Back to Basics: How to Dress Business Casual

“Basic” may have adapted a negative connotation in years, but there’s no shame in seeking advice on recent theoretically simple sartorial conundrums. In our latest column, “Back to Basics,” we’re here to guide you through life’s most common (and important) fashion and beauty concerns.

Of all the standard dress codes, “business casual” is probably the most obscure because it holds no clear and simple definition. “Part of the challenge is that ‘business casual’ is going to be a little bit different from place to place,” says Edward Yost, an HR business partner at the Society for Human Resource Management. “What is acceptable in certain workplaces is not acceptable in others; that can be business culture-based, expectations from clients and customers or even geography-driven.” So when it comes to figuring out what your office’s requirements are, it’s best to straightforwardly ask your boss, manager or human resources to be sure. Yost’s former employer put it fairly simple: “Anything you would wear to the beach, don’t wear here.”

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