I got a good question on this post regarding the transition from office to field attire in the same day. Guys have it easy in this respect because even if they work in a formal environment, they can just wear khakis to work and then lose the tie/roll up the sleeves and not look ridiculous if they have to run out to do something "clean" in the field (grab some equipment, meet someone, etc).
I have to admit that when I'm in this situation (and it comes up relatively frequently in my case, because I run out to meet clients or regulators on site walks/inspections/technical reviews), I dress kind of like a guy for the day. I am not at all a polo wearer normally, but I do have some company branded polos that fit ok and don't look sloppy untucked (nothing looks right tucked in for me), and I have a pair of boot-cut khakis that fit over steel-toe boots. The khakis are from Gap (from like 10 years ago so they're totally out of fashion) and they're more of an office style than a "jeans" style (flat pockets, a bit drapey, etc), so they're more formal than just jeans. If it's cold out, then I can wear a nice office appropriate top, because if I'm in the field I'm going to wear a jacket anyway.This is going to sound kind of silly, but last time I needed to buy
steel-toe boots, I deliberately picked a pair that were dark brown and
had kind of a nice finish so that they went well with khakis.
I actually work in a relatively formal office, but the corporate branded polo (or cardigan) + khakis or dark jeans says "I would not dress like this normally, but I am going to a site". If the office is very formal, one could wear steel-toe boots with this the whole day (ugh. who wants to wear their boots more than absolutely necessary) to give the impression "I am just here briefly before I do fieldwork". Even in a formal office, an environmental consulting firm will an exception for people who are running to the field.