Have you ever gone to a party wearing the completely wrong clothes? For the most part, it is a little better to be over dressed than under dressed when you speak in public or attend an event. Some people go as far to say that you can never be overdressed. However, if you have ever gone to a birthday party looking better than the birthday guy or girl, well you might disagree. Unfortunately, dressing incorrectly to the office is even worse.
What Is Business Casual?
There is so much discussion regarding the definition of business casual because so many people are unsure of what exactly constitutes business casual. Depending on where you get your definition, you could have a totally different understanding of the phrase than your new office. So to be safe, you always want to dress a little better than you think you may need to. But in general, business casual means that you look professional and business-like, but still somewhat comfortable. This shows clients, colleagues and supervisors that you are there to get things done. So ladies, forego the heels and men, forego the three piece suit. Other than that, even though their are no business casual rules, there are some basics that can get you started.
For most business casual shared office spaces, there are some staple items you want to keep in your wardrobe. Obviously, do not go out shopping right after reading this post. You have to be sure that these items will work within your office environment. And, if I have learned anything through my years in business, it is that every company is unique. What works for one company can be a complete disaster at another company. That goes beyond office attire, including operations, production, marketing, etc.
On Your First Day
For most companies, you can learn a lot by what your team members are wearing. On your first day, you can easily use chinos, a nice shirt, tie and a blazer to help bridge the gap. Just in case the firm is dressy, you will slide by. And if the firm is laid back, well then, lose the tie!
Another key indicator is the industry of the firm. Certain industries like finance recruiting and law are known for stricter dress codes. If you were to ask someone in the industry, they would be helpful in helping you get the right idea. Once you have established that a business casual dress code is required. You might want to shop for some of the following:
- Cotton shirts
Different Genders, Different Options
To be clear, men and women have very different options. Women also have the option of skirts, jackets and blouses. When it comes to proper business casual, women have the upper hand in selection! However, choice does not always make decision making easy. Sometimes less is more.
What Business Casual Means To Your Industry
Keep in mind, business casual can vary from industry to industry. While the standard typically includes slacks or khakis with a shirt, your industry could require a more professional look. In this case, you might want to ask someone who works in your industry. You can ask the boss, business owner or fellow co-worker. Depending on the business causal meaning in your industry, you can dress up your outfit with a dress shirt or sport jacket. Or, you can dress it down by wearing a polo shirt. Either way, business casual means having a professional look with more comfortable clothes.
Be ready for your next office with the right wardrobe. Take cues from the team around you (not your higher ups, bosses or executives) and try to find out as much as you can before you get to the company location. Looking back, you will be happy that you were prepared, or at least used the Chino-Blazer dress code.