Working at an office with a business casual dress policy seems like it should be a great gift – and it is. But it’s also one of the most confusing and therefore, terrifying opportunities in the business world. Unless the policy comes with a list of specific rules, employees can be left with a feeling of deep foreboding and the burning desire to know “what should I wear?”
Well, we here at SocksRock want to help you out with that worry. Let’s examine what is appropriate to wear in the world of men’s casual business attire. What “works” and what could get HR frowning at you.
Visualize this; a suit made as comfortable as possible – no tie required, no jacket required, more casual shoes allowed, less tailored material and so on. That is how you should define business casual. You are still going into the business world, so you still need to look professional. Consider the impression you want to make when you meet people, especially if your position involves a lot of direct contact with clients. The more interaction you have, the closer to a suit you want to stay.
Men’s pants are relatively uniform. Khakis, chinos and suit pants; they all work well for business casual. Most of you will quickly notice that the jeans were not listed. Jeans are rarely business casual, but if they are an option in your workplace, then remember:
1. You are still at work, not a club. Keep your jeans a relaxed fit and free from any rips or decorations.
2. Dark washes of black jeans are acceptable choices. Stay away from washes or unusual colors.
When it comes to shirts, you start to get into a little more flexibility. A little flexibility – still stay professional. The important unspoken rule to remember with business casual is always the emphasis on business. Your workplace is giving you a little leeway, but you need to remain professional and presentable. Here are some acceptable and yet more relaxed and fashionable choices for shirts:
• Dress Shirts – these are available in a variety of colors, styles and looks that allow you to express your style without going too far. You can stick with solid colors, or you can venture into more unique patterns.
• Sweaters – Cashmere, wool, cardigans and more are all equally good pairing for the khakis and other pants listed above.
• Blazers – Navy blazers, wool blazers and more are excellent additions to any closet.
Accessories open the door for some personality and freedom. While once again, it is essential to stay professional with business casual, you can personalize your wardrobe a bit more with your watch, socks, and shoes. Literally, personalize your socks by creating custom-made socks. Find a watch or two that fit your style to a tee. Choose more casual shoes – not sneakers – that also show a bit about your personality.
While understanding what business casual means can initially be confusing, once you figure out the concept, you will be delighted. It is a more affordable option for work and generally more comfortable.