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The gift guide state that the term business casual is used to describe the movement toward dress standards that emphasize greater comfort and individuality. Business casual is clothing that allows you to feel comfortable at work but looks neat and professional. It usually means slacks, khaki pants, collared long-sleeved shirts and blouses, and shoes with socks or hosiery. It usually does not include tattered, frayed, or wrinkled jeans; Tshirts with logos; sneakers or sandals; tank tops; sweat pants; ultrashort skirts; or garish print sport tshirts. Some companies are relaxing dress codes and allowing workers to dress casually. Although no precise definition of business casual exists, the following casual-dress guidelines are typical.
1. Wear dressier business clothing when meeting with customers or clients. You should avoid creating inconsistencies between your message and your appearance.
2. Respect the boundary between work and leisure clothing. Victoria’s Secret once sold body-hugging spandex tube tops as “workplace wear.” Anne Fisher of Fortune magazine’s “Ask Annie” career advice column says, “As a rule, people should avoid wearing anything that shows so much skin that it distracts other people from their work.” Body piercings, tattoos, three-day stubble, no socks, micro-mini skirts, or flip-flops can also be distracting.
3. Wear clothing that is clean and neat and that fits well. Casual dress codes tend to emphasize the importance of this guideline.
4. Business casual attire is closely watched in a work setting. Managers often assume they are seeing the real person. Christina Binkley, writing in the Wall Street Journal, says “Business casual—all business, never casual.”
Do not let “dress-down” influences rob you of common sense. You don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression, so select your casual clothing with care. If you must ask yourself, “Is this clothing acceptable?” you probably shouldn’t wear it to work.