Originally Posted by Kai
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?)
It depends on your industry, what your department does and the attitude of your CEO. Rule one: Screw your coworkers. The only thing that matter is your CEO's reaction. If you rock a suit at the meeting and the CEO decides you are a commanding presence and a candidate for the C-suite, you can bet that your coworkers will make snotty comments. Jealousy does that. Second, why is your company business casual? Is it because your CEO really believes in this stuff or is it a concession to the general slobbishness of modern culture? Is your industry something that leans heavily that way anyway? What department are you in? This is a tricky one. If you are running an engineering/software department, I would definitely go with a suit, assuming as an SF member you can do it properly. In this context you would be saying, "Most engineers/programmers are slobs. But I'm not. I can work with my peeps, switch up and fit right in with the big boys. You should make me Chief of something." The real danger is being the only person in a suit. If you are bringing someone else from your department, you can both dress up. If the CEO is coming down to your department, then get EVERYONE to dress up that day. (If formal companies can have a business casual day, then casual companies can have a business formal day.) This will deeply impress your CEO that your department is a team that works together. He will also be moved whether he admits it or not. Respect is always appreciated.