Khaki’s, Birkenstocks, Capri pants and deck shoes are all staples of business casual attire these days.
A company's goal in launching more relaxed dress codes is to allow their staff to work in comfort in the workplace. There is still a need for employees to project a professional image for customers, clients, future employees, and neighborhood visitors.
More and more companies are trying to set a standard or a minimum standard of dress. These principles are to make workers more switched on and relaxed in the workplace on an every day basis. There is also a need to promote professional attire for meetings, customer lunch get-togethers or when a client is visiting the office. Productivity and professionalism must be the number one objective for a successful business casual environment.
Business casual is clean, neat, and should look appropriate even for an impromptu conference with a CEO. Business casual is not club, party or beach attire. Avoid tight or baggy clothing; business casual is classic rather than trendy. Skip the jeans and wear khakis. Skip the flip-flops and put on a pair of deck shoes. Skip the t-shirt and substitute a long sleeved shirt.
The summer months are particularly tense for office managers as temperatures rise, clothing seems to cover less and fashion trends become more laid back. A sleeveless blouse is OK for women, but a sleeveless t-shirt is not OK for men. Flip flops are out, but deck shoes are in. Velvets and shimmery or glittery fabrics would be great for a party, but are suitable for an office. Cleavage is never proper in a business casual office or job search situation. Overly tight or baggy tops or pants should also be avoided.
Athletic or a walking shoe, loafers, deck shoes and sneakers are also acceptable. A bonus of loafers or deck shoes is that they are comfortable and even though they are considered a sporty shoe, are perfectly acceptable in a business casual environment. Flip-flops and slippers are never acceptable, but some open toed sandals are fine. If you are working in a manufacturing plant, closed toe and closed heels shoes will be required.
Business casual dress should not be confused with dress down days, which are generally on Friday. On dress down days, jeans, t-shirts, open toed sandals, and other more casual clothing options are allowed. Stay away from ripped, torn, wrinkled or stained clothes. Also, any objectionable or potentially offensive t-shirts should be avoided all together. If you’re worried that your dress down clothes are too relaxed, keep the jeans, add a polo and deck shoe and you’re instantly ready for dress down, but not messy.
Most offices will have a dress code policy in their employee handbook. The majority of companies simply ask that no body parts from the shoulders to the knees be seen, except for arms. In other words, cleavage and belly button rings should be covered.
Some of the best business casual deck shoes can be found at New Forest Footwear. They have many affordable styles and colors of deck shoes that fit nicely in an office environment. They are casual, yet professional. Some of the styles and colors offered from New Forest Footwear for women are traditional blue deck shoes, navy deck shoes, a trendy and chic fuchsia deck shoe and traditional colors like brown, sand and honey deck shoes. Men’s deck shoe offerings are traditional sand, brown and tan deck shoes, a cool triple combo Hobart oak and chestnut leather deck shoe and a mono colored navy deck shoe.
Keep in mind the "business" part of business casual, and leave your old lounge clothes at home. Just use good judgment and your own common sense. A nice pair of khaki’s for men or khaki skirt for women, a crisp and clean dress shirt or blouse and a comfy pair of deck shoes will put you in a business casual state of mind.