I used to work for the UK subsidiary of a German financial company (as did another fine blogger that you may read). They took the approach that, unless you were seeing a client, you didn't need to wear a suit and even then it wasn't required. So I wore smart trousers and a shirt and only ever put a tie on if a company representative was visiting me.
When we visited the sales conferences in Germany, I was surprised and pleased to see the CEO stand before the 3000 people in jeans and a polo top. No British CEO would do such a thing. German business has a refreshing and modern approach it seems.
Up to that time I had always worn a suit at work. In fact, it had been a company rule at most of the companies I had worked for. I always felt it was stupidly old fashioned and only the British now seem to be clinging to this tradition.
Sadly the UK operation was closed with the client bank and advisers sold to a firm that has a very different agenda. I was there nearly 5 years and despite it being over 3 years since it all ended, I still miss the atmosphere, the freedom and the opportunities it gave me (such as foreign travel). Life moves on... my career stalled. Could be worse.
Today I am seeing clients and will wear my suit, my uniform - it's the company rule. Wouldn't it be highly original for a national company to break with tradition and allow simple smart clothes? No chance!