Professional Attire Guidelines
The objective of a business casual style of dress is to look neat and well-groomed but relaxed--comfortable yet classy. Business casual clothing choices are not the same as casual clothes you might wear on a Saturday afternoon at home to watch a ball game with friends, or clothes you would wear to a night club. It is not an "anything goes" approach to dress and grooming..
Pants And Shirts
For men, part of the appeal of business casual dress is that you don't have to wear a tie, suit or sport coat. Pants can be worn by men or women and should always be neatly pressed. Dark colors or khakis are acceptable. Long-sleeved shirts in solid colors or with muted stripes are preferable, though in hotter climates golf shirts or polo-type shirts may be worn. Jeans, shorts or sweatpants are all considered too casual even for a business casual environment.
Skirts And Blouses
Women should choose skirts, pants, blouses and sweaters that are not too tight. Strive for a crisp, neatly pressed look. Save wearing shorts, halter tops, showing off your midriff, and wearing extremely short skirts for the weekend.
Men should wear leather shoes, walking shoes, deck shoes or loafers. Athletic footwear is not generally acceptable, nor are sandals. For women, sandals that are not too casual looking can be worn. Flip flops or athletic shoes are not considered appropriate.
Make sure your hair, including facial hair for men, is clean and neat looking. Men and women should style their hair just as they do for more formal business settings. Cologne or perfume should not be overpowering.
Jewelry And Accessories
A conservative approach to jewelry for men and women is best. Men may want to avoid wearing earrings and wear a conservative watch. Women should choose accessories that are stylish but not too bold. Purses should be structured rather floppy. A tote or beach bag is not appropriate.
Banks and financial service companies, as well as legal and accounting firms, have been slower to adopt business casual attire. They may have specific casual days, such as "casual Fridays" when the dress code is relaxed. High technology and entrepreneurial environments have tended to adopt more casual styles of dress, as have the creative or artistic industries. Choose your wardrobe to fit the acceptable standards of your industry. It's best to err on the side of looking conservative.
Clothing to Avoid
Clothes with graphics or words are not acceptable, particularly any designs, images or lettering that could be possibly offensive. Clothes that have logos of fashion labels are normally allowed. Some companies encourage employees to wear shirts with the company logo on them as a means of building team spirit.
CAO Employment & Training Division, 716-881-5150