It’s possible that dress code boundaries today have become more muddled than ever – cue business casual, the most confusing dress code ever invented. I am often guilty of ignoring the idea of dress code appropriate dressing but living in the UK always reminds me that there are such things as ‘dinner jackets’. Still, more and more occasions are now deemed suitable for smart casual dressing, including workspaces. Great, right?
However, no matter how wide spread business casual has become, most people would still steer away from jeans when putting on their work/formal attire. It seems like no matter what, there will always be a stigma associated to denim in a serious environment, a moral code that deems it ‘risky’.
Excluding rips and tears, patchwork and a rise so low it would show your butt crack, most jeans are just trousers made of denim. So why should a cigarette pant be acceptable but a cigarette fit jean not when the only thing differentiating them is the material?
Jeans can very much be seen as the friends with benefits of clothes. On the one hand, they are casual enough to be paired with a sweatshirt, ready to be worn at home with no make-up whilst eating pizza. On the other hand, they hold enough potential when worn with heels and a smart top to be taken out to dinner. All of this whilst allowing you to feel comfortable and putting no pressure on handling them with care to avoid wrinkles and stains.
It’s sad to still be caught in this old-fashioned idea that jeans can’t be elegant or reasonably formal when we are encouraged to be so open minded in every other area of our lives. I say we push towards breaking the stigma around jeans and emphasise the meaning of the term casual in ‘business casual’. So on my first day at my new internship I didn’t only wear jeans, I wore mum jeans and felt great. I also put on a bedazzled turtleneck just to add the elegant factor in somewhere. I know I have seen my fair share of articles that try to teach you how to dress for work whilst being fashionable but forget about the work part after the first tip, rendering the whole article useless because all of the outfits are slightly too out there for work. So I admit it, mum jeans might be a bit out there but, hey, I was trying to make a statement for the sake of this article. However, if you are in a more formal environment that still allows for business casual, don’t be afraid to pair your dark wash jeans with a smart blazer and elegant flats for a smart business outfit.
At the end of the day, there should be nothing wrong with jeans, nor anything that would make you less smart, dedicated or formal in your job by wearing them. Labels are beginning to be out-dated so, as long as your bottoms are not offensive or inappropriate in the wider context, it shouldn’t matter whether they are chinos, palazzo pants or jeans. So let’s stand up for jeans.
Disclaimer: I should emphasise that I do not believe that jeans should be worn in every office environment, merely in the ones that adopt a business casual attire. In a very formal business environment you might want to stick to your two piece suits.