Fridays at the office are considered business casual day. What does that exactly mean? Business is business and casual is casual so how do you combined the two styles? Friday is a dress down day so you know that business casual does not mean a suit but it does mean that you have look nice and neat but can be a little bit casual at the same time.
Let’s examine what Business Casual isn’t. Save the following items for your weekend or at-home wardrobe: zip-front hooded sweatshirts, team jackets, jean jackets, T-shirts with slogans, midriff-baring tops, tank tops, well-worn jeans, spandex pants, stirrup pants, overalls, biking shorts, sweat pants, mini skirts, see-through tops, halter tops, flip-flops, sneakers and sandals. Never forget that the first word in business casual is “business” and casual does not mean a day at the beach.
Business casual must always include high-quality pieces, hose or socks, appropriate underwear, footwear in good repair, coordinated accessories, clean, styled hair and makeup for women. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the type of footwear is considered business casual to finish off your outfit.
Slingbacks, women’s shoes with a cutout heel and a strap spanning the back of the ankle, defy simple categorization as they once did. Years ago, slingbacks were appropriate only during the summer months, and they were considered a casual shoe. Certainly, no self-respecting woman south of the Mason-Dixon Line would be caught dead in a slingback before Memorial Day or after Labor Day. Now, with a growing selection of women’s slingbacks, you can find a pair for every season and every occasion-from stay-at-home clothes to wedding attire. What determines the slingback’s suitability is the design of the shoe, the material, the embellishments, and whether it contributes to the overall desired look with the outfit?
You need to look at the entire spectrum of occasions, and offer suggestions for pairing slingbacks with outfits for each occasion. If you feel the shoes complement your outfit and you feel comfortable wearing them, let your personal sense of style guide you. People judge others by first impressions, and watches, handbags and shoes play an important role in first impressions. Cut corners elsewhere, but never with your shoes. Regardless of the style you wear, ensure that your shoe are in A-1 condition, with perfect sol. Casual shoes should be kept in the same tip-top, shined-up and scuff-free shape as their dressier counterparts. Do not wear 4 inch heels with a pair of dress pants and sweater. Those types of shoes look better with a dress suit or pant suit.
For men business casual shoes should definitely not include tennis shoes. There is nothing tackier than a man in dress pants with a pair of tennis shoes on. Styles range from penny loafers to lace-ups, leaving lots for comfort and budget preferences. Make sure that the heels and the fabric is clean, the leather polished, or the suede brushed. Wearing these types of shoes to finish off your business casual look will make you GQ all the way.
The old saying, “People take on the character of the costume,” isn’t a myth. It’s because of this truth there should be more business than casual in a company’s “business casual.” If the male and female definitions seem too rigid, then complain to the person where the buck stops. Company owners tend to complain about the business casual attitudes that accompany casual day because they’ve watched them evolve over time. That is why it’s important to sustain the level of business consciousness dictated by the respective company.
On the other hand, companies that demand a high stress, quick-paced level of productivity from their staff regularly may find benefits of invoking a more casual attitude once a week. Perhaps in such a case, it would allow employees to begin their weekend feeling more relaxed and come back on Monday feeling more mentally prepared for the new work week.
Whether you are in business causal or not you need to always remember that you are still doing business no matter what kind of clothes you have on. You need not be ashamed if you run into your CEO or a client visiting the office. Be comfortable but keep in the back of your mind you are still at work. Your business casual shoes can be loafers or tie up shoes, heels or flats as long as they are clean and look nice and neat. Be comfortable yet still professional. That is business casual.