Relaxed dress codes is one of the most important trends emerging in the UK's £37.75 billion clothing and footwear market according to a new report by market intelligence provider Key Note.

The report reveals that casual dress has become widely accepted, especially in the office environment.

The research also found that in men's wear, the more casual approach to dress among men over 25 ha affected the formal dress market for suits, jackets, and tailored overcoats.

Key Note predicts that men's and boy's clothing will continue to do much better than previously, increasing the market by 20.9 per cent between 2003 to 2007 to reach a value of £13 billion.

Simon Taylor of Key Note says: "The implications of offices staffed with people wearing casual clothing are huge, because it breaks down the barrier between work wear and leisurewear. In order to distinguish between the two, consumers look to dress down even further for leisure, and to opt for casual brands as status symbols when dressing up for social occasions".

Over the next five years, Key Note anticipates growth of 16.7 per cent for the entire clothing and footwear market, which is in line with growth over the last five years and would bring the total value of the market to £45.5 billion in 2007.

Clothing sales will continue to reflect general trends in the consumer economy, since they include both essential items for families and a strong fashion element. Low prices will also be characteristic for some years to come.