How Do I Do 'Business Casual' the Proper Way?
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04-01-2014, 11:57 PM
How Do I Do 'Business Casual' the Proper Way?
For the first time in my life, I will be working in an office environment that doesn't require me to wear a standard uniform...and I don't really know what I am doing.

I already had a couple of nice suits, a handful of dress shirts, a pair of dress shoes, and a few ties. I know how to do 'Business'. As it turns out, I do not know how to do 'business casual'.

I've recently bought a reasonable amount of stuff to get me started. Hopefully I haven't wasted my money, but I really don't know. I have read perhaps 20 articles on how to dress 'business casual', but most of the articles seem to conflict with each other. I'm perhaps more confused than ever. Below are some of the conflicts I have seen, please weigh in.

Trousers - Some say Dress Pants are too dressy, some say use only dress pants. Some say no cuffed pants, some make no mention. Some say Nice, dark unadorned jeans are good, some say never. Also, to pleat, or not to pleat?

Shirts - The biggest issue here is polo shirts. Some say yes, some say no, some say in warm weather, some say non-moister-wicking polo's, year-round.

Shoes - Some say dress shoes, one or two said some other boot-like hybrid, one said capped shoes are a no-no, one said loafers with tassels will impress the old boss, but make you look odd among your peers.

Ties - Some say to 'dress for the job you want', while others say you'll be over-dressed and stick out like a sore thumb.

Coat - Okay to wear a suit coat in cold weather, or not? Change for a sport coat? Outer coat only? No one seems to agree with anything except for a sweater.

Hat - Can I wear my favorite hats outside? They aren't baseball caps, but kind of like a newsboy hat or driver hat.

Thanks to anyone for any solid advice.

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05-01-2014, 12:03 AM
RE: How Do I Do 'Business Casual' the Proper Way?
I have no experience or expertise, but I would say slacks, button up shirt, no tie, nice but comfy shoes. Boxer briefs if you were wondering. Leave your cover at home.

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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05-01-2014, 12:08 AM (This post was last modified: 05-01-2014 12:24 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: How Do I Do 'Business Casual' the Proper Way?
Very nice, (ironed, maybe very subtle pin-stripe) black ?? slacks, Polo shirts. Classy (Italian) shoes. You will be slightly over-dressed, but not (awkwardly) so. That's how you want it. If you're regularly dressed slightly nicer than the rest, they will get used to it, and you can feel comfortable in meetings with the mucky-mucks. Tongue

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein
Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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05-01-2014, 12:15 AM
RE: How Do I Do 'Business Casual' the Proper Way?
Slacks, IMO any color really, black, khaki, etc. polo, button up, or golf shirts. I have no idea about shoes. No tie. Hats..... I'd say on your way in, or on your way out, whatever you want if it doesn't clash horribly with your outfit. I'd say same rule for a coat. Get a nice dressy one if you can.

If you are still nervous, dress a little nicer than what you expect, then adapt to how you see others dressing. Good luck with the new job!! Thumbsup
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05-01-2014, 12:24 AM
RE: How Do I Do 'Business Casual' the Proper Way?
Thin sweaters (or those woven shirts) are fine for business casual. Good fitting trousers, not too casual. Cuffs on the pant for business casual are not ok. No khaki, nothing with garish pockets...no denim in general (unless you work for a software company in California).

Ties, really depends on the shirt. The tie should be a solid color and thinner than the full-on suit tie.

You should wear a good belt without a big redneck belt buckle Smile

Polo shirts are generally too casual.

Sport jackets, separates...yes. A good nice overcoat for colder months.

Shoes should be a solid color...I don't like boots for business casual because they tend to be heavy sounding and look clunky. A nice pair of dark brown or black slip ons with dark solid socks only.

Hat, yes as long as its a dark color.

Peers?? Who cares what they wear? As long as you look well-put-together and that your wearing the clothes and not the clothes wearing you...

Whatever you wear should fit your body and frame well. Smile


God is a concept by which we measure our pain -- John Lennon

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05-01-2014, 12:57 AM
RE: How Do I Do 'Business Casual' the Proper Way?
I don't think there is a standard definition for "business casual" which is why you're finding so many conflicting opinions. My opinion is that business casual is simply professional without the tie.

Here's my advice:

1) Ask your employer or coworkers about the policy on jeans before wearing them to the office.

2) Keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with dressing above the dress code, and wearing a suit and tie for no reason occasionally can help you avoid awkward "do you have an interview?" questions when you actually are looking for a new job.

3) Please don't default to khakis and button down or polo shirt unless you want to look like a cookie cutter cubicle dweller. In the interest of style, if your tempted to wear khakis wear slacks instead.

"I feel as though the camera is almost a kind of voyeur in Mr. Beans life, and you just watch this bizarre man going about his life in the way that he wants to."

-Rowan Atkinson
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05-01-2014, 07:53 AM
RE: How Do I Do 'Business Casual' the Proper Way?
(05-01-2014 12:24 AM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  Thin sweaters (or those woven shirts) are fine for business casual. Good fitting trousers, not too casual. Cuffs on the pant for business casual are not ok. No khaki, nothing with garish pockets...no denim in general (unless you work for a software company in California).

Ties, really depends on the shirt. The tie should be a solid color and thinner than the full-on suit tie.

You should wear a good belt without a big redneck belt buckle Smile

Polo shirts are generally too casual.

Sport jackets, separates...yes. A good nice overcoat for colder months.

Shoes should be a solid color...I don't like boots for business casual because they tend to be heavy sounding and look clunky. A nice pair of dark brown or black slip ons with dark solid socks only.

Hat, yes as long as its a dark color.

Peers?? Who cares what they wear? As long as you look well-put-together and that your wearing the clothes and not the clothes wearing you...

Whatever you wear should fit your body and frame well. Smile

By "Polo", I meant dress button-downs (as in "Polo" brand) dress shirts, (not a "golf" shirt). One of my mom's friends is married to some high buck venture capitalist, and she always wears impeccably tailored black dress slacks, with anything else (dress shirts) she steals from her son's (my age) closets. With the black dress slacks you look dressed up no matter what else you wear, (and she often wears "jean" shirts, but they're ironed), and being a classy dame she looks great in anything. She hates shopping as much as I do. Just don't be a slob. During the Summer at school I often wear extra high quality slightly larger perfectly white tee shirts. Even those look "dressy" if you do it right. I would never wear a tee shirt to work though.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein
Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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05-01-2014, 07:57 AM
RE: How Do I Do 'Business Casual' the Proper Way?
I would suggest over-dressing the first few days and see what others are wearing. Then you can get the feel for the company and find out if they have casual Fridays where jeans are acceptable.

I'm not anti-social. I'm pro-solitude. Sleepy
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05-01-2014, 07:59 AM
RE: How Do I Do 'Business Casual' the Proper Way?
[Image: What-Is-Business-Casual-Attire-2.png?60f84c]


Pleats are never a good idea.
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05-01-2014, 08:02 AM
RE: How Do I Do 'Business Casual' the Proper Way?
Simply copy what your coworkers wear or ask them.

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