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Biz casual: dead or alive

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Has business casual died? I am taking a poll to post to my customers concerning the question. The people of the forum are the most up-to-date, fashion conscience consumers I believe that can help in this question. We in Atlanta have not necessarily addressed this question correctly to the consumer. Input is definitely welcomed.
post #2 of 13
Are you asking whether it's still a common policy? Or whether people still choose to take advantage of it as much as they used to? It's still widespread in NYC, even up through senior management in some industries, though it seems that people dress it up quite a bit more than they used to.
post #3 of 13
To add to the previous comment, biz cas appears here to stay -- during the recession several law firms and investment banks went back to business formal; however, many didn't. I think during the forseeable future we'll continue to see a somewhat random split between biz cas and biz formal. Most employees seem to emphatically prefer casual. Even biz cas employees will typically dress in business formal for client meetings out of the office (unless said clients are very casual). I think that people have also become smarter about business casual. At least in nyc, I don't see basic khaki's with polos nearly as much as I used to. Now, the uniform is flat front slacks, french cuffed shirt (with links or silk knots).
post #4 of 13
No way business casual is dead. I agree with previous posters that men ARE getting smarter about it, and doing it with more flair. Wish I could fathom why the retail industry is fighting it so much. Most of the specialty store owners I know say that bc clothes have a much higher margin and rate of turnover. And as we've all proven, one can spend a lot on casual clthes as well.
post #5 of 13
Unfortuantely, I must agree that business casual remains alive and well here in NYC, though I have noticed an uptick in more formal business dress.   Ideally, I'd like to see a return to casual Fridays/ casual summers.
post #6 of 13
Business casual is LAME. It looks gross when guys shirts are blousing out of their flat-front khakis. And what's up with the french cuffs and no jacket? IMO french cuffs minus a jacket never works, no matter what.
post #7 of 13
While I agree about bloused shirts and khakis, I do not understand why a jacket is prerequisite to french cuffs. A fc shirt provides a nice way to subtely "dress up" a pair of slacks in a business casual environment. With business casual, the shirt has become the focal point of differentiation; whereas with business formal, the tie once was -- no one wears a plain white shirt with biz casual (one looks like a waiter), and I try to avoid being one of the million other people defaulting to french blue and button cuffs. Also, I find that because my work is business casual, I enjoy the days when I wear a suit more. If I were to wear a suit every day, I believe that I would tire quickly of it.
post #8 of 13
I work in a very casual office. Not business casual in the sense that people around me dress fashionably because of the industry i'm surrounded in (artists, fashion people). Even the president of the division wears jeans, boots and a sport coat regularly. Never suits. I like it, but people always look clean and dress to their individual style. No khaki and blue dress shoes at the office ever. Pretty good spot.
post #9 of 13
My understanding is that a large number of law firms in Toronto are now business casual. A large firm that I know of even allows lawyers to wear jeans on Fridays, as long as they are not going to court or meeting a client. Looks like I wasted all of my money on dress shirts and ties.
post #10 of 13
Ok, here's a question: I've spent most of my time (and money) building a more formal wardrobe, and neglecting (to the point of non-existence, nearly) the business casual side. My firm is moving toward business casual (we have casual Fridays now, and what was once before a fairly rigid code of dress is now even only lackadaisically enforced during the week) - can anyone suggest some sites on the web where I can get some ideas for stylish casual day clothing? My wife has nudged me in the direction of "striped untucked shirt and tightish jeans," but it's a played look and I get the sneaking suspicion she just wants me to parade around the house in it. I received a catalog not long ago that had some nice red paisley french cuffed shirts, but threw it out and couldn't remember the name of the company (for the record, I too think that french cuffs demand a jacket).
post #11 of 13
I'm afraid it is here to stay but the term has multiple interpretations. Back when I was in tech sales we generally went to visit clients in business casual by decree of our own management... and this while selling $5M implementations. It does vary by the sector of the company - when meeting the 'C' level I always wore a suit and ignored my slob of a boss who said that it was more important that I impress them with my technical knowledge and that clothing was not important - as if somehow wearing a tie reduced blood flow to the point where I could no longer comprehend technical matters. When meeting with the IT guys I still overdressed according to my boss but my definition of business casual was typically a light silk sweater (polo collar type, buttoned) with a nice sportcoat and dress trousers, good shoes. The business casual look of "hey, I traded in my fraternity tee shirts for techie logo golf shirts to wear with my khakis" just does not work all that well. It is a matter of your personal philosophy but having been on different sides of the equation I have never thought "he looks too nice". If I wore a suit to a meeting where it was clearly wayyyy too dressy I could easily lose the jacket and tie, roll up my sleeves and blend in. I may be weird (well, OK, I am but not necessarily due to this) but I am terribly uncomfortable being the most casually dressed guy in the room, would much prefer to be among the best dressed for numerous reasons. 9/10 times in sales meetings where I tended to be the most dressed when an exec popped in to ask questions they went right to me. I ain't pretty, i don't look particularly bright so why did they immediately look to me for answers? My guess is that, lo and behold, our first impression when we walk into the room is that the well dressed guy knows what's going on and must be the person in authority. Right? Irrelevant True? Damned relevant. In a field where my first few jobs were 100% dependant upon my knowledge of parallel algorithms and supercomputing I jumped up in pay and responsibility very quickly because I could be trusted to look and act appropriately in front of customers. Keep pushing toward better attire. it is an absolute myth to say that dressy can't be comfortable.
post #12 of 13
" it was more important that I impress them with my technical knowledge and that clothing was not important - as if somehow wearing a tie reduced blood flow to the point where I could no longer comprehend technical matters." When I received this feedback (when I was in pre-sales tech support) I often thought- and once said - "Wearing a suit doesn't make you a suit." Now when I wear a suit to the office, I'm often asked if I'm interviewing (which just goes to re-enforce the "correctness" of a suit - how many men would interview for a professional job - even if the firm was business casual - not wearing a suit?). I'm also asked if I'm "in sales" by people when I first meet them (I am not).
post #13 of 13
Yup, I hate to say it, but business casual is dead. Why do I hate to say it? Because it's been replaced with default khakis and golf shirts. At least here in Virginia. I've seen good examples of casual (never here, of course), and even like the "shell suit" idea. But more often than not, the standard business casual dress is a cryin' shame. I have colleagues who wear shorts and shower shoes to work during the dog days. Like the man sang: "nobody knows the trouble I've seen..."
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