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In Praise of Business Casual

Sir Jack II

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Great timing. Check out these photos re: middle age lawyers in BC. (I'm a middle age lawyer. We allow BC only on Fridays.)
That first photo highlights another redeeming aspect of BC: It’s so much easier to enjoy an ice-cream cone in business casual than in classic menswear.
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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I think if I was working in an office where everyone wore suits or sport coats Monday through Thursday, and Friday was designated as "business casual," I would just keep the jacket on Friday. Personally not into the look in that NYT article.

If I was working in an office where the dress norms were somewhat conservative and/ or if I had conservative tastes (say CM taste), but I felt awkward in a tailored jacket, I would wear Margaret Howell and/ or De Bonne Facture. And I just wouldn't do the whole chinos with a gingham shirt thing.

Third option: if I simply worked in a business casual environment where people aren't actually strict about the dress code, I would then wear whatever I want (which I think fits most people's situation).
 
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corpseposeur

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I've walked around Manhattan a few times in the past week and the prevailing look for the "well-dressed" man seems to be a standard issue worsted navy suit, a white shirt with a spread collar, and those sneaker/shoe hybrid things. The people I see in suits with a tie are either entry-level younger men, or very high level executives but even the latter, likely sensing the writing is on the wall are opting for polo shirts a blazer and khakis, even in the financial industry.

I think a full suit except in the most formal of settings ex. a wedding or something, often looks out of place today especially in the (soon to be) post-pandemic landscape. Friends of mine who are corporate lawyers are also pretty dressed down.

While I expect to work remotely for the foreseeable future, if I were to go into an office, I would likely wear some darker MTM cotton or flannel pants, shoes or boots in dark brown, an oxford shirt with a sweater or a bespoke or MTM jacket. I think done right, this look can be done so that someone can look well tailored and classic but not costume-y. I know that there's a contingent here that seeks to bring the three-piece suit "back". I wish them luck. I think that those days are long over and gone the way of the stroller suit or pantaloons.

As creative professional I would look completely ridiculous showing up to a meeting in a worsted pinstriped suit and tie. I also don't buy this idea that a black t-shirt and motorcycle boots implies contemporary or forward thinking thought.
 
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Jmr928

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I can see it now. This is just business casual but they need to change their pants to chinos or cords, their shirts to OCBDs and the jackets to sweaters. But if I do that then yes. Pretty much just business casual. Also squinting my eyes at my screen helps as well.
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jack webb

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I am becoming less and less fond of chinos. They are neither fish nor fowl: not a casual pant like jeans, but neither as dressy as tailored trousers. They are ubiquitous in many workplaces, though, and I cannot put a pair on without feeling as if I ought to be in an office.
 
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There's the aesthetic issue, but also the professional. I want to see my doctor in a white coat, and the nurses in scrubs. Those lawyers in the pictures are not meeting with clients, and when they do, I bet they dress like their clients. If you are a young lawyer, say 30, trying to convince a 60-70 year old to trust your with his financial affairs, it helps to dress a little older, and more formal, that your colleagues in less conservative professions. So we require coat and tie, and our millennials hate it.
 

Herders_Gulch

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It can be done well, or it can be done poorly. But perhaps it’s not the genre itself that’s flawed. Within CM and within SWD, there are all sorts of ways to look good. Maybe the same applies to our friend in the middle path, BC.

I am new to SF, and joined to respond to this thread. This is a real and practical problem for many of us. I work for a large U.S. company that adopted a “dress your day” policy pre-Covid. The policy even contemplates situations where shorts may be appropriate! I came to SF looking for ideas on how to incorporate CM inspired looks without being ridiculously overdressed for the circumstances.

I’m here for helpful ideas on how to execute BC well.

There's the aesthetic issue, but also the professional.
I agree with the professional image problem, but note it cuts both ways. In my business, overdressing may read as condescending. Although some may say dressing down is conforming, I find that matching the energy of those around me helps me be more persuasive.
 

corpseposeur

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I am becoming less and less fond of chinos. They are neither fish nor fowl: not a casual pant like jeans, but neither as dressy as tailored trousers. They are ubiquitous in many workplaces, though, and I cannot put a pair on without feeling as if I ought to be in an office.
I have not seen a single person in my entire life who has looked better in chinos than either jeans or tailored pants. It is a garment that is the ultimate half-meaure in every way.
 
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I am new to SF, and joined to respond to this thread. This is a real and practical problem for many of us. I work for a large U.S. company that adopted a “dress your day” policy pre-Covid. The policy even contemplates situations where shorts may be appropriate! I came to SF looking for ideas on how to incorporate CM inspired looks without being ridiculously overdressed for the circumstances.

I’m here for helpful ideas on how to execute BC well.



I agree with the professional image problem, but note it cuts both ways. In my business, overdressing may read as condescending. Although some may say dressing down is conforming, I find that matching the energy of those around me helps me be more persuasive.
I agree with that. Gotta play to the audience. No way my outfit works in the creative professions or Silicon Valley.
 

Herders_Gulch

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what is your profession? What was the dress code pre Covid?
I’m an attorney. Pre-Covid I worked in the corporate legal function. Based on the role, I preferred to be on the more formal end of the spectrum, often in a sports coat and trousers. I work in the LA area, and would frequently wear a sport coat with jeans (but not oxfords!). I have since changed roles to lead a compliance function.

The dress code changed to dress your day a few years before Covid. Realistically, that meant most people wore jeans most days of the week.
 

Phileas Fogg

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I’m an attorney. Pre-Covid I worked in the corporate legal function. Based on the role, I preferred to be on the more formal end of the spectrum, often in a sports coat and trousers. I work in the LA area, and would frequently wear a sport coat with jeans (but not oxfords!). I have since changed roles to lead a compliance function.

The dress code changed to dress your day a few years before Covid. Realistically, that meant most people wore jeans most days of the week.
honestly, I wouldn’t overthink it. I think what you wore before would be fine. If you want to dress it up a bit switch the jeans for the occasional dark wool slacks or if it’s cooler, which I know is rare in LA, wear cords or flannel.
 
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I’m an attorney. Pre-Covid I worked in the corporate legal function. Based on the role, I preferred to be on the more formal end of the spectrum, often in a sports coat and trousers. I work in the LA area, and would frequently wear a sport coat with jeans (but not oxfords!). I have since changed roles to lead a compliance function.

The dress code changed to dress your day a few years before Covid. Realistically, that meant most people wore jeans most days of the week.
If you are in house (are you?), what do the most senior lawyers in your office wear?
 

Herders_Gulch

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honestly, I wouldn’t overthink it. I think what you wore before would be fine. If you want to dress it up a bit switch the jeans for the occasional dark wool slacks or if it’s cooler, which I know is rare in LA, wear cords or flannel.
Good advice but nothing fits! I dropped 20 pounds since working remotely. Also, with more time to surf the internet, I suddenly find myself interested in clothes.

The items I’m adding back are more climate appropriate: hopsack, fresco, linen. I would like to wear more knitwear with sports coats, but it has to be super light to work here.
 

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