My office these days notes "business casual" as its suggested attire for Mondays through Thursday, but with an admonition that employees should wear "appropriate attire for the business that they are engaged in for the day and the departments/program in which they work." A few big no-nos are also noted: "At no time, shall an employee wear ripped or torn clothing or rubber flip flops." Simple enough, right?
But my work is generally sitting at a desk on my computer, with random last-minute off-site photo shoots or meetings with other departments thrown in. It's hard to say what the appropriate attire would be for doing that kind of business all day, so I just defer to the business casual, which in itself can present sort of a conundrum.
Business. Casual. Business dress is generally more stuffy; casual dress more laid back. When you mix the two together, some wonderful things can happen. I happen to be a fan of business casual dress--it gives me a chance to dress up each day and do my thing as a worker bee. It delineates my work day from my personal time, where you'd never find me wearing slacks or blazers.
One of the great things about business casual is that it is basically a game of mix and match. Tops + bottoms + shoes. Yup. Just like any other outfit. With small considerations for color and fit/proportion, you'll at least be in compliance with the dress code. Hey, we all have to start somewhere.
A few notes on business casual:
- Depending on the workplace, denim can be worked into the business casual wardrobe. Even when expressly allowed, business casual jeans should be of a darker wash, trouser cut, and without decoration -- save those jeans with the rhinestones on the back for the weekend.
- Sleeveless should be done carefully. The straps of the top should be thick enough to fully hide any underpinnings.
- Some business casual workplaces prohibit open-toed shoes, but if yours allows it, go with something tasteful. A heeled thong sandal = not a good idea. Peep-toed pumps = perfection.
I'll be dissecting other common dress codes here in future posts. For the time being I'll leave you with some inspiring business casual looks.
Check out the Gap outfit here and the Banana Republic outfit here.
The New Professional wants to know: What is your office dress code and your formula?