The Rules to Business Casual

In today’s common work place, business casual is the frequent dress code policy for many companies. Not only do most employees take on the “professional yet relaxed” appearance at work, many managers and business owners are now embracing this persona as well. Wikipedia states that nearly half of non-self-employed workers in the United States wear casual business attire on a regular basis. On the other hand, uniforms rank in at 19% with formal business attire following behind at only 9%.

We’ve come a long way from formal suits with matching gangster hats in the 1920s and 1930s to khaki slacks and striped polos today. You will have difficulty finding a general definition of business casual. Depending on the organization or individual, interpretations are laid out over a broad spectrum. Some companies even allow jeans as part of a business casual appearance, and that goes even when it’s not casual Friday!

Whether one can throw on a button up blouse over top of their jeans or is required to dress it up with a sharper image rather than dress down, business casual is generally a professional image that is relaxed, neat and pulled together. The big question is what is acceptable casual wear in a professional workplace? Some would say “jeans in the workplace” is an oxymoron, but for many offices, business casual in general is the new staple of the modern workplace.

The Casual Friday trend began in Hawaii. When Honolulu started allowing employees to wear Aloha shirts to work in the late 1940s, this lead to the start of what was to become a casual Friday craze. Inspired by Hawaii’s Aloha Friday boom in the 1960s, the Dot-com bubble during the 1990s and into the turn of the century sparked the start of the casual Friday trend in the United States.

With casual Fridays taking over the office, the dot-com bubble lead to a “too casual” period creating conflict and confusion in professional environments. Casual Friday may have been the seed that caused our country to sprout into a primarily business casual working environment. Stephanie from USA Today says, “Each generation seems to have a different idea of what is acceptable in the workplace.”  With a diverse population, business casual and casual Friday’s alike bring varying standards. The challenge comes when one tries to define; what is too casual? Where do you draw the line?

Whether you have a full time office, stop by for a meeting or work from home in your pajamas, you set your own dress code at Officense. When it comes to your support staff, we never come to work in flip flops, pajamas or jeans (Not even on Casual Fridays!) but are here to represent you in a professional yet relaxed demeanor. Here at Officense, while you feel perfectly at home, your clients will feel that they’re in a very professional and warm setting eager to do business with you.

“Business Casual.” Wikipedia

“Casual Friday.” Wikipedia

“’Business Casual’ Causes Confusion.” (2007, July 10). USA Today

“Has Casual Friday Become Too Casual?” (2009, September 18). Career Builder

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