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Business Casual In Shoes And In Life #BabyBoomerThoughts

When I first started working in an office — no, I will not tell you what year it was, but let’s say I hadn’t graduated high school yet — there was no such thing as business casual. I had to always dash home to change out of “high school” clothes into “business clothes.” Those business clothes included close toed pumps, panty hose and more often than not a dress or skirt; pants, on women,  were frowned upon in this government office.

Picture1The longer I worked in the office and in business environments in general, Casual Friday became popular. In many cases, if you donated to a particular charity you were allowed to be business casual that one day of the week. Business casual certainly didn’t imply you could wear jeans or a tank top or flip flops to the office though. Business casual meant you didn’t have to wear a blazer over your blouse or that you could actually wear pants, rather than a skirt, that one special day and let me tell you in the dead of winter being able to wear pants was a luxury beyond compare. Open toed pumps were frowned upon as well and if you consider that women were “required” to wear panty hose you can imagine how lovely it would look wearing hose with open toed shoes! It’s as cringe worthy as people who wear socks and sandals. That is something I have never understood — either commit to wearing socks and put on shoes or wear sandals and ditch the socks.

Anyway, now that I work from home my “business casual” sometimes lasts the entire week and can range from jeans and a sweatshirt to Victoria Secret flannel pjs. Footwear is typically a cozy pair of suede slippers that match nothing I wear but are cozy and comfortable beyond reason.

I do believe, even though I may dress business casual, that doing one’s hair and make up is a must. On those days when I know I will be on the phone with clients all day long I do actually dress it up a bit. I realize that no one can see me — unless we determine a Skype call is necessary, but I feel more professional when I am speaking with my clients when I am in at the least, business casual. For all I know, they are calling me from their home offices clad in pjs but we don’t talk about that!

What does business casual mean to you? Do you have footwear that goes along with your business casual clothing? If you work outside the home do you count down the days until Casual Friday? I’d love to hear!

2 replies to this post
  1. I could go on for hours! My husband and I own an architectural consulting firm. Watching the recent architectural thesis presentations from our local university was absolutely distressing. These young people made their presentations dressed in jeans and tennis shoes, baseball caps, with thumbs in pockets. It makes my head explode! There is something to be said for making a first impression. Our impression was, “I’d never, ever allow that kid to step in front of one of my clients!” Prior to my retiring from teaching, I was also saddened to see that the new incoming teachers were regularly showing up to teach in jeans and flip flops! Talk about setting an example…

    That being said, I don’t think this is a case of being a boomer and getting “old and crotchety.” I think it is a matter of simple respect.

    • Thanks for writing, Lynn. I agree… where did the “dress up for work or an interview” lessons go by the wayside! I’d love to follow/like you on social media if you want to connect! Thanks again for your thoughtful comments.

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