September 22, 2023

Business casual attire is a great way to keep comfortable in the work environment. The guidelines and definition for what can be construed as business casual can differ from company to company. Despite that, many rules and guidelines can be interpreted as universal when selecting and wearing casual clothing in business settings. In this article, we will go over some basic guidelines for choosing a Business Casual Attire suitable for office space.

What does Business Casual mean?

Defining Business Casual Attire is not a very easy task. The definition of what and what is not casual for business depends on where and whom you work for. Simply put, it can be defined as a blend of casual clothing with traditional business attire allowing comfort for the wearer while still maintaining the decorum and professionalism demanded of the workspace.

Some companies might have a strict dress code altogether while others might take a more relaxed approach and allow casual dressing with a business casual dress code. Even then there is a fine line between business and business casual that you must tread carefully.

What is Business Casual Dressing – Some Ideas

Following are some ideas and options that one can go for and integrate into their business outfit to be more comfortable and casual while maintaining a professional look.

Business Casual Attire Options for Men

Business Casual Attire Options for Men
  • Business dress pants, slacks, khaki, or chinos with a belt. The jury is still out on whether to wear jeans. Most companies do not allow wearing jeans in the workspace.
  • Casual button-down shirt or collared shirt.
  • Boots, loafers, oxford or derby shoes with socks. Although mostly discouraged, sports shoes can be worn if the particular business allows it.
  • Blazers or sports coats and ties are optional.
  • For the winter season, wear a sweater or a cardigan over your casual button-down or collared shirt.

Business Casual Dressing Options for Women

Business Casual Dressing Options for Women
  • Blouses (collared or non-collared), button-down shirts.
  • Slacks or pants, knee-length skirts. Again, jeans can be worn only if your company allows it.
  • Max-dresses or knee-length dresses.
  • For footwear, choose from boots, loafers, pumps, and oxford shoes. Some businesses also allow open-toed shoes in the summer months.
  • Modest jewelry, scarves, or belts can also be worn.
  • For the winter season, cardigans, sweaters, blazers, or sports coats.

What Not to Wear as Part of Business Casual Dressing

Many options are part of business casual attire but still, but some casual clothing items still cannot and should not be worn in a professional environment. These clothing items and footwear do not exude the level of professionalism with the casualness that the above-mentioned items have. 

Generally, the clothing you usually wear to a beach, trip, gym, nightclub, etc. should not be part of your business casual outfit. Following are some of the items that men and women should avoid wearing in the business and office environment.

  • Tank tops, clothing with inappropriate texts, pictures, or logos.
  • Cold-shoulder tops, low-cut tops, and backless tops.
  • Shorts.
  • Wrinkled or stained clothing.
  • Too tight or too loose clothing.
  • Ripped clothing or clothing with holes.
  • Flip-flops, tennis shoes, sneakers.

Business casual attire is a very tricky thing to deal with as each company has its own set of rules and guidelines concerning dress code in the work environment. Make sure that you are well aware of all the rules set by the human resources department before creating a business casual outfit for yourself. You can also take hints and tips from what your colleagues are wearing and can match your attire accordingly.

Business casual attire is not that difficult to put together. Just make sure to follow your employer’s guidelines and put together a good, comfortable, business-casual outfit that radiates professionalism while still not compromising your personal comfort in the workspace.

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