Q.: Karen, our office has a jeans day every Friday, but I don't like wearing jeans because I don't find them comfortable. And I don't think they are appropriate in some of the work situations I find myself in. If I don't wear jeans, will I come off as not being a team player?
A.: When you are choosing your clothes for the day you should always consider where your day will take you and dress accordingly. Just because it's jeans day in your office doesn't mean it is in other places of business or with your clients. What you do and how you feel in particular clothing should trump the relaxed attire guideline. Maybe you can dress down a bit from your usual attire, but still stay within your comfort zone. The fact that you are questioning whether jeans are right for you or not says to me, they are wrong for you. As far as you not being a team player — if someone questions why you aren't wearing jeans, just tell them you are not comfortable in them.
The business casual attire can be damaging to how your company is perceived, especially if you work in a serious field such as law or finance. Just because something is popular doesn't make it right or a good idea to embrace. Your clothing has a language all its own and should be considered carefully when changing dress guidelines for your company.
Regardless of what field you work in, here is my list of things that should not be worn to work:
•Exercise clothes, unless you work at a fitness center.
•Hoodies, even if they have your company logo on them.
•Sweat shirts and fleece tops.
•Flip flops, unless you are a lifeguard.
•Shorts, unless you work for a lawn service, and then they should be an appropriate length.
•Capri pants regardless of whether they come with a jacket.
•Crocs (they are yard shoes).
•Low-cut tops on women.
When in doubt about what to wear, err on the side of dressing up rather than down. If you are dressed down, there is no place else to go from there.