Business-casual is a term used to describe a type of office dress code or clothing style that’s more relaxed for business than the traditional professional wear.
The easiest way to think of the business-casual look is as a fusion of business professional and casual wear. This look could mean different things to different people and depends on the company’s formal dress conduct, but mostly for women that work in creative companies and have less strict dress codes it’s easier to incorporate casual items into office wears.
Dressing for work in such a flexible environment can be tricky, as it seems easy and that’s why a lot of people get it wrong. No matter your work responsibility, you should always aim to look professionally dressed. However, a strapless sundress with flip-flops is not work appropriate as you should dress the way you intend to be addressed.
Below are some ideas and tips on how to pull off this look successfully. Remember, is business-casual and not casual-business.
Understand your workplace’s definition of Business casual
The interpretation of business-casual could vary at different industries. It’s important to study your work’s culture and know the level of business casual that is acceptable. For some it could mean a button-down shirt with pants or knee-length gown with blazers. Or it could mean a neat pair of ballet flats and vibrant graphic prints, and this especially applies in a more relaxed work environment such as a media agency. Understanding where your company stands with their dress-code can give you a better sense of judgment on how to dress for work.
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Make sure your clothing and shoes are comfortable
The more comfortable you feel in your dress, the more confident you are. Make sure that both dress and shoes fit well, not too tight and not too loose.
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It will be wise to have a majority of your business-casual outfits in neutral colors: black, white, brown, gray, navy, and beige. Wool, cotton, silk, linen and lacy fabrics are appropriate and easy to care for. In addition, to show your style personality and keep from being boring you can occasionally add a little pop of color to your outfits, starting with simple pieces in neutral.
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Light jewelry and decent makeup
You don’t have to go overboard with the informal look. One of the common mistakes women make is not paying attention to the details, especially with their makeup and accessories. Ladies, it is a professional work environment, not a girls’ night out, so go minimal with both and let your outfit make all the statement instead. When you work for an organization, you represent them. Your appearance could change how a client feels about the brand, for better or worse.
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Don’t be afraid of prints. Structured patterns and sophisticated prints are the way to go for the business-casual look. Pinstripe, polka dots, floral, windowpane, a jewel tone or herringbone pattern prints are all great but if you’re wearing them use subtle jewelry; when wearing simple outfits you can use bold statements jewelry. Don’t wear both – choose one or the other.
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Classic jacket or blazer
Finally, business-casual is all about a neat look. A classic jacket or blazer is a fun way to upgrade and spice up your business casual look. Layer it over a tank-top, t-shirt, blouse, or jumpsuit. And if you want to try something a tad different, try a colorful pant suit, very classic.
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