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Pros & Cons of a Business Casual Dress Code

written by: Eduard Ezeanu•edited by: Ginny Edwards•updated: 8/22/2010

The way we dress in the business word is changing. The topic of the business casual dress code is becoming more important. Find out from this article the key points you'll need to consider in order to decide if a business casual dress code is good for your organization.

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    Pros & Cons of a Business Casual Dress Code

    Business Casual Dress Code Today, more and more organizations are abandoning the formal business dress code and opting for the more permissive business casual dress code. People’s attitudes toward clothes are changing, and organizations can choose to encourage them, keep up with them or ignore them.

    If you’re considering implementing a business casual dress code as an organization, you will discover plenty of arguments on both sides, some of them more important then others. With this in mind, here is a short list of the most relevant pros and cons of a business casual dress code.

    The pros

    • The organization seems more human. An organization where people dress in a more casual way emphasizes its human component. The fact it’s not a machine, but a grouping of people providing something for other people. This message can make potential clients, suppliers and collaborators more open to working with an organization.

    • The employees feel more comfortable. Most people don’t feel very comfortable working all day wearing a formal, full-piece suit. They find it too stiff, too rigid, too hard to wear and to move in. A business casual dress code will allow them to dress in a more relaxed and comfortable way. Their clothes do not inhibit them, but give them the ease to move and the freedom to be dynamic in their work.

    • It leaves a lot more room for personal expression. Today’s organizations encourage their employees to discover what is unique about themselves and to put it out there. A business casual dress code allows more options in choosing clothes, colors and combinations. For this reason, it gives employees a chance to be more expressive through their clothes. Which overall, can improve their workplace satisfaction and their motivation.

    The cons

    • It can undermine the professional image of the organization. People tend to initially associate a person dressed in a very formal business way with professionalism. In this regard, an organization whose employees stray from this formal dress code may not initially create that much of an impression of professionalism as it could. However, keep in mind that this association between a formal suit and competence is visibly decreasing.

    • There is a risk of a "slippery slop." Some employees can understand the business casual dress code in a more casual way than it is intended. As a result, they may end up wearing clothes which are not business casual, but sloppy, bad fitting, lacking style and far from communicating professionalism. This is the kind of dressing slippery slop which can require careful action in order to prevent or to control.

    There is no right way to dress in an organization. As you can see, there are significant pros and cons for a business casual dress code. Weighing both sides carefully and considering the specific context of the organization is the best way to reach the best decision for the organization you represent.

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