Casual Day Dilemmas

Contact: Mary Lou Andre
Phone:(781) 444-0140

Dressing Down Is No Casual Dilemma

Needham, MA — Ninety percent of all companies in the country have adopted "dress down" policies, with one-third allowing casual clothing every day. But what's casual for the weekend can be downright inappropriate for the office -- especially during the warm summer months. Office workers and managers alike are left struggling with the question, how casual is casual?

"For some people, casual day presents a dressing dilemma. Their business wardrobe is complete: dressing in the morning is a snap. Then suddenly they have to learn a whole new way of dressing." said fashion consultant Mary Lou Andre, president of Organization By Design in Needham. "Summer time exacerbates the problem. People see open-toed shoes, sleeveless tops and shorts and wonder whether these are suitable for the office."

Andre, whose corporate casual day seminars have helped many sort out the intricacies of dressing down for the office, says the best bet is to aim for a classic look. "Think of your casual day clothes as a relaxed version of your business style," she said.

In her booklet, "Making Casual Day Work," Andre draws the distinction between casual and sloppy, and shows managers how to communicate this difference to their employees. Included in the booklet are suggestions such as:

  • Leave your printed T-shirts at home
  • Save sweats for the gym; beachwear for the beach
  • Keep shoes shined and scuff-free
  • Combine items from your business wardrobe with casual attire
  • Wear a vest instead of a blazer
  • Match your belt to your shoes for a polished coordinated look

The benefits of a relaxed dress code are many: increased morale, enhanced communication, greater loyalty, and improved productivity.

"But all of the advantages of a dress down policy can be lost in the confusion over what to wear," Andre said. "It's my goal to use my seminars and booklet to help companies gain full advantage of this employee benefit by giving them a clear understanding of what casual day entails."

For more information on Andre's corporate casual day seminars, or to order her booklet, "Making Casual Day Work," call (617) 444-0140, or visit our online store.

-- 30 --