Style trends change with the times. It is the nature of human dress. Look throughout history and you can see how fashions have changed from one period to the next. Be that as it may, changing trends don’t justify every fashion choice. A case in point is designating the sweatshirt as business casual attire.
No doubt business attire has changed over the years. It has certainly become more relaxed. As recently as the 1980s, office workers wouldn’t even think about wearing anything less than ties and jackets for the men and dresses or skirts and blouses for the women. Today’s business environment is a lot less formal.
Does that mean sweatshirts count is business casual? Absolutely not. Here are five reasons why:
1. Business Requires a Different Mindset
Breaking down business casual reveals that the ‘business’ element comes first. It is first because it’s the more important of the two descriptors. A business setting is still a business setting regardless of how people dress. Moreover, business itself requires a different mindset.
Time spent at work is not leisure time. It is time for doing work on behalf of your employer. Collared shirts and khakis are perfectly suited for such an environment. Sweatshirts, because they denote leisure activity, are not. Sweatshirts are for relaxing at home and going out with friends. They are not for the office.
2. Sweatshirts Reflect the Casual Attitude
Along those same lines, sweatshirts reflect a casual attitude. That is not the type of attitude employers expect workers to have in the office. Employers do not want their workers casually approaching their daily tasks. They want them to be all business, for all hours of the workday.
3. Sweatshirts Can Give the Wrong Impression
Next up, sweatshirts can give the wrong impression when dealing with potential clients or overseas coworkers. The fact is that different cultures perceive the business setting in different ways. Since you never know what you’re going to run into when interacting with people outside the office, there’s always the chance that your attire could give the impression that you’re not all business. It is an image thing. And unfortunately, a sweatshirt does not fit well with the business image.
4. Graphics Are Never Businesslike
While every sweatshirt is questionable in the business casual setting, graphic sweatshirts are definitely not okay. Graphics scrawled across the chest are in no way businesslike. They are a distraction, at best. At worst, graphics can create contention.
You can find a lot of graphic sweatshirts that are perfect for home and leisure. LatinX sweatshirts from New York’s Plurawl brand are the perfect example. Yet they don’t qualify as business casual. They are casual, but they are not businesslike.
5. They Don’t Work in More Formal Settings
Finally, sweatshirts don’t qualify as business casual because they don’t work in more formal settings. In other words, you might dress in a collared shirt and khakis most of the time. If you ever have to pop into an important meeting with a potential new client, you have a tie and jacket in your office. You throw them on and off you go.
You cannot do that if you are wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. A potential client who stops in unexpectedly may be shocked when you walk into the conference room dressed as you are.
This entire discussion may seem outdated and stuffy to you. That is understandable given how often the modern culture wears sweatshirts and hoodies. Still, business standards do not yet accept sweatshirts as business casual attire. That may change in the future but, for now, that’s the way it is.