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Recently I read an article on how people perceive ‘business casual’. The most interesting part was in the comments. As this was on LinkedIn it was interesting how it differs around the globe, depending on industry or the size of a company.

I used to work in a corporation and even there it differed depending on what your position in the company was and if you had contact with customers. If you did – the attire was more formal, definitely more business than casual. However for most of us it was jeans and top/t-shirt. During Summer women were wearing dresses or tops not covering the shoulders. Some men were seen wearing shorts and yes, even flip-flops and although I’m very liberal I thought it was a bit much.

I chose my profession also because of certain informality of clothes that is allowed among IT professionals, tech people. Men usually wear jeans and black t-shirts, some with geeky phrases or even bits of code. I follow the suit and wear jeans myself with sometimes a nice top or a black t-shirt. Personally I feel very unhappy if I have to dress business-like.

I copied some of the responses here as it is an interesting topic:

One of the best pieces of HR advise I ever received was “dress for the job you want”. I would so much rather be overdressed than underdressed in any professional situation.

I am a Women’s boutique business owner and I get the question “What is BUSINESS CASUAL” asked at our store all the time ….. My suggestion is a dress with a cardigan or jacket for a topper or nice pants with a pretty blouse or jacket and cami then add the fun jewelry and the perfect shoe not tooo sexy …..No sandals or FLIP FLOPS…I agree that you should dress with how comfortable you feel and always be a little overdressed it sure doesn;t hurt …..I find business casual to be such a weird term for attire…It should be either BUSINESS or CASUAL how do you combine 2 totally different looks?????????

Business Casual… Keep a couple of things in mind. First, you only have one chance to make a good first impression. “Business attire” has traditionally meant a suit and tie, while “business casual” would mean a sport coat, with or without a tie. The second consideration is that you don’t dress for the position you currently hold, but you dress for the position that you aspire to have. You always feel better about yourself when you work to look your best, which means you project that image to others. They take notice!

If you’re being invited to the event, isn’t it likely you already should know the crowd well enough to know what to wear?

Remember what you wear says alot about who you are as a person.

Thanks for the great post. I teach in my employment prep class that Business Casual means that you dress for business, but you can exchange ONE (only one) piece to make the outfit more casual. In most cases that means wearing (nice) jeans with business-dress on the top. This explanation works for both the men and women. It’s the easiest way I can explain it, and it keeps them from showing up in flip flops.