So you have just received your offer to a new job and are over the moon! Your first day is next week and you’re so excited to start this new chapter. The only problem is the work uniform is business casual, and as this is your first corporate job, you have no idea what that means! This Business Kitz blog is going to guide you through what exactly business casual is, and provide you with some clarity on what is acceptable.
What is business casual?
A business casual dress code can be confusing as there’s no official definition for what it is. Business casual apparel blends well-fitting, sophisticated work wear with casual elements—think blouses, polo shirts, button-downs, chinos, dress trousers, dark-wash jeans, and polished, practical footwear. Business casual falls between dressy casual (jeans and blouses) and business casual on the formality scale (dress pants and long skirts). Pairing pieces with somewhat varying formality levels, such as neutral dress pants with a colourful sweater or a polished jacket over a playful shirt, is a typical method to produce a business casual look.
A guide for women:
Choose blouses with fascinating features, collared shirts, or button-ups with short or long sleeves for a sophisticated casual style. You may dress up your shirt by layering it with a jacket. Bright colours are okay but don’t overdo they can come across as too casual. Cotton T-shirts or tops with large-printed images or phrases should be avoided.
Chinos, silk pants, or dress pants are excellent choices for a sophisticated, casual appearance. Dark-wash denim jeans are okay, but they must be fitted and clean-cut. Flowy skirts and pencil skirts are also good, but skirts with formal elements like pinstripes should be avoided as they may make the outfit look too casual.
Ballet flats, white sneakers, loafers and boots work well to achieve a business casual look. If you choose to wear heels, consider dressing the outfit down, by pairing them with jeans to balance the look. Running shoes and rubber sandals should be avoided as they are too casual. It is also important to ensure that all shoes are clean and scuff-free.
Keeping accessories simple and dainty is a really easy way to achieve a business casual look. This could consist of a pair of simple gold or silver earrings, delicate necklaces, bracelets, and professional watches that are also useful to achieve the desired look.
A guide for men:
Button-down shirts, both short or long sleeves, are an excellent choice for a sophisticated casual dress. Wear bright colours with caution. For added formality, layer a jacket or sport coat over a shirt, but avoid ties. A polo shirt can be a decent alternative on less formal days, but matching it with casual slacks may be too casual.
For this dress code, a pair of chinos, dress pants, or slacks are a good choice. You may also wear well-tailored, dark-wash jeans without showing any evidence of wear.
Loafers and leather tie-up shoes are excellent fine casual shoe alternatives. A nice clean neutral pair of Nike, Vans, Adidas, Tommy Hilfiger or Veja shoes are more casual options. Shoes for casual wear, such as running shoes should be avoided. Shoes should be scuff-free and clean.
Keeping it simple with accessories can assist in achieving business casual attire. A statement watch or bracelet is also helpful in dressing up an outfit.
These are just recommendations and our interpretation of what business casual is. If you’re still unsure, you can always ask either your employee directly or fellow employees, for more guidance. It’s always handy to also follow people on social media who post business casual outfit inspiration or Pinterest is another great source of inspiration.
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