Business casual attire
August 15, 2005 5:42 AM   Subscribe

Is it acceptable to wear a short sleeve collared shirt with a tie? Business casual environment.
posted by corpse to Shopping (54 answers total)
 
In my book, not really, not as business per se. The outfit has long been a staple of semi-outdoor jobs and foremen, which isn't a bad way to go, but isn't really business causal, more like light blue collar.
posted by OmieWise at 5:52 AM on August 15, 2005


Are you an engineer? If not, it is probably best to skip this look. However, if everyone else where you work is doing it and it makes you feel more comfortable then why not?
posted by caddis at 5:53 AM on August 15, 2005


Better to go with a golf shirt, no tie, or long sleeves and roll em up, in my opinion. The short sleeves are a little . . .schoolboy-like?
posted by jamesonandwater at 5:58 AM on August 15, 2005


Are you a hipster? Did you buy either the shirt(s) or tie(s) that you plan to wear in this ensemble at a thrift store? Then maybe.

If the above doesn't describe you, then you'd better, as described above, have a hardhat on your desk. Otherwise, no (IMO only).
posted by zpousman at 5:59 AM on August 15, 2005


It's acceptable, but it looks weird. I'd ditch the tie or wear long sleeves. Either or.
posted by selfnoise at 6:02 AM on August 15, 2005


Yes, but add a pocket protector for completeness
posted by poppo at 6:03 AM on August 15, 2005


Yeah, short sleeves with a tie is a definitely an engineer / "Falling Down" look. Combine with appropriate glasses for the full effect.
posted by zsazsa at 6:05 AM on August 15, 2005


Yeah, I was going to go for either Falling Down or Bible Salesman.
posted by selfnoise at 6:07 AM on August 15, 2005


Doesn't Homer Simpson face this dilema at some point? Anyway, I've always thought it looked odd except on guys from the 60's who work for NASA.
posted by Who_Am_I at 6:13 AM on August 15, 2005


I wear this exact outfit every day to work, where I am an engineering intern. White short sleeve work shirt, black tie, pocket protector. The best place to get pocket protectors is the aptly named Pocket Protector's online, which seems to be the last remaining purveyor of the sturdy vinyl type.
posted by phrontist at 6:13 AM on August 15, 2005


I'd also like to point out that the reason you see it on so many early 70's NASA engineers is because it's insanely practical... they are cheap, layer well, provide a good support structure for your massive array of writing implements/notebooks/palm pilot/calculator, and qualify as formal enough for almost any event an engineer would have to attend.
posted by phrontist at 6:16 AM on August 15, 2005


At my law firm (and law firms are perhaps the antithesis of engineering firms) I have never, ever, seen anyone wearing shortsleeves with a tie. I have, however, seen shortsleeves without a tie and golf shirts. I, on the other hand, think "business casual" in a law firm is an abomination, and attorneys should always wear suits.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:24 AM on August 15, 2005


People in my office do it (state agency), but that may just be because it's Louisiana and hot as hell most of the time.

(Or you could say you're just going for that "Shaun of the Dead" look)
posted by kuperman at 6:30 AM on August 15, 2005


Why would anyone wear a tie in a "business casual environment"? I thought not having to wear a tie was pretty much the definition of business casual.
posted by languagehat at 6:34 AM on August 15, 2005


Hey man, be who you are.
posted by spilon at 6:46 AM on August 15, 2005


Only if you're Andy Sipowicz.
posted by chiababe at 6:55 AM on August 15, 2005


Or in AC/DC.
posted by mkultra at 9:16 AM on August 15, 2005


Well, call me odd but I'm wearing that right now. In fact the shirt I have was definitely designed with tie wearing in mind -- it has buttons to button down the collar flaps.

Now I look like the guy from falling down?

Definitely Cool.
posted by shepd at 9:23 AM on August 15, 2005


You wear a tie in a biz-cas environment to take your look to a more dressy level, important if you have to communicate in person with important people who dress more formally.

Never, never, never, ever wear a short sleeve business shirt under those circumstances. Just don't. As has been explained above, you'll look like shite. Either go higher or lower. Wear a long sleeve collared business shirt, with the sleeves rolled if you want, or go total casual with a polo.

Oh, and unless you don't care how you and your contributions are perceived at work, 'Hey man, just be who you are' has got to be the worst fucking advice I've heard all year.
posted by smellycheese at 11:21 AM on August 15, 2005


It seems to be a pretty popular look around the corridors of the Departments of Labor and Agriculture stil, but even the bean counters in the other government agencies have started looking down on this look. You'll still see an older IRS or SSA agent or some agency finance guy (or occasionally my father-in-law) sporting the short sleeves, and you might see it as part of summer uniform for someone that has to go outside a lot, but I'd say that if you ever appear in public or meet with anyone, this style is as popular and "in" as mesh tanktops and parachute pants.

That's the opinion from DC.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:21 AM on August 15, 2005


Well, call me odd but I'm wearing that right now. In fact the shirt I have was definitely designed with tie wearing in mind -- it has buttons to button down the collar flaps.

That's not the only purpose of those collar buttons. Many (most?) fancy dress shirts don't have collar flap buttons because they're designed to be worn with suit jackets. True "business casual" isn't a suit minus jacket and tie; it's a shirt designed to be worn without a suit and a tie.

I'm with Marge:

Marge gives the family advice on how to behave for the country club.
Marge: Bart, comb your hair. Homer, I don't think you should wear a short-sleeved shirt with a tie.
Homer: But Sipowicz does it.
Marge: If Detective Sipowicz jumped off a cliff, would you do that too?
Homer: Ohh, wish I was Sipowicz.

posted by Saucy Intruder at 11:22 AM on August 15, 2005


Yeah. The buttons are there mainly just to make the collar not flap around all over the place and look sloppy. (I think)
posted by selfnoise at 11:24 AM on August 15, 2005


With or without bowling ball?
posted by buzzman at 11:55 AM on August 15, 2005


Jesus Christ almighty, please don't do this. Maybe if you did it in ironic way mentioned above but seeing as how you've already asked, then no. Roll up your sleeves to just before your elbows if you have to but please don't do this. You might as well go back to wearing pleats, which you're not doing right?
posted by geoff. at 12:23 PM on August 15, 2005


Only if you're either:
  1. A NASA engineer. In the 1970s.
  2. Playing a 1970s NASA engineer in a movie.

posted by kirkaracha at 12:38 PM on August 15, 2005


This is the Dilbert look.
I have been in a Dilbert career for decades now (although to be fair, Wally is the character I resemble more -- in fact, TallWally is always a potential candidate if I need a quick user name) but way back at the beginning, I read something in the Washington Post "Style" section which said 'power people' always wear long sleeves; if it gets too hot, you can always roll 'em up. I adapted this look and periodically, mgmt tries to push me into positions of authority but I've always managed to avoid them, hence I remain Wally rather than joining the pointy-haired boss' clique.

I've been at a site for years now where only upper managers wear neckties, but I still wear my long-sleeved shirts, even button down, with those collars a-flapping.

posted by Rash at 12:46 PM on August 15, 2005


Only if you're either:
A NASA engineer. In the 1970s.
Playing a 1970s NASA engineer in a movie.



...or the manager of a fast-food outlet.
posted by scratch at 12:56 PM on August 15, 2005


No.
posted by justgary at 1:35 PM on August 15, 2005


By the way, the Japanese government recently implemented a no-suit policy this summer, though it seems to emphasize "no tie".
posted by bobo123 at 1:37 PM on August 15, 2005


'Hey man, just be who you are' has got to be the worst fucking advice I've heard all year.

Cool! Shouldn't I get a trophy or something for that?
posted by spilon at 1:41 PM on August 15, 2005


Only if it's freaking hot out and you throw on a suit jacket to hide the lack of sleeves.
posted by dreamsign at 1:42 PM on August 15, 2005


bobo123 writes "the Japanese government recently implemented a no-suit policy this summer"

See if the US would adopt Kyoto all you necktie wearers out there could be released.
posted by Mitheral at 1:55 PM on August 15, 2005


shepd: "Well, call me odd but I'm wearing that right now. In fact the shirt I have was definitely designed with tie wearing in mind -- it has buttons to button down the collar flaps."

Nope. One should never wear a tie with a button down shirt. This is a casual shirt - indeed, the original "polo" shirt - and is not meant for a tie. They also have the unfortunate side effect of bunching up the tie, making it look as though you're carrying a snake under your collar.

And (no)^2 for the short-sleeved and tie combination. This look is reserved for people who also sport the socks and sandals combo. Or work in McDonalds
posted by blag at 2:03 PM on August 15, 2005


Blag, I've heard it's different elsewhere, but in the U.S. execs wear ties with buttondown shirts all the time. In fact, along the Boston/DC corridor, I'd guess that more than 50% of men with business shirts/ties are wearing button-downs.

Spilon: you get a trophy for best attitude. I get ... something ... for being too grumpy. But that wasn't the best advice.
posted by smellycheese at 2:45 PM on August 15, 2005


One should never wear a tie with a button down shirt

Eh? I'm wondering if we have different definitions for a buttondown shirt. Maybe to some, it just means a shirt you button, or button down all the way, as opposed to a rugby or pullover? (I was going to call the half-button deal a polo shirt, but smellycheese's Brooks Bros link calls a regular buttondown a 'polo' -- news to me.)

I go by what they call 'em in the Lands End catalog, where collared shirts are either button-down (their default) or straight -- no buttons. Wearing a tie without buttoning those little collar buttons makes the wearer look half-dressed. Without a tie (my own default) buttoning those little buttons makes the collar look wrong.
posted by Rash at 3:42 PM on August 15, 2005


It's probably acceptable but this is a bad look, if you can avoid it then do so.
posted by oh pollo! at 3:44 PM on August 15, 2005


Button down shirts (of the kind that smellycheese linked to) were originally designed for polo players; the buttons are there to prevent the collar from flapping about as you gallop. They have never been meant for tie-wearing; they are worn open-necked and bare. I don't see how they look wrong without a tie. I almost added an aside to my previous answer: "This [ties with buttondowns] is a look that is, sadly, far too prevalent in the States" but decided that it was unnecessarily inflammatory...

Really, this is just me being overly fastidious. However, if you do insist on dressing down your business attire with buttonned collars, please ensure that you do them up.

There are an awful lot of 'shirt rules' that have been drummed into me by my tailor friend; I'll post those that I can remember if anyone's interested.
posted by blag at 4:41 PM on August 15, 2005


What I have learned today: I should not give corpse advice about what to wear to work.
posted by jennyb at 5:52 PM on August 15, 2005


Ha. I did wear a short sleeve shirt and a tie when I left the house, but I ditched it on the train when I noticed no one else was sporting the look. I'm just horrible about this sort of thing and was trying to at least make some clothing improvements from my last job. Thanks all.
posted by corpse at 6:01 PM on August 15, 2005


corpse: Is it acceptable to wear a short sleeve collared shirt with a tie? Business casual environment.
I think you should also includes pants and shoes in your ensemble, unless it's really casual.

Let me be the quiet voice in the back saying "Why wear business anything"? Unless you're in a customer facing position where a suit and tie are necessary, we should all be pushing for a no-uniform workplace, and the business/business casual uniform is a uniform if it's required. I've never heard of a job where they give you a stipend specifically to buy a workplace-appropriate attire, so why should people spend hard-earned money to outfit themselves in an arbitrarily stuffy manner?

The extreme example of this sort of "norms for norms' sake" is those stories of Gap employees effectively forced into spending their entire paychecks on Gap clothes so as to look like proper Gap employees. "Business casual" is only a matter of degrees different from this.
posted by hincandenza at 6:01 PM on August 15, 2005


I do find it pretty funny how utterly offended some responders got at the very thought of corpse wearing short sleeves and a tie. It's just clothes, ya'll.
posted by jennyb at 6:05 PM on August 15, 2005


Short sleeves and tie is standard businessy attire in Korea and Japan in the summer, for men. I don't do it -- I think it looks a little silly -- but everyone here thinks I am silly for wearing long sleeves and rolling them up if it gets unbearable.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:46 PM on August 15, 2005


Huh, I always thought that button-down referred to the buttons down the front of the shirt. Now I learn that it's actually referrring to the collar being buttoned-down. Fascinating.
posted by smackfu at 7:04 PM on August 15, 2005


He never specified if it was a bow-tie or not. If it's a bow-tie, the long-sleeves will look weird.
posted by angry modem at 7:08 PM on August 15, 2005


No. Good heavens man. No.
posted by dabradfo at 8:09 PM on August 15, 2005


Oh God, no.

For some reason this brings to mind the guy who plays Dr. Cox on Scrubs. Maybe his Office Space character is a short-sleeve/tie guy.
posted by tracicle at 8:48 PM on August 15, 2005


It's probably acceptable, but it looks horrible anywhere outside of the tropics.
posted by bunglin jones at 9:16 PM on August 15, 2005


I'm vaguely charmed by this look, and a little surprised at the disgust it inspires in others.

My father, the engineer, most definitely wore short sleeves, tie, horn rims, and a pocket protector, and he made that shit work.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:12 PM on August 15, 2005


In a business environment, it's worthwhile to at a minimum, appear comfortable and confident in the clothes you chose to wear. Wearing something that inspires cries of "omg geeky" is unlikely to help inspire that confidence.

Somebody wearing short sleeves, a tie, and a shitload of confidence is going to look better than somebody with a brilliantly tailored suit who just wants to change into jeans and a t-shirt.... but finding a reasonable look, that you're also comfortable in, is the key.
posted by mosch at 12:34 AM on August 16, 2005


Only if you work at McDonalds.
posted by fixedgear at 3:26 AM on August 16, 2005


Clearly you and jennyb should move to Korea.
posted by languagehat at 6:34 AM on August 16, 2005


I know everyone will say "You're just buying into the corporate uniform, be yourself blah blah blah." But the real correct answer is to take a look around you at what everyone else wears to your office, then mimic that. Better yet, look at what your boss and other upper management wear, and dress like that. The goal here is not to make a fashion statement, it's to make sure that the way you dress at least doesn't preclude you from being taken seriously and hopefully inspires people to respect you and listen to you. Like mosch said, if you've got confidence (and hopefully some real value to the company to inspire your self confidence) then you can wear whatever you want. On the flip side, however, it sounds like you are a little less than confident (understandable in a new job), so you'll probably do best just trying to blend in with the crowd (in terms of fashion at least).
posted by rorycberger at 10:24 AM on August 16, 2005


Clearly you and jennyb should move to Korea.
posted by languagehat


This would allow me to live my long-time dream of drinking with the wonderchicken...
posted by jennyb at 5:10 PM on August 17, 2005


I'd wear this outfit if it would win me a free trip to Korea to drink with the wonderchicken. Otherwise, no.
posted by Jonasio at 7:31 AM on March 27, 2006


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