Are Sneakers Business Casual?
Traditionally, sneakers are NOT business casual.
The traditional definition of business casual was loosening of the tie for one day a week. Instead of suits and skirts, employees were allowed to wear khakis and polo shirts. Today, with the more relaxed dot-com revolution, it seems that each company defines business casual in its own unique way.
Cardinal Rules of Business Casual
1. If you wear it around the house, don't wear it to work.
Anytime you are at work, your attire should display professionalism. It should be obvious even when you step out of the office that you are a professional and not taking a trip to the beach.
Clothes should be dressy, tidy, and professional. For example, if your everyday work attire calls for full suit and tie, a casual look in this office may be a jacket, a button-up-shirt sans tie, a pair of khakis, and a pair of leather loafers.
2. If you wear it out clubbing, don't wear it to work.
Many employees, especially young women, misinterpret business casual as a time to dress sexy. Showing off shoulders and midriffs is never appropriate in the workplace, casual Friday or not. Avoid anything too glitzy, revealing, or too form-fitting when choosing office attire.
3. If you wear it to the gym, don't wear it to work.
Sweatshirts, sneakers, t-shirts, baseball caps, and team jerseys may look sporting and fresh at an athletic event, but do not belong in a professional setting. If you are going for the professional sporty look, try khakis, a golf shirt, and loafers.
Tip: If unsure, dress on the formal side, utilizing layers. A buttoned suit jacket with a crisp white button-up shirt and tie can easily be transformed into a more casual look by removing the jacket and tie, unbuttoning a button or two and rolling up the sleeves.