My company's office attire is business casual. What, exactly, does this mean?
“‘Business casual’ is a term developed in the ’90s when corporate America decided wearing a suit was no longer necessary,” says Rick Fortuna, Pound Ridge resident and proprietor of the Katonah imported menswear shop, Italy Direct. “The problem is most men don’t know what business casual entails and dress inappropriately.”
While technically business casual means an unconstructed sports jacket paired with cotton or wool trousers, worn with a nice dress or sports shirt (lose the tie), Fortuna emphatically continues, “just because a shirt has a collar doesn’t make it correct.” Jeans can work in some office settings, but only if they’re dark denim worn with an unconstructed jacket, good loafers, and a dress shirt.
A big “don’t”—even in a warm climate—is khakis and a polo shirt. “I sell polo shirts in my shop with a stand up collar, but it’s still not business attire,” Fortuna explains. High-level executives might opt for a solid black, navy, or gray suit paired with a sport shirt. Footwear is critical. “I recommend dress loafers or tie ups or a great Chukka boot. Obviously, any kind of athletic shoe is a no-no.”
Sloppy tailoring is his pet peeve. “Nothing looks worse than too-long trousers or a coat that hangs like a sack. I hate to see a jacket not fitting properly. It’s a few extra bucks for tailoring, so don’t be cheap.”