Dress Code Confusion

A client visiting your office hesitates to get on the elevator with a couple of scruffy-looking characters. Is she in the wrong place? Are these loiterers hanging out in your building up to no good? It turns out that these are two of your fellow employees on the way back to the office from lunch. It just happens to be dress-down Friday, and they’ve taken the casual initiative to a whole new level.

The ever-relaxing guidelines about dress, both for business and pleasure, may be sending mixed messages about who we are and how we feel about the situations in which we live, work, and socialize. We see jeans along with a tuxedo jacket at a “black tie optional” event. We receive an engraved invitation to a cocktail party ...

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