Defining Your Business
Today’s Business Attire
The Three Levels of Business Attire: Sherry
Maysonave has coached executives and corporations in achieving
in communication and image for twenty years. Sherry is an accomplished
motivational speaker and the most widely quoted expert in the U.S.
regarding "empowering business attire", including business
In her book, Casual
Power, Sherry defines three levels
attire", one of which is "business casual". Sherry
was the first to break down "casual attire" into different
categories and provide a guide to men and women as to which of
these are appropriate and empowering in business.
Business is a
Are you familiar with the three levels of business attire that
win on today’s playing field? Do you know which levels of "casual
attire" are appropriate for business?
Traditional or Formal
Traditional business attire includes business suits, dress shirts,
and ties for men. It includes business-oriented suits for women,
both skirted suits and tailored pantsuits. Leather shoes (closed-toe/closed
heel), socks and/or hosiery are also a requirement for any outfit
to qualify for traditional business attire.
Business formal is
a subset of traditional business attire, yet, it has specific requirements
just one step down from tuxedos, such
as dark tailored suits for men and women. Business formal standards
dictate that women wear skirted suits, hosiery, and closed-toe/closed
heel pumps. Men should wear white shirts (French cuff styles),
cuff links, silk ties, and pocket squares (silk or linen) to fully
qualify for business formal attire. If you receive an invitation
requesting business formal attire, dress in this standard. This
level of dress is often requested for Award dinners, political
events, and a variety of dressy evening business occasions that
are not black-tie.
General Business Attire
The General Business attire category is a mere
mini step away from the Traditional Business classification. For
this category still demands a tie and it’s still worn with
a dress shirt. However instead of a suit, this category includes
a tailored sport coat worn with dress trousers.
For women, this
category can look numerous ways. It includes tailored pantsuits,
businesslike dresses, and coordinated dressy separates.
When wearing separates, tailored jackets are required.
While ties are usually not required for men, high-level business
casual includes suits worn with dressy sport shirts
or fine-gauge knits and tailored separates, such as dress trousers,
collared sport shirts that do not require a tie, fine knit
shirts and sweaters,
as well as sport coats. Low-level business casual includes
khakis, chinos, and knit golf shirts. To command respect, wear
belts and shoes; sandals and sneakers do meet a true business
For women, business casual includes pantsuits,
tailored separates, such as skirts, slacks, blouses, sweaters,
sweater sets, and
jackets. A complete accessorized look is encouraged, including
heel shoes or slingbacks to maximize the businesslike aspect.