ever. Employees could no longer hide behind uniform business dress, but had to start thinking about what to wear. In the way of things, this informal Friday clothing has itself become stylised into business casual. The term dress-up Thursday seems to have been invented by enterprising American menswear firms last year to try to revive the popularity of the suit, though industry pundits predict that the move towards more casual work dress styles is going to continue inexorably. Dress-up Thursday is causing some employers to tear their hair out. One said: “We have workplace dress-up and workplace dress-down. Why don’t we dress normal and get the work done?”
Some companies, finding that casual sometimes means sloppy, are now testing a novel idea: Dress-up Monday or Dress-up Thursday.
Christian Science Monitor, Apr. 2001
Leading chains such as Mens Wearhouse now promote themselves as guides helping baffled men navigate the new dress codes. But the industry is also trying to fight the casual trend, last year launching a campaign to promote dress-up Thursdays.
The Record (Bergen County, NJ), Apr. 2001