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The Worst Look

post #1 of 389
Thread Starter 
We are now several decades into the "business casual" era and it's still a disaster. I used to say that nobody knew what it meant, hence it led to all kinds of miscues and embarassments. The second half is still true but the first, no longer. "Business casual" now has a hardened meaning, and it sucks.

All over Manhattan, and in any expensive downtown office center in the blue cities, this is what you see. Well-heeled men off to high-paying jobs wearing:

-Suit pants, mostly blue or gray, often striped.
-No jacket
-A spread or point collared shirt in white or blue or blue stripe; i.e., a business configuraiton, color and pattern; often french cuff
-No tie
-Black shoes, duck-billed as often as not.

So this is how men have interpreted "business casual": start with the same suit, shirt, tie & shoes outfit you would have worn in the business formal era, leave the tie and the jacket in the closet, head for the office.

Whatever you do, don't do this.
post #2 of 389
that and guys wearing suits without ties.
post #3 of 389

I agree.  I see a lot of pinstriped suit pants with a solid white shirt and black shoes. Can't stand that look.


My interpretation has been a bit different. I've typically started with a shirt, pant, shoe combo that would work with one of my sport coats or blazers and a tie. The sport coat and tie are hung on the inside of my office door during the day in case a meeting pops up where I feel they would be appropriate.


Today its light grey pants, burgundy cap toe shoes, striped shirt with greys and navy. Jacket is navy with a burgundy, navy and cream paisley tie.

post #4 of 389
I think the biggest problem is that we are allowed to have interpretations of "business casual" I have been invited to events that were business casual where the host expected dress pants/dress shirts no tie, and to a wedding actually this weekend that said "business casual" on the invite, but when i asked the bride she said "no all the guys are wearing suits" lucky i asked or i would have looked like a clown. And another is "Black tie" which has come to mean any color suit worn with a black colored tie.
post #5 of 389
It's a terrible chain reaction...

Overly warm offices -> Ditch the jacket; No jacket -> Ditch the tie; No Tie -> Collar gets sloppy; BD collar -> Too casual for dress trousers; No dress trousers -> Khakis ... etc.

Unfortunately horrible shoes are prevalent throughout every stage of this, usually black rubber-soled loafer, scuffed and dull from never being cleaned or polished.
post #6 of 389
If we run out of complaints about corporate offices, we can always turn our ire on plaids in academia.

I spare you the pictures.
post #7 of 389
Down here in the South "business casual" is interpreted as an invite to wear a Dri-Fit polo from some obscure country club tucked into deep double pleated khakis with a steel tipped belt and some flavor of Rockport-inspired footwear. Not to mention that all of these ensembles are, more often than not, accompanied by some flavor of sport/fishing sunglasses and croakies.

At least up North they have some hint of "office" to their attire. Down here everyone looks like they are popping into the office in between rounds.
post #8 of 389
Consider yourselves lucky. What passes for business casual around here:

- any shirt with a collar, including faded polo shirts where the collar has folded up under itself.
- any denim shirt or dark colour shirt including black
- today I saw a neon aqua blue shirt
- jeans from 1987
- worn frayed khakis
- white socks
- black square toe running shoes (kenneth coles are dressing it up a bit)
- anything that has a corporate logo, including polyester golf shirts or even a rain vest.

Now to be fair, some of these are in the minority but I do see them in the business environment where they should be sent home. Also, taste gets considerably better the closer you get to the business center of the city. Offices located in the outskirts of the city, pretty much anything goes.
post #9 of 389
Just saw BBs post.

post #10 of 389
My office has far too many (read: greater than zero) Dockers khackis paired with black shoes for my liking. The men for the most part also do not know how to buy a dress shirt that fits them well. Far too much excess fabric at the waist and armpits.

Today my Senior VP is wearing dark grey suit pants with a red and white contrast collar french cuff shirt.

I have no idea what the hell is going on around here is what I'm trying to say.
post #11 of 389

What looks good and what doesn't is generally subjective if the rules of colour, cut and texture are followed. However, there used be man in our office who always wore a suit but looked scruffy. Some people just can't carry clothes well.

post #12 of 389
did you actually expect dudes to go shopping for clothes for the transition from business to biz casual?

come on, thats asking a lot.
post #13 of 389
Great thread. Here, office attire has become very casual. Many that don't interact with customers/clients wear jeans. Those in finance do wear proper business attire, though I see the short sleeve button down with a suit in the summer (terrible).

Though it's become casual, I have noticed a number of people still choose to dress better to work. For many, I believe, it's for their pride/hobby. Spanish offices are, on the whole, more business-like than here. My Spanish colleagues generally don't dress down to work.
post #14 of 389
In my neck of the woods, any type of jacket instantly qualifies as "Formal", and only one other employee, also in management, ever wears one, and then only very occasionally.

For work, it's black pants all around, including with brown shoes. plain.gif

Anything other than a t-shirt qualifies as "business-apporpriate": polos with visibly fraying collars, dress shirts that never really fit, and those horrendous stripey shirts that were popular bar-wear in the 90s.

I have the freedom to dress as I will, and most definitely stick out wearing a suit or odd jacket. Everyone's used to it by now, though, so I soldier on.
post #15 of 389
Just be glad you're not regularly subjected to NJ. I wore a pair of chinos, blue Oxford and a sportcoat, someone stopped me to ask me why I was 'so dressed up'. They not only look like hell, they feel it's their duty to drag everyone down with them.
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