Business Casual

Dressing well is an art. Really. Just look around you and observe. You can easily spot the man or woman who seems to be dressed well while the person besides them may be wearing more expensive and brand-name labels but still look not quite neatly dressed.

Often, just tugging your shirt tail in, straightening your tie, and making sure your clothes are not too tight or skirt too short is just what is needed to complete a drastic transformation.

If your company allows Business Casual attire, here are a few helpful pointers to help you avoid falling prey to the “Beach Boy” syndrome. If you are drafting a Business Casual policy for your employees, consider the following pointers to ensure the policy really helps them.

Dress Well

Business Casual — employees love the more relaxed concept, employers cringe at the thought of employees taking “casual” to the extreme.

No one wants to go back to the days of stuffy coat and tie. Companies that are returning to this outdated dress mode are doing so at their risk and peril of being viewed by potential smart employees as stuffy and outmoded.

As in everything in life, we make rules — and dress codes are rules — to serve us. Some fashion police have turned this good thing around and made us slaves to the rules we created. Those who love to enforce the office rules should simply go and get a life.

So, dress has to be comfortable, and business casual is all about dressing well for business, first and foremost.

Some employees only read the “casual” part of “Business Casual” while some employers only want to focus on the “business” part. Both miss the point.

Dress for business, yes, but strike the right balance with comfort. Unless your business involves wearing bullet-proof armor, fire-proof suits or other type of survival suits, there is absolutely no reason why dressing for business has to be a pain in the neck [hint, hint].

Dress Appropriately For The Occasion

Employers need to develop a dress code policy that also adds the provisio that “your manager will tell you if a dress attire is inappropriate in his/her particular department.”

This is important because dressing appropriately for business these days is increasingly situational. What is appropriate dress code in one department may not be in another. Whether you interact with customers or not is a big factor in how business or casual your attire should be.

One easy way to decide for yourself is to look in the mirror and ask, “Am I appropriately dressed for the day’s business?” It’s mostly commonsense.

Jeans, Sweaters and Turtle Necks — and the Business Jacket

Steven Jobs, undoubtedly one of the most successful enterpreneurs and businessmen of our times, popularized the black turtle neck and jeans outfit. It goes to show that using dress as an excuse for business non-performance just doesn’t “pull over” [pun intended] anymore.

Even if your office is forward thinking and allows its employees to be very casual in their dress code, don’t forget to plan for those unexpected circumstances — like a last minute impromptu meeting with the CEO or other high level executives and customers. A business jacket hanging behind your office door and a silk tie in the upper drawer of your desk will ensure you are always prepared.

Business Casual — it’s dressing well for business, comfortably and with confidence that you are appropriately attired for any office business challenge — expected or not — that may come your way.

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