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Business Casual is Hard

post #1 of 67
Thread Starter 
I work in a business casual environment.

Most of the time, I don't really care. I just dress business casual and my suits sit in my closet unworn.

However, there are times when it drives me nuts. I've got to give a presentation to the CEO next week, presenting/defending my department budget etc. It's a somewhat "formal" occasion, and I'd feel much more comfortable wearing a suit, tie, and well-polished dress shoes than some business casual outfit. I'm considering just wearing the suit and tie in spite of our business casual culture, but am going back and forth on this.


WWSFD? (What would Style Forum do?)
post #2 of 67
I happen to like it a lot. Let's you stand out quite a bit more. Business Casual for 99% of the population means terrible fitting pleated khakis, square toe / rubber soled junk shoes, and a tent-like cheap shirt. Snatch up some quality slim-fitting cotton twill or wool pants (can someone say Mabitex on the cheap?!), some quality slim-fit shirts that actually fit (I prefer button-down collars for a no-tie business casual environment), and step your shoe game up BIG TIME. I also like non-boring socks with some unexpected colors/patterns for that extra bit. Lastly, you'd be surprised what a nice briefcase can do for you (again, compared to the 99% of the population that have cheap canvas Dell computer bags slugged over their shoulder or backpacks). Dont forget now that the winter is coming you can start wearing some sweaters or heavy knit cardigans and such Oh, and to answer your question... I think deep down you know if you can pull off a suit where you work. Personally? If I walked in wearing a tie, people would ask me why I'm wearing it. Sometimes it's just not reasonable for your work environment
post #3 of 67
WWSFD? SF would wear a suit and tie, be horribly out of place but smug about being "correct" and then complain about everyone at work snikkering behind their backs until asking SF's opinion on getting a new job that allows you to wear a suit. what would I recomend? wear a suit, sans tie, or just do business casual as usual but wear something nice, add a sportscoat so you're 1+ and leave it at that (what I generall do for most meetings)
post #4 of 67
You can't go wrong with a sport coat. My office isn't very tie suited, now and then when clients visit our executive staff may wy wear a suit, but normally just a coat. I think coats go a long way, and you can feel more relaxed in them, rather than a full suit/tie.
post #5 of 67
I would normally sauy go for it,I would never tell a man who has a desire to wear a suit not to do so. My only hold up would be that if your the only one wearing a suit I would not do it. It is never a good idea to dress better then your bosses or anyone higher up then you so if theywill not be wearng suits to this meeting then it go go badly for you if you do.
post #6 of 67
Given the situation, I would wear the suit as it displays the respect the situation, and your fellow employees (both those who you manage, and of course the superiors at the preso) deserve. But that's just me. However, if you must go business casual, then everything must be well fitted, and in proportion to make it work. The common thread of all three in these pictures, is a suit jacket, or blazer. Please see pictures attached. If you don't have enough in your wardrobe to pull off such a look, then stick with the suit, as you cannot fail. Good luck with the presentation.
LL
LL
post #7 of 67
probably done to death... but where to find slim fit business casual shirts for relatively decent price? (ie. under $100). All of mine kinda poof out when I sit down.
post #8 of 67
Kai, good to see you posting.
post #9 of 67
My biz casual fridays consist of zanellas and a polo shirt. I get sick of suits and dressing up everyday, love wearing a damn polo shirt. At my bank you are not allowed to wear khakis for biz casual days.
post #10 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by cioni2k View Post
I happen to like it a lot. Let's you stand out quite a bit more. Business Casual for 99% of the population means terrible fitting pleated khakis, square toe / rubber soled junk shoes, and a tent-like cheap shirt.

Snatch up some quality slim-fitting cotton twill or wool pants (can someone say Mabitex on the cheap?!), some quality slim-fit shirts that actually fit (I prefer button-down collars for a no-tie business casual environment), and step your shoe game up BIG TIME. I also like non-boring socks with some unexpected colors/patterns for that extra bit. Lastly, you'd be surprised what a nice briefcase can do for you (again, compared to the 99% of the population that have cheap canvas Dell computer bags slugged over their shoulder or backpacks).

Dont forget now that the winter is coming you can start wearing some sweaters or heavy knit cardigans and such

Oh, and to answer your question... I think deep down you know if you can pull off a suit where you work. Personally? If I walked in wearing a tie, people would ask me why I'm wearing it. Sometimes it's just not reasonable for your work environment

This

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrsmiles View Post
You can't go wrong with a sport coat. My office isn't very tie suited, now and then when clients visit our executive staff may wy wear a suit, but normally just a coat.

I think coats go a long way, and you can feel more relaxed in them, rather than a full suit/tie.

Plus if it's reasonable for your work environment - this too.
post #11 of 67
Took me years to figure it out in my business casual job, but:

Fall/winter means corduroy. Get them in many colors.

I second the point about shoes. You can go apeshit with shoes.

Same goes for socks.

And I also second the points about button-down collars, sweaters and fit.

Get a nice bag.

Get a nice trench or something similar. Actually, get a few colors if you can swing it. (Lord knows I can't).

Seconding the interesting socks point.


Today I just happened to get the most compliments from female coworkers in a LONG time. Here's what I wore: Charcoal merino J Crew sweater, blue gingham J Crew button-down, burgundy J Crew corduroys, pea soup-n-puke colored socks, Allen Edmonds Byrons in "chili." Somehow this is a look to aim for.
post #12 of 67
I think a presentation to the CEO is a reasonable excuse to wear a suit, but then it really depends on the atmosphere of your workplace in particular...
post #13 of 67
It may be an opportunity to step up your game. This day is signifigant in that you are giving a presentation to your CEO. It can't hurt to give a little extra. If that means wearing a suit, then do so. Your respecting the company's money. Will there also be company investors at this meeting? or outside clientele the CEO needs to impress? There may also be the CEO's perception of you involved, in which case a suit may do better. From day to day you are Billy ('he dresses nice-does his job'). On presentation day be William ('damn, I never knew he was this good-I could use him in a higher position'.) I doubt the CEO will brow beat you for respecting the occasion at your best. Were it me I would wear a tie, a conservative one, with the suit and nicely polished black shoes. Just don't out-dress the CEO. Edit- Adding some afterthoughts... If over-dressed that CEO may think he's over-budgeted your department and make cuts, you, possibly among them? Perhaps a sport jacket is better or as Master-Classter suggested, a suit with no tie. You know the CEO better than we do so go with your gut feeling on his personality, or even ask him if he has any preference to your clothes for that day? Last Edit- Wait..it gets even more confusing... If you ask him what to wear maybe he'll wonder what else of your job you don't know what to do..could be bad. Back to first instincts...I'd go with the suit and tie.
post #14 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by yjeezle View Post
probably done to death... but where to find slim fit business casual shirts for relatively decent price? (ie. under $100).

All of mine kinda poof out when I sit down.

There's a whole thread on this on the first page of the forum...
post #15 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sanguis Mortuum View Post
I think a presentation to the CEO is a reasonable excuse to wear a suit, but then it really depends on the atmosphere of your workplace in particular...

Sir, I respectfully disagree. A suit and tie is standard for presentation to the CEO.
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