Is business casual becoming the new business professional? Dressing for the workplace is never easy and I’ve seen more and more examples of how it’s changing.

Here at Maudience the attire is business casual. However, this seems to be on a need to see client basis. Lawyers are generally thought to wear suits and ties, but I know a Practice Assistant for a law firm who only wears business casual unless she’s going to be meeting with clients and we operate on a similar basis. If we’re not going to be seeing any clients, then there’s a good chance you’ll find us in jeans, or maybe even work out attire so we can hit the gym before our lunch break.

What does this mean for the general rule that you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have? They say always dress to impress, but are you even impressing your boss in your suit and tie or do you just look silly?

During my last internship I was told the attire was all black business professional, so I went out and bought my first suit. Nothing too fancy, just a suit from Express, but I dropped a couple hundred dollars on a suit none the less and I looked ridiculous compared to everyone else in the workplace. I was interning for a fashion designer in Chicago, so I looked nice, but when everyone else was able to showcase their sense of style by wearing business casual and I was in an all black suit, I definitely felt out of place.

This just goes to show that business professional might not always be the way to go, and business casual might not be either. There’s an appropriate time and a place for everything and remembering that is more important than following any rules. However, my advice would be to dress to impress. As a lover of fashion I always like to dress up a bit more than the average joe. While advising my class about test day preparation, I had a TA in college who told us to get dressed up on the day of the test. Get up, do your hair, put on a nice outfit, make yourself look presentable, get coffee. Feel good about taking the test and taking on the day. You can apply this idea to the workplace. Put in a little extra effort on the day of that big presentation or meeting and it will pay off.