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In Praise of Business Casual

Herders_Gulch

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I, too, like the look of a sport coat with fatigue pants, but I am not sure I’d wear that to the office.
I guess it depends on the office. That got me thinking about the factors that limit the range of contemporary business casual clothes. A few ideas:
  • Social pressures (company policy, fear of judgment from more senior leaders or peers, desire to conform)
  • Lack of imagination or interest (e.g. those lawyers with their ice cream)
  • The work environment itself (customer facing or not, desk work or some physical work, etc)
  • What you need to project (Creative? In charge? Invisible?)
Personally, I am not really constrained by policy. I’m more focused on what I need to project. The fatigue/sport coat look may work well if I’m meeting with one of the innovation oriented groups I support. A more traditional CM look would fit meeting with legal.
 

Enfusia

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My definition of business casual (BC) is simple: shirt with a collar, slacks of some sort, leather shoes that are not sneakers.
I'd like to expand that to include either a jacket or sweater depending on the conditions to round out what I would view as an 'acceptable' level of dress for BC.

Ok, so that's my wish, not the reality of the BC world per say.

One of my arguments against BC is that I firmly believe that; you don't have to get ready if you stay ready.

I always wore whole cut shoes every day with my full suit. Why? Because on several occasions when I was called in to meet with VIP's or called into 'the big meeting' I was already ready to be at that upper level, be accepted and not looked down upon as we all know actually does happen.
I didn't have to go get ready, I was ready.

When you dress in sloppy BC, and I wear a sharp suit every day, who do you think is going to get called up sooner, supposing neither of us are meatheads who suck at our jobs.

Who do you think is going to get called to entertain a VIP from out of town or to a dinner where you represent the company.

I don't think we need to summon the courage to wear great clothing, I don't see as how we can afford not to.

Plus, when it's who you are, it's just who you are.
 

Herders_Gulch

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Interesting topic! I am the only one who has entered the world of business casual from «below»? While business casual is usually seen as dressing down, I guess many of us have arrived at these consideration literally in our t-shirt and jeans, adding sport coats, nicer shirts, a variety of trousers as our work seemed to require some sort of standard, in the process dressing up. Only rarely, at least for a long time, did the suit become an option. And now that is taken from us again…
Not at all. I worked my way through law school. I adopted a (now regrettable) look practically straight from Office Space:

C754543D-25A0-4DD4-9355-7EE66701D1CB.jpeg
 

JFWR

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Interesting topic! I am the only one who has entered the world of business casual from «below»? While business casual is usually seen as dressing down, I guess many of us have arrived at these consideration literally in our t-shirt and jeans, adding sport coats, nicer shirts, a variety of trousers as our work seemed to require some sort of standard, in the process dressing up. Only rarely, at least for a long time, did the suit become an option. And now that is taken from us again…
Given how kids dress nowadays, it would make sense that we'd have a lot more younger people think of BC as a step up on the dress scale. As I said: I have students in pajamas in my class.
 

mak1277

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I guess it depends on the office. That got me thinking about the factors that limit the range of contemporary business casual clothes. A few ideas:
  • Social pressures (company policy, fear of judgment from more senior leaders or peers, desire to conform)
  • Lack of imagination or interest (e.g. those lawyers with their ice cream)
  • The work environment itself (customer facing or not, desk work or some physical work, etc)
  • What you need to project (Creative? In charge? Invisible?)
Personally, I am not really constrained by policy. I’m more focused on what I need to project. The fatigue/sport coat look may work well if I’m meeting with one of the innovation oriented groups I support. A more traditional CM look would fit meeting with legal.
For me it’s more that I feel like (for whatever reason) normal green fatigue pants are not office appropriate. I can’t really say why I think chinos and cords are OK, but fatigues are not, but that’s where I am. I would happily wear fatigues with a sport coat when I go out though.

for what it’s worth, I would never wear jeans to the office under any circumstance.
 
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Stylish Dinosaur
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...for what it’s worth, I would never wear jeans to the office under any circumstance.
In all my years of practice as an architect, I never wore jeans to the office. And, it was MY office for the last 30 years prior to retirement.

Come to think of it, I don't ever really anyone wearing jeans to our office.
 

db123456

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I've always liked this outfit of Simon's as a nice example for business-casual settings where a sport coat would feel out of place. I like the color combinations, and I think the tailored linen trousers smarten up the outfit while providing some interesting texture.

I feel like this kind of thing is a good bit easier in the cooler months, when there are more options for sweaters and seasonal trousers (flannels, cavalry twill, brushed cottons, etc.). It's toughest when it gets really hot in the summer, since the sweater can get to be unsustainable (or at least may look like an affectation).


1635107086559.png
 

Herders_Gulch

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For me it’s more that I feel like (for whatever reason) normal green fatigue pants are not office appropriate. I can’t really say why I think chinos and cords are OK, but fatigues are not, but that’s where I am. I would happily wear fatigues with a sport coat when I go out though.
There was a millennial attorney wore camo pants in the office sometimes. It worked for the person and the internal client they supported. For myself, well, I went with the Proper Cloth pants above.

I do wear jeans on occasion, but to be effective in my role, I have to be relatable. Overdressing comes across as pretentious for a lot of people in my company.
 

mak1277

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There was a millennial attorney wore camo pants in the office sometimes. It worked for the person and the internal client they supported. For myself, well, I went with the Proper Cloth pants above.

I do wear jeans on occasion, but to be effective in my role, I have to be relatable. Overdressing comes across as pretentious for a lot of people in my company.
I’m far enough along in my career that I can wear whatever I choose (within reason). I’m also retiring early next year so that helps me not care what people at work think of my attire. I definitely over dress compared to everyone else in my office (including our CEO).
 

Herders_Gulch

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I’m far enough along in my career that I can wear whatever I choose (within reason). I’m also retiring early next year so that helps me not care what people at work think of my attire. I definitely over dress compared to everyone else in my office (including our CEO).
Congratulations to you on your pending retirement! I am probably about 10 years out from being able to completely overdress.
 

corpseposeur

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Obligatory posting of.......


Spoiler alert.

It is worth noting that this character has a heart condition and dies later in the episode.

It's likely because he was uptight that people were dressing casually at the office as the norm.

A valuable lesson in not worrying about dress that much.

The point made isn't an unreasonable one but a bit archaic in the early 2000s, and even more so now. I'd also argue that people dress more casually but better than back then.
 

FlyingHorker

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Gary Drinkwater has posted fits like that. I like it, although I think it leans more into SWD and you might need the right sport coat, personality, environment, etc.

View attachment 1691307
This reminds me of the Beams aesthetic and I find it really appealing. Are there any articles or guides around, or have you written anything on the look?
 

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