Let’s start by understanding that business causal has changed over the years, but I don’t think it has ever reached the point where t-shirt and jeans are acceptable.
In this post, I’m going to give you a few pointers on what business casual should mean to a young professional. When you’re prepared for success, success will find you, and being dressed for the part is a top priority on the list.
- It’s Not Just at Work – Landing your dream job starts long before you step into a company’s door for an interview, it starts with you. Everyday that you wake up is another day to go out and search for your next position. It’s true when people say you never know who you’ll meet or see out, and that doesn’t just go for your next partner. It doesn’t mean that men need to be dressed in a 3-piece suit every day or a woman must have on a skirt suit and heels when they walk out the door, it simply means that you pay more attention to outward appearance that you present to others. Your outward appearance isn’t just your clothing, but also your attitude on how you’re dealing with issues you may face throughout your day, facial expressions (I still struggle with this), your vocabulary. Look beyond the clothes, even CEO’s allow you to wear jeans occasionally.
- But at Work – When you’re working, and in this example working can also mean being on the job hunt, being comfortable does make a difference in your entire day. More companies are getting away from uniforms and suit pieces, this mean HR department are revamping their Handbook manuals to explain what business casual means to their employees.
Men – In my opinion, you can never go wrong with a nice polo or button-down shirt and dress pants or khakis. With this outfit, you aren’t layered in clothes on those hot days and if it is chilly, a nice warm jacket will do the trick. Everyone doesn’t have the ability to go out and buy new clothing for job interviews or during the first few months on a new job. But, try your very best to wear clothing at work that does not have images, unless it is a company logo or much wording on the outfit. It can be distracting to your coworkers and the customers.
Women – I’m starting to love skirts more in the winter time, skirts, leggings, and boots seem to be a winning combination to me. For women, we have so many options, which is why my room looks so junky right this moment. Dresses, skirts, pants, mixing and matching. Find pieces that are colorful, a playful big red skirt that pairs well with a simple white or black blouse. Wear items that make you comfortable, no this does not mean pajamas. I would like to throw a disclaimer in that I believe all kitten-heeled shoes should be burned, but whatever floats your professional boat.
- Accessories and Smells – There is such a thing as TOO much.
I’ve had people come to meetings and when they’ve left my office, their perfume or cologne stayed. It can be bad! Employers are very aware of these type of details because it can interfere with the current employees. Also wearing jewelry too shiny can attract attention. If the jewelry makes too much noise or is too shiny, that can be a distraction to any workplace or interview that you might have. Less is more, we don’t want you to lose who you are for a job, however, when you’re looking to join someone’s company, you must take not only their culture, benefits, and pay into consideration, but also their employee dress code.
Yes, everyone should have at least one suit in their possession once they reach a certain age, it is still required for some companies. Your job search will help you determine the type of company you’re willing to work for. There are a lot of individuals who get to wear jeans and tennis shoes to work every day, there are some companies who only approve of the company uniform, only suites and ties, and then you have the ones that are in-between. Dressing business casual isn’t always as hard as some people make it out to be, but make sure you’re following your company standards. A great question for interviewing at a company is, “What attire is approved for this workplace?” This way, you understand, before you sign on the dotted line, what is expected of you in this area.
Until Next Time …