Business casuals guide for new age professionals


Youngsters of Gen Y ( Born 1977-1995) brought about a transformation in work wear at some of the new age American workplaces like Google, Twitter, Apple and Facebook. These under 30’s influenced work culture and Company policies.‘Business casuals’ became trendy. Innovative perks and power to dictate work culture resulted in a high ‘happiness quotient’ and ‘peak productivity’. Some of the traditional businesses too followed suit, hoping they too would be able to showcase similar success stories  In the decades that followed, the original meaning of ‘Business casuals’ has been compromised and is diluted.

My thoughts on the topic:

1. Clothing affects your mindset; your mood. When you dress well, you feel good, your Body language and facial expressions are positive and confident. 55% of our Communication is only through ‘Appearance’ (Albert Mehrabian). You speak and communicate better, and people respond rather than react to you. This is the heart of the ‘Image Cycle’. When you dress as if you are at home, your mindset is congruent to this too. It’s likely that the ‘Professionalism’ of the workplace is compromised. The lines between home and work become faint. A lot of the work comes home too and affects family time and therefore, relationships.

2. With these two areas merging, very often some people go a bit too far.
Excerpts from: Los Angeles Times review: ‘Half of the senior managers interviewed in the survey said their workers wear less formal clothing than they did five years ago, and 47% said their employees dressed “too casually.” The survey also showed that 32% of managers said their workers showed “too much skin.”

What CoCo Chanel said about women, actually applies to both genders…

The badly dressed person, people remember the clothes.
With a well dressed person, they remember the person.

People  should remember you and your work. You are a Brand representative of your Organisation. Why draw negative attention to clothes?
Sharing a recent write up from the Business insider on mistakes one should avoid:

Business Casual mistakes Business

At most workplaces (unless it’s like a jazz band or similar!) we are required to meet and communicate with people from all generations. It’s critical that we make the right first impression. Each of these generations has their own thinking and working style. ‘Professional dressing norms’ is a common denominator acceptable across most of them. In the first 10 seconds of a meeting, first impressions are formed, people judge you and these judgement affect critical decisions. So whether it’s at ‘The job interview’ or a regular day at work, clothing matters. Is it really worth taking a chance due to some personal biases? And is there a tool really available to measure the opportunities lost per every employee who does not clinch a deal, due to poor image that he has projected? To measure the opportunity price that the organisation pays? In my mind, the stakes are too high.
Play safe, dress conservative.

3. As an Image Consultant, I study the language that clothes speak. The elements of clothing – Line, Shape, Colour, Pattern and Texture offer countless options . Each one of them used in combination with the others generates a distinct, different message. It helps to be mindful to follow the four tenets (A)’s of dressing up Authentic (to your values and personality), Appropriate (for the role, goal, occasion, weather, time of the day) Attractive (harmonious combination of the elements), and Affordable (Smart shopping). It’s quite complex and interesting too! We conduct Personality clinics, Face and body shape clinics, colour clinics, draw out your value chart, and make recommendations.

Till I understood the science behind this, I never thought about dressing for work. Often, pick up whatever is on the top of the pile, and get dressed in 10 minutes and rush to work. Often, I ended up feeling overdressed or  inappropriately dressed for the meetings through the day. Have you ever experienced this ?

4. We spend a major part of our wake up time at the workplace. As an exercise, let’s list how much (in percentage) time and resources do we devote to our work attire. Attire includes accessories- shoes, belt, watch, briefcase, ladies handbag, scarf, tie and so on. Each of them has their own style scale and give specific messages at specific occasions.

Business casuals shoes for men

On the other hand, dressing up for a party or wedding,’ a one-off event’, gets so much more attention and resources than regular work wear and that’s simply because workwear is ‘routine’ and taken for granted. The activity that gives us our bread, butter, cake and champagne deserve more attention, for sure.

5. Clothing has energy and this should be respected. Managing a wardrobe well is a process which when followed, sparks immense joy, each day.

I am keen to know your thoughts and experiences on the above on

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