"Dress code: business casual."

That's what you read with a big smile on your face in your company's rule book. 

So long and goodnight suits and boring clothes. You are happy. You feel free. Liberated even.

This is what you call a good start. New job, new life, new wardrobe.

You are excited for a good 30 minutes until it downs on you: you have no idea what business casual actually means.

This is the kind of question you can't run with to your best friend's group chat because everyone has a different opinion on what business casual means.

This is in part a problem that begins within the company. If instead of insisting on the big no nos such as jeans, flip flops and hot pants, they put the same effort into leading workers in the right direction outfit wise, people would have it easier.

You see, we all think that having freedom of choice clothing wise is a blessing. And it is, most of the time. But when you have half an hour to have breakfast and get ready in the morning and you have zero clue what you should be wearing, well... Let's say mornings can get stressful.

I've spoken about uniforms before and my opinion on them. While "strictly business" attire can seem boring and alienating, it does have the con of making your life easier. No chance of making a fashion mistake or finding yourself in an embarrassing situation when your boss kindly remarks that your choice of clothes is picturesque.

We all know what "business like" means. It's easy to visualize combinations of sharp suits and waistcoats, skirt and blazer co-ords and shiny shoes and high heels.

I think most of us also know what casual means. It's often synonymous of relax. Clothes you can wear for a night out or an afternoon with your friends and family. The problem is that for many, casual only means active wear and rough fabrics, such as denim.

It's wise to establish that business casual is closer to business than to casual. But you shouldn't fret, this kind of policy gives you an opportunity to show your personality a little in your day to day life at work. Think a nice dress (not too short or too much cleavage), a cool pair of trousers with heels or a trendy jacket if you are a woman. And well cut trousers, a good quality sweater or a different shirt if you are a man. Stay away from clothes you would wear to a club or to the swimming pool and you are probably a step in the right direction

 

Paola

 

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