Opinions on business casual vary among industries and areas of the country. Even on “dress down days” you can still dress a notch above the norm. Business casual is an extension of professional, yet in a more relaxed manner. Suits are off the scale at the top, but anything worn, frayed, scuffed, dirty, wrinkled, ill-fitting, revealing, out-of-date or offensive is also off the bottom end of the scale.
Considerable research has been conducted on the effect of dress in the social environment. When business associates meet in a social setting or on casual Fridays, they carry back to the business world the impressions they receive and the judgments they make based upon those impressions. A well-dressed person is the one who attends a social function and, when he or she leaves, people say, “Did you notice how nice he/she looked?” Yet no body can tell you what he or she was wearing.
Even in the casual setting, the one with more polish and professionalism will usually beat out the competition.
Wearing anything too trendy in a conservative environment can become a liability in that setting. If your job is in a creative field, it might benefit you to be up to date. Clothing for work has more to do with appropriateness, boundaries and respect than it has to do with fashion. Neutral colors will not draw as much attention to a more casual style.
Avoid anything with large logos, tee-shirts with controversial messages and items that are too revealing.
Unbutton no more than the top button on shirts or blouses.
Pants with belt loops must be worn with a belt (in good condition and in the appropriate color and style). Cut off the loops if you don’t want to wear a belt.
Remember, people are judged within the first seven seconds and you always want to portray the confident professional, whether on casual Fridays or doing business on the golf course!