Being Bruce -: Exactly What Is Business Casual?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Exactly What Is Business Casual?

So what is "business casual"?

Our local Team Beachbody group is having a meeting this week and I sent out a note to our team members suggesting that coaches dress business casual.

It didn't take long before the question came up, "What is business casual?"\

Ok, so of course it depends on the region of the country where you live, your profession, and the occasion you'll be attending.

Of the four images in the graphic above, only one is a safe bet. There is another that, given the context, might work, but probably it's better to be safe.

So what do you think business casual means?


  1. It's funny, but I've been struggling with this very issue lately as I prepare to roll out my marketing seminars for small businesses.

    The safe bet? I have to go with the slacks/sports coat/open collar dress shirt. The "might work" choice would be the polo shirt/jeans, but I'd be more comfortable if the jeans weren't faded.

    It seems these days that a quality plain t-shirt -- black or some some stylish color -- with slacks and sports coat will also work. Thanks to Steve Jobs, you may even get away with high-quality t-shirt and jeans, but they have to look like they just came from the dry cleaner (and you have to have the physique to make it work).

    I think the key is to dress about the same as everyone else; that's why it makes sense to ask if you're not sure.

    Great question, Bruce!


  2. Thanks for that, Alfred.

    Not so sure about your comment on faded jeans. In the past three years I've been at some major events in New England, Atlanta, Las Vegas, and Charlotte and was surprised to see many men wearing loose shirts not tucked in to faded jeans. In a couple cases the CEOs of $100+ million companies, in a variety of industries (tech, health and fitness, and marketing).

    Kinda in general it seems there are three levels for men:
    1. Business suit - well tailored and expensive-looking
    2. Black jacket, white (or black) shirt, + (often fadede) jeans
    3. (the above cited) Loose shirt (short or long-sleeved) worn outside faded jeans

    That's what I've noticed anyway.

    It's also the case that regional and market size seems to make a big difference. For example, I live in North Carolina - the dress code is much less formal where I live on the coast than it is in Raleigh, where they're generally much more conservative. Also noticed that in Atlanta the dress was more conservative. However, in the really big cities/venues - New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, London, Salt Lake City, etc., the 3 styles I mentioned up earlier seem to be more the norm.

    Thanks again for your thoughts, and I'm looking forward to what you think about this comment.


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  4. Hi, Anonymous - yes, you can post it on your site, please include the link. Thanks, Bruce