I am a student going to a meeting with an industry partner (they provide a project akin to work experience).

I received an email from them stating:

Wednesday is fine. I have booked a meeting for 2pm in our office, 1234

Street, #####. Parking is limited, but the #### bus stops at (roughly across the road). We dress casual.

What does "We dress casual mean?"

closed as not a real question by CincinnatiProgrammer, jcmeloni, squeemish, Rhys, Rarity Mar 11 '13 at 19:03

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  • 6
    What country? What industry? That can affect things. – enderland Mar 11 '13 at 13:33
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    and what job... A marketing job or management job in a software company you'd expect a suit without tie as being casual, a programmer in that same company'd wear jeans and a T-shirt... – jwenting Mar 11 '13 at 13:36
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    When in doubt, it is almost always better to overdress a little than to underdress. – Kevin Mar 11 '13 at 18:40

My interpretation of this would "business casual". In my experience (western culture) this means a mode of dressing a step down from what I'll call business formal (suit and tie for men). A male - which you appear to be from your profile - dressing business casual would wear a collared shirt (golf/polo-style okay usually) and khaki-style pants. A dress shirt and tie would probably be okay, especially for a first meeting. However, a suit would be too dressy and blue jeans and tee shirt would be too "casual". Your shoes should not be athletic shoes, but don't need to be dress shoes either.

That said, it is impossible to be certain without confirming with them. Some places consider "casual" to be anything goes, including blue jeans (or even shorts) and tee shirts, so it would probably be good to clarify.


In this context, "casual dress" means:

  • It's not a black tie event.
  • But don't dress as if you just rolled out of bed or are planning to head to the gym.
  • Dress "nicely" (whatever that means to you) but don't feel compelled to "dress to the nines".

You see the term "casual dress" is almost purposely ambiguous so as to leave everyone a little wiggle room and discretion so that everyone can feel relaxed.

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