DRESSING ETIQUETTE: BUSINESS CASUAL - BE CAREFUL IT ISN’T A HOLIDAY ON THE BEACH.

More and more offices are moving toward “business casual” in place of suits, but the rules are often not very clearly defined. Even experienced professionals sometimes have trouble deciding what’s appropriate. So, this post is going to help you!

 

Men

• Casual does not mean sloppy! Whatever you wear should be clean, pressed, and in good condition. Check regularly for missing buttons, dangling threads, and signs of wear and tear. 

Long-sleeved oxford shirts in solid colors are a safe bet. In a very casual environment, polo shirts (not wrinkled), may be acceptable. Do not wear loud print shirts or T-shirts advertising your favorite restaurant. Always tuck your shirt in. 

If your company is more “business” than “casual”, tailored pants and a sport coat or a sweater is appropriate. This is not as formal as a suit, but dressier than khakis. 

• Don’t wear athletic shoes, sandals, or boots. 

Wear a belt that matches your shoes. 

When in doubt, be conservative. In the workplace it’s essential to appear professional if you wish to be treated as a professional. 

Remember that it’s easier to move from a conservative look to a more casual one than the other way around. See what other people in your office are wearing to get a clearer idea of what is acceptable. Pay attention to how your boss dresses; successful people tend to look the part. 

 

Women

• Casual does not mean sloppy! Whatever you wear should be clean, pressed, and in good condition. Check for missing buttons, dangling threads, and signs of wear and tear. 

If you choose to wear a skirt, stay away from short hemlines, high slits, and anything tight. Take the “sit” test; try the skirt on in front of a mirror and sit, cross your legs, stoop, reach and do anything you would do during the course of a normal day. Check to make sure you’re not showing too much leg and that you’ll be comfortable wearing this item. 

Sweater sets and tailored shirts are a safe bet. Avoid anything sheer, tight, or low-cut, just as you would when preparing for an interview; unlike an interview, you have more room to experiment with colors and patterns. Remember the general rule: If something looks like you could wear it to the bar, you probably shouldn’t wear it to work. 

Don’t wear athletic shoes, sandals, or trendy styles like platform shoes. 

• You can be more creative with your accessories when dressing in business casual, but don’t be extreme; your 15 bracelets shouldn’t clank together every time you move your arms, for example. How much flexibility you have with wardrobe details like this will depend a great deal on what industry you work in. 

• When in doubt, be more conservative - have we reinforced that yet? This isn’t the most fun or glamorous wardrobe imaginable and it might not express your personal style, but it’s essential to appear professional if you wish to be treated as a professional. 

• Remember that it’s easier to move from a conservative look to a more casual one than the other way around. See what other people in your office are wearing to get a clearer idea of what is acceptable. Pay attention to how your boss dresses; Successful people tend to look the part. 

 

Below some inspirations!