Business casual is now the most widely accepted corporate attire in the United States, and companies in Greenville are following this national trend. Although it appears that there is no standard definition of the term “business casual”, employers develop their policies for this dress practice based on the following general guidelines:
- Men: slacks, short or long sleeve collared shirts or sweaters, closed toe non-athletic footwear and socks. Shirts should be tucked in, and pants should be belted.
- Women: knee length or longer dresses or skirts, full or Capri length pants, blouses with or without collars or sweaters, and closed or open toed non-athletic shoes.
Often companies allow their employees to “dress down” on certain days. Employees of Michelin North America, Inc. in Greenville may wear jeans on Fridays. Hubbell Lighting, Inc. permits its employees to wear jeans a few times a month, usually before holidays or in conjunction with a charitable fundraising or food drive. According to Steve Nail, Hubbell Lighting’s Vice President of Human Resources, jeans and specially designed tee-shirts are also worn at events celebrating the achievements of individual departments.
Business casual is by no means synonymous with informal or casual attire. Certain clothing and accessories are always off limits in a business casual environment. Leisure, athletic clothing, club wear and beach attire are prohibited, and so are clothes that reveal too much skin or undergarments. Hubbell Lighting and most other companies also prohibit clothing and accessories that display inflammatory or profane language, designs or photos.
Business casual doesn’t sacrifice seriousness of purpose for comfort. Janet Wade, Michelin’s Director of Corporate Personnel, emphasizes that one’s work clothing should reflect a single purpose: doing business professionally and safely. Image awareness professional and owner of “Dot That i” (http://dotthati.com), Tamra Silvestre, stresses the “need to maintain a professional image that is a positive reflection” on one’s company. Alicia Abrahams, Community Manager at Verandas at the Point apartment homes on Carolina Point Parkway, strongly believes that a professional appearance from “head to toe” also sends the message that employees take pride in their work and value the customers they serve. In her opinion, the gold standard for a corporate image includes being neat, well groomed and polished.
Although employees need to become well versed in their organization’s dress code, from time to time they may have questions about the appropriateness of certain clothing. Jason Loftis, Corporate Recruiting Manager at Michelin, offers this essential piece of advice to employees and job candidates alike: always seek clarification from a supervisor on matters relating to workplace attire.