Business Casual, Business Formal, Business Dress, what do these words mean? How do I know when to wear my tie and coat or when a polo will do? Does Business Casual include sandals? Do I have to wear heels? If you work in the Business world all of these questions have probably come to mind as you have attended events or even looked over the mandatory Dress Code. Especially when one person’s Business Casual is another person’s Business Formal. What about Business Refinement Levels? Does your mind grind to a full halt with these words? Have you searched the internet, begging it to give you the answer? There is a both here, some of these descriptor words are fluid and some have a strong defining line, not to be altered. So where do you start? You start with the strong defining line and engage with where you are at-both geographically and within your business field. You need to filter this way because, what is appropriate in Phoenix is NOT appropriate in London nor in New York.
What is it?
There are 4 Levels to Business Refinement. These levels are based on fabric, color and pattern. Clothing or outfits with stiffer fabrics using only navy, charcoal, white and black are more refined and formal. Clothing or outfits in brighter colors or with bolder patterns and higher drape fabric, will be less refined and more casual. You can go up or down a level by changing any one of these factor. Let’s face it, there is a grave difference in our opinion of a lawyer dressed in a bright orange business suit vs one dressed in a navy business suit!
How do I know which level is appropriate?
Gauge where you are at? Do you work at a Law Firm, a Financial Office? Are you an Engineer? And further on, do you work in LA, Seattle or Melbourne? The more serious a job, the more refined the level of dress. The region of the world and the climate also greatly affect the required refinement level. Are you in a big metropolitan area? Up that refinement level. Do you live and work in a hot climate? Chances are the refinement levels will be more lax and casual. Lastly, I would highly recommend two things, look at your employer’s dress requirements/dress code and look at how your coworkers are dressed. Always dress above both. In other words it is in your best interest to dress above dress code levels and above your coworkers dress levels. This reflects well on you, this elevated visual image will speak volumes to those in roles above you and will help further your career in a positive direction.
How do I keep my style personality and be appropriate for work?
Keeping your individuality is such an important factor at work. We can often get lost in the rules, the dress code, the refinement levels. It is important to dress as you in a way that is appropriate for your line of work. After all, they hired you because of who you are, your knowledge, your personality, your abilities. Don’t forget to bring that forward in a visual manner. Once you have established the appropriate refinement levels for your work, your culture, your climate, your locale bring this together with your personality. How would someone who has a bold personality dress if they were a teacher? Perhaps fun patterns in lighter colors. What about a person with a more relaxed personality working at a Law Firm? Maybe this person would wear a suit in a higher drape wool or oxfords made of suede vs stiff leather. Do not neglect this step! If you are uncomfortable in how you are following the dress code or are dressed opposite of your personality style, it will show. This is not to give you full license to dress however you want. I mean they do pay you to do a job and you represent them as much as you represent you. So, be wary, stay within the lines of your employer’s dress code, “freeway” if you will, but feel free to be in your own lane on that “freeway”. Need further help with your Individual Business Refinement and Image? Book an appointment with me for my Individual Business Refinement and Image Package. Are you an Employer who needs help creating and implementing a dress code to reflect the image you desire? I am a trained Image Consultant. Let’s connect and see how I can help you create and help your employees understand and dress in this way, through my Corporate Image Consultations.