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KNOWING HOW TO DRESS `DOWN’ CAN WARD OFF A DRESSING DOWN

SHARE KNOWING HOW TO DRESS `DOWN’ CAN WARD OFF A DRESSING DOWN

So just what is business casual, anyway?

Here are some definitions for men's and women's dress, as defined in "Dressing in America: The Casual Workplace," a multi-part study of consumers and employers conducted by the NPD Group Inc. this year.

MEN'S DRESS:

Formal business attire:

- A suit with a dress shirt and tie.

- Some companies allow sportcoats with dress pants.

Casual business attire:

- Casual pants with a woven shirt and tie or with a woven shirt and sport coat.

- A few companies mention sweaters instead of sportcoats.

- About half of the companies don't require a sport coat, about 25 percent don't require a tie.

- Knit sport shirts are not appropriate.

- No jeans or athletic footwear.

Everyday casual attire:

- Jeans, warm-up suits, shorts, shirts without a collar such as T-shirts, golf/rugby shirts, sweaters

- No jacket or tie required.

- Most companies allow athletic footwear

- No beach wear, such as swimsuits and sandals

WOMEN'S:

Formal business attire:

- Suits (with a skirt and sometimes pants), dresses or skirts with jacket.

- No slacks or sweaters.

- Pantyhose only, no tights or socks (except trouser socks with pant suits)

Casual business attire: - Mixed separates, blouses or sweaters with skirts or slacks; pant suits.

- Jacket not required.

- Tights or socks are allowed.

- No jeans or athletic footwear.

Everyday casual attire:

- Jeans, shorts, warm-up suits, T-shirts, golf/rugby shirts, sweaters.

- Pantyhose not required with skirts or shorts.

- Most companies allow athletic footwear.

- No beachwear, such as swimsuits and sandals.