Business Casual Men's Attire & Dress Code Explained

Jun 05, 2017

The term business casual is hard to define. From dress shirts and chinos to t-shirts and jeans, there are many interpretations of the term. For employees of companies that still require that men wear weekday suits to the office, business casual may mean no-jacket Fridays. Many businesses today have flexible dress codes, while some have no dress codes at all. If you’re unsure of what your version of casual men’s attire looks like, Timbercreek has some questions and considerations that will help you out.

iStock-507900682Is It Business?  Or Is It Casual?

Many feel it's a faux pas to assume any outfit with a blazer qualifies as business casual.  As Restart Your Style points out, business casual is still a dress code for business.  As such, dressing up a casual outfit isn't the goal: making semi-formal business attire more casual and comfortable is. Check out more here.

Jeans Don't Count

John Mayer popularized the blazer-over-hoodie-with-jeans look in the mid-2000s. While the ‘put a blazer on it’ mentality certainly upsells some looks, for many, it just doesn’t cut it as business casual. While jeans are great, and many office environments today promote them, if you're going to wear them to work it’s best to stick to a high quality pair. Opt for new, dark, unripped jeans, and leave the hoodie at home -- unless you skateboard for a living.

Programmer Chic

In the tech industry, home and "remote" work are on the rise. If you work remotely, and rarely meet with clients and colleagues, there’s no need for a closet full of office attire. For the rare times you do have to venture out, it’s good to have some clothing to wear that matches the style of your colleagues or clients,whether that be dress pants or jeans depends on them.

Google Grade

While Google isn't the only company doing it (Twitter, Facebook, and Apple for example), they set the bar for the ping-pong office. With foosball, video games, yoga, DJing, and scheduled play among many strategies to improve performance and promote employee culture, dress codes have followed suit. In fact, one of Google’s philosophies is that 'you can be serious without a suit.' Learn more here.

No Single Answer

One traditional definition suggests "business casual for men means wearing a pair of smart pants [i.e. slacks, chinos, or dress pants], a collared shirt, a sweater or blazer, and relaxed but elegant shoes." “Another author wrote in the Financial Times that ‘ordinarily business casual for guys seems fairly clear. It is a pair of chinos, a blazer and a good shirt, no tie.’" But the reality is, every industry is different. The traditional approach may apply to careers in finance and government, but in software development, advertising, design, and any kind of freelance work, the rules have changed. One key point to remember however: when interviewing, meeting a client, attending a performance review, or otherwise making an impression, it never hurts to dress up. Read more here and here.

Timbercreek hopes this list helps you understand casual men’s attire. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

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