Relaxed dress codes are now an integral part of the American workforce. Almost two-thirds of workers get casual regularly. But the sometimes vague description of corporate casual (jeans OK some places, off-limits others) adds to the confusion of mix-and-match dressing.
What's a man to do?
Here are some basic guidelines for business casual:
- Casual doesn't mean sloppy. Business casual must still be polished and professional. Basic business casual looks like a polo shirt/khaki pant combo are appropriate in many corporations. For a more polished casual look, you'll need to add the sportcoat.
- When choosing colors, you can go for contrast (complimentary, but different) like a blue shirt with khaki pant or tonal (different hues in the same color family) like a light green shirt with olive pants
- Casual shoes should be kept in the same tip-top, shined-up and scuff-free shape as their dressier counterparts. Styles range from penny loafers to lace-ups, leaving lots for comfort and budget preferences.
- Belts and socks should always compliment the outfit. The type and color of socks (no white athletics) and belt will take its cue from the outfit.
- Short-sleeve dress shirt with a tie
- Sweats, logo Ts or tank tops
- Sneakers or gym shoes
- Wrinkled clothes, bad grooming
And just remember -- the comfort factor of dressing down for work far outweighs any wardrobe anxiety it may cause!