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CINCINNATI - If you take a look around The Powerhouse Factory, a marketing agency in Mount Adams, the look is young and hip, with lots of open space.
At dunnhumbyUSA, there are no offices and no rigid dress code. Allen Zink is Vice President of Global Learning. I asked him if there is a culture that goes along with casual dress.
Zink said, "I think so, there's a comfort level, it creates a more open environment."
Think how our work culture has changed since the '60s, the suit-and-tie era glamorized by the TV show "Mad Men." Now our business icons are the late Steve Jobs with his turtleneck and the T-shirt-clad Mark Zuckerberg.
"I think when you're Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg, you can do whatever you want, but we're not there yet," said image consultant Jill Haney.
"How we dress at work is a strong reflection of how we feel about our work. You want to keep that in mind. What do you want to be known for?" Haney added.
Haney says just because you "can" wear something to work doesn't mean you should.
"I love denim, but denim at work has created a real conundrum. Because people are breaking out their 20-year-old Levis."
Emily Worstell is a fashion blogger and trend-caster at Powerhouse. She knows the fine points of denim.
"So there are jeans and then there are jeans?" I asked.
"There are weekend jeans, and then there are week-DAY jeans," said Worstell.
Worstell''s boss, Nancy Koors, understands the importance of image.
Koors said, "We try to live our brand thru our open work space, type of work, clients, and definitely dress is part of that."
But the goal is to create an atmosphere.
"Relaxed and comfortable. It doesn't feel like work. It feels like an extension of life versus I'm going to work," Koors said.
Zink at dunnhumby agrees, but cautions: "There are some limitations as to how casual is casual."
Experts advise anyone starting at a new workplace to look around at what fits in at your office. If you deal with clients, consider what makes them comfortable, and then consider what image you want to project.
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