They might have said in the interview they have a casual office environment, but let’s be honest from a fashion perspective: This trend is so far out of control that many companies have now banned casual Fridays and instituted dress codes for the entire week. This may not be what you wanted to read -- and if you'd read your AskMen.com Style Bible, you'd know better anyways -- but the truth is that as employers loosen up the employees often lose all sight of sartorial dignity.
So, before your boss demands three-piece suits and wingtips -- even in July -- you need to get serious about your workplace attire and avoid these office wear no-nos.
Flip-flopsUnless you get a pedicure regularly, your feet probably look much better clad in leather shoes than exposed for all the world to see. Why then must we address flip-flops as an office wear no-no? Because casual Friday became casual Monday-through-Friday, some think they're living in a Corona commercial and keep showing up for work with bacteria factories strapped to their feet. Spring break may be a state of mind for you after your school days have ended, but we’ll leave that for your therapist to resolve. What you need to understand first is that men wear socks and leather shoes to work. For ultimate comfort and versatility find a pair of leather loafers in a British tan -- they're just as comfortable as flip-flops and a lot less childish and underdressed.
Text TsT-shirts with text across the front or back are what you wear when you pick up your last paycheck. Until that day comes, however, have some dignity and wear a shirt suitable for casual business encounters. And last night’s concert souvenir is an office wear no-no as well. If a short-sleeve shirt is appropriate, then stay away from all-out sports wear as well and find something with a bit of class such as this polo-inspired shirt from Kenneth Cole.
Cargo pantsWhile no one disputes that cargos are great for the weekend, they look too casual and do not inspire confidence in your superiors or clients while you're at work. You’re not working at a coffee shop between classes, pal. You’re working in an office, which means that if you’ve got stuff to carry you need a briefcase and not pockets hanging down around your ankles. Don't try and argue that they're practical -- so are backpacks and you're not bringing one of those to work, are you? (At least we hope you aren't…)
Try corduroy trousers instead of those old khaki pants or blue jeans. They look and feel nicer in cooler weather, but can be dressed up with a sport coat when you need a few extra pockets. And don't overfill your pockets either; if you really need the extra cargo space, opt for a trendy briefcase.
A few more office wear no-nos to avoid...
Company golf shirtUnless you're directed to wear it, the company golf shirt stays at the clubhouse. Instead, wear a long-sleeve, button-down shirt -- yes, even in the summer. The mere fact that you have sleeves means you outrank anyone in a polo shirt. Once again, so-called casual Fridays aren't exempt from this rule. Do not wear your golf clothes to work. What's funny out on the links is rarely funny in the office. There is a time and place for those Rodney Dangerfield Caddyshack-inspired go-to-hell pants and matching polyester shirt, but the office is neither. If you must wear golf-inspired attire, try a classic-cut, long-sleeve shirt with a delicate pattern instead.
ShortsThis is simply a bad idea all around. No one wants to see your hairy man legs darting from cubicle to cubicle. And no, half-day Fridays in July, before you head out for the weekend, are not exempt and do not make it OK. Break this rule and the powers that be will take unfavorable notice of your nakedness no matter what the employment laws might say. If you feel too warm in cotton or topical weight, wool trousers, try a linen pant like this pair from Michael Kors.
CapsYet another rule that many men have forgotten or simply ignored. A cap -- especially a sports cap -- is, was and always shall be intended for sporting activities. Flipping it backwards and pretending to support your local team any day of the week before the big game is, dare we say, too pedestrian for even a casual office environment. If you think you need to wear a hat to keep warm for that commute, try more stylish headgear that you remove as you enter the building. The boss will notice in more ways than one. For cool spring weather, think about this military-inspired hat from Banana Republic. It’s lightweight and you can stuff it in your new briefcase until you need it for the journey home.
office attire 101Think about it this way: Who wants to hire or work with someone who dresses like he’s got better things to do than work at the office? Sure, we all know that you do, but fashion is about creating illusions and impressions. Sometimes success is just about showing up and looking the part. The rest is just hard work, and you might as well look good while you do it.
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