Enjoying the laid-back office look

“It’s ridiculous,” says Susan Whitten, managing director of organic and healthy foods and in-the-moment foods for Whole Foods, “that we still have to put on these clothes to go in the office, no matter how casual it’s gotten. I personally don’t bring my clothes to work at all, and I think a lot of us don’t even own them. All you need is an outfit, and then the next day, everyone can go to work in their work clothes.

“All the benefits of having it be a little more casual are really just self-empowerment,” Ms. Whitten adds. “You can trust yourself to look professional, but you also know you can change your mind. You’re not walking in on the boss glaring at you if you’re a little bit baggy today. It’s also just fun, which is why younger people are so excited about it.”

Some more etiquette tips:

No dress codes. “Lots of workplaces don’t have formal dress codes,” says Samantha Patrick, deputy editor at ShopClues.com, “but if people are behaving as they should, nothing needs to be defined.”

Slip rules. What happens when both colleagues on a team are dressed in the same outfit, however? “If everyone is crossing their arms with slacks and polo shirts, you won’t get excluded from the conversation,” says Ms. Patrick. “When there’s ‘slip into the conversation,’ people get into it. The other person will definitely invite them over for drinks and take them out to eat or join them for an office party.”

The right purse or pouch. No one should wear a giant bag to work, the rules say, but a laptop bag or clutches won’t let your hands slip off the keyboard. It’s less common, Ms. Patrick adds, to see people wearing a tea or coffee pot as a purse, but “it’s always a good idea to have a perfect, stylish accessory in your hand for touching up or using.”

Face it: This doesn’t make for fun Fridays. And don’t come in for a coffee and find the office doesn’t even have an open beer tap. Your conduct will be critical to your overall performance.

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