Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Business Informal

Thongcharm, being at its core, a fashion concept, I thought it was high time we address a topic of clothing choice.

Business Casual. In the states, at least, there are four tiers of mens clothing in the office:

a. Business Formal: Suits and ties. Bow ties if you're all about being the eccentric uncle. (We love you, eccentric uncle!)
b. Business Casual: Blazers and trousers, no tie. Usually, some horrid patterned tweedy thing or blue with gold buttons in New England. 
c. Casual - Non-Tech: Khakis or trousers and a button down or sweater. Sweatervests, for the truly eccentric or oddly cold.
d. Casual - Tech: Anything at all, including denim but excluding anything with holes where your bathingsuit should cover.

The problem is, there are only three tiers of women's clothing:

a. Business Formal: Suits
b. Casual - Non-Tech: Skirt or trousers and a knit, button down, or sweater top
c. Casual - Tech: Anything at all, including denim but excluding anything with holes where your bathingsuit should cover.

We have nothing that passes for Business Casual. Once separates are no longer formal enough, you must wear a suit. There were blazers, back in the color-blocked days of the 80s, when hot pink jackets were paired with black pants and shirts with big flouncy bows. But, in our world today, you're basically either in a suit, or you're not. And, while I love my suits, I find this challenging. There's times when you want to wear a skirt, but a skirt-suit is over-the-top and a skirt is not enough. There are twinset options, but then you have to accessorize the hell out of it, and further, you often come out looking like a school teacher. (Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it doesn't always create the right look).

My best attempt to bridge the gap is to wear fun-suits, meaning suits without the stiffness of a formal business suit. Suits with 3/4 sleeves or fun collars or interesting girlie details. But, I am still in a matching jacket and trousers. 



hornett said...

There is another men's tier. In my office, a blazer with a tie (blue blazer of course) is considered just as dressy as a suit! What is that? Also, there is the dress pants, and dress shirt, and the khakis and shirt - which are very different. How do you know the difference? Dress pants and dress shirts are sent out to be cleaned, while khakis and just regular button ups can be laundered at home.

As for the ladies - at least where I work - they get away with everything. The can basically wear a solid t-shirt and any type of pants and be ok. Some woman was wearing corduroy pants and a fleece the other day - hardly "business casual."

But what really gets me is "jeans day" around our office. Every so often you can wear jeans at my office. However, men are expected to still wear dress shoes and dress shirts. My dress pants are plently cofortable - why would I do that? In this case, we have women in the office wearing jeans, sneakers, and henleys - what is that?

Lilac - Like The Flower said...

I think it's odd that the women choose to get away with murder, relative to the dress code. If anything, I always want to look more professional than my male counterparts. On denim days (which are plenty in my world) I try to wear loafers, if not heels.

Strangely, many women I know use their clothing as a part of their corporate power play. They wear girlie accessories with power suits, or skirts to all-male meetings, in an effort to hold on to self.

And so many of the guys take denim day to mean "don't change out of your gutter-cleaning garb!"

shai24 said...

hey, why so hard on sweater vests?

Priya said...

Shai is that you