Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Dress Code: "Business Casual"

"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society."
Mark Twain (Love this quote! But joking aside..)

Most people have a situation in their life, whether it is to dress for an office party or a night out on the town or tickets to a musical, where a business-casual attire is required. That's when confusion sets in: How do you keep a sharp business look casual?
Here are some general guidelines to follow for the Business Casual Dress , for both men and women.
By standard, Business Casual, refers to a style that has to be crisp, neat, and should look appropriate. It should not look like cocktail or picnic attire and it is a classic look rather than trendy, so avoid too tight or too baggy clothing, nothing too revealing or provocative.

Men Business casual attireFor men: Casual doesn't mean sloppy! Business casual dress must be polished and professional. Neatly pressed Khaki pants, and long-sleeved, buttoned up shirts are safe. Long-sleeved shirts are considered dressier than short-sleeved and are appropriate even in summer. Choosing a solid color, or conservative stripes is the safest bet. When choosing colors, you can go for contrast (complimentary), like a blue shirt with khaki pant, or tonal (different hues in the same color family) like a light green shirt with olive pants. Ties are not necessary for a business casual dress look, but when in doubt, wear one; it never hurts to over-dress. By dressing nicely, you always pay a compliment to your host, and if no one else is wearing a tie, you can discretely remove it. Good quality Polo or golf shirts, are also an appropriate choice (tucked in of course) and layered with a t-shirt(keeps the look modern), but only if the environment will be casual, outdoors or in a hot location. Avoid wearing any gym clothes, jeans, shorts or parachute pants. Rather than a suit and tie, go for a sports jacket instead. This adds some class to any work outfit with a touch of sportiness. You can wear a button-down or knit shirt under a sports jacket. And, as is the case with suits, choose one of this season's fashionable colors to add some spice to your look. Sports jackets now have higher, narrower lapels, 3-4 buttons, and are single breasted. Opt for wool Men's business casual sports jackets. Whether it is tweed, bouclé, cashmere, nylon, or even wool with checks or stripes. Wear a leather belt and leather shoes; no sandals, hiking boots or athletic shoes, they are extremely inappropriate. Wear dark socks, mid-calf length so no skin is visible when you sit down. Facial hair is (at times) distractive, if worn, it should be well-groomed. Wear a conservative watch and if you choose to wear other jewelry, keep it conservative: Remove earrings and any body piercing. Remember, you don't want to stand out for your "cutting edge" look, but rather for looking polished and professional.

Business casual womanFor Women: Just like men's attire, women's business casual dress-outfits should be kept conservative.

"Dress smart and feminine. There are certain things that don't look right in an office - miniskirts, decolletage, nakedness." (Carolina Herrera)

Women have more choices in wardrobe, as they can wear casual trousers or skirts (neither should be too tight). Remember to keep the garment's fabrics crisp and colors (generally) solid: navy, black, gray, brown and khaki are always safe hues. For the most casual business-like dress appearance, pants should be creased and tailored; neither the extreme of tight or flowing. The skirt should come at least to the knees while standing, with the thighs covered while seating. If the skirt comes to just below the knee, a slit to just above the knee is acceptable. A very long skirt should not have a slit opening above the knee. Generally, not too high slits in the center back of a skirt are acceptable. Slits that expose a view of your legs are not appropriate for business purposes. In addition to tailored shirts or blouses, tailored knit sweaters and sweater-sets are appropriate business casual dress choices for women. Cotton, silk, and blends are appropriate. Velvets and shiny-beaded fabrics are only suitable for parties. Fit should not be tight. Cleavage is also not appropriate to business' occasions. Capri pants and long shorts are sometimes acceptable as business casual dress and regular dress if they are crisp, "tailored" and of a dress pant material, so not denim or heavy cotton, avoid 100% linen too as it wrinkles easily and might look sloppy, and keep the shoes very formal. Wear a watch, jewelry and scarf but don't over do it. Keep your choices simple and leaning toward conservative. Avoid extremes of style and color. Keep makeup natural looking; a little is usually better than none for a polished look. Nails should be clean and well groomed; avoid extremes of nail length and polish color. Shoes should be leather or fabric/micro-fiber. Appropriate colors are black, navy and brown (to coordinate with your other attire and accessories); white and pastels are not appropriate. Sandals (which are neither extremely dressy or extremely casual) are appropriate in the summer. Platforms and chunky heels are not appropriate. Keep the purse small and simple, or carry a small briefcase or business-like tote bag in place of a purse (to the office). A structured bag tends to look more professional than something soft or floppy. In the end use your best judgment as a guide.

Be fabulous,

Personal beauty, fashion trends, style, glamour like celebrities

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