Don't know how to tie a tie? WSJ advice guru gives you tips.The short answer is: It depends. We've come a long way from the denim shirts and pleated khakis that were the business-casual uniform dating back to the early 1990s. There is now a wide array of elegant sportswear to choose from, and a versatile wardrobe of jackets with good-looking tops can do double duty at the country club, as well as the office. Long-sleeved shirts in bold shades, bright stripes or subtle patterns look good without a tie. Knitwear doesn't have to look sloppy. Opt for body-conscious turtlenecks, polos and T-shirts in fine gauge knits in silk, rayon or cashmere.
Don't forget that regional nuances and customs associated with certain professions factor in. Coats and ties are still always appropriate in New York, Boston and Washington, D.C., for example. Conversely, in the Sunbelt or in computer-technology professions, the laid-back norm calls for polo shirts and slacks. As for jewelry: Hip, young guys in creative fields like to sport a silver or titanium charm on a black rubber pendant.
Don't forget that skipping the tie doesn't mean looking like you're out running Saturday morning errands. Strive to look polished; your pants and jackets should be tailored to fit. And accessories count for a lot. Your belt shouldn't look worn, and your shoes -- never white sneakers -- should always be shined.
Steer clear of sandals that flip-flop, tank tops, hoodies and skin tight or super baggy styles, and any top with a big logo. Keep in mind that a job interview is no place to experiment: Play it safe in a suit or a sportcoat with a tie. More...