You’re a walking billboard for your firm or company—and yourself. People judge you. Really. You have a business incentive to stay consistently within or above the local sartorial norms for professionals. Look and feel prepared for whatever your day may hand you with these rules of thumb for fool-proof business casual dress.
Must be crisp, clean and fit well. Avoid anything revealing, ill-fitting, or unkempt. Even on the tightest of budgets, you can look and feel pulled together and professional.
Must cover almost as much skin as in winter. Not only is this a good rule of thumb to ensure your attire is appropriate, it is also practical when you’re spending your days in cool A/C.
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Must be self-tested in front of a full-length mirror with a rear-view mirror in hand. Do YOU think you look good? If not, abort. Try another outfit. And remember, what looks great at the beach or rummage sale doesn’t fly at the office, even on Fridays.
Check out your whole look. Some people look pro in a pair of neat, dark jeans, slip-ons and a neat white shirt. Others look bad in a suit. If you don’t understand that, bring in a well-dressed friend who will tell you the truth about your look.
Finally, be consistent. The day you slip up is the day the mean guy who took your seat on Law Review stops in on his way to Venice to let you know he’s still doing better than you.