People are more productive when they are more comfortable, and these days businesses have caught onto this concept and loosened their ties with regards to work attire. “Business casual” is the term to describe how many companies expect their employees to dress- but it can be a confusing area to navigate when you want to dress a few steps down from formal business attire, but definitely don’t want to be the office slob in jeans or a T-shirt. What exactly “goes” when business casual is the code? Here are some tips to help:
Crisp/Neat When dressing business casual, always err more on the side of “business” than “casual.” There’s no more time to be concerned with appearances than during working hours, and unfortunately women face more risks than men when it comes to potential fashion faux pas in the workplace. Fair or not, employees, bosses and co-workers are often judged based on appearance and a sloppy effort will score negative points. Remember that business casual means a professional, neat appearance with full coverage, but leaves room for some fun with colors and funky jewelry or other expressive accessorizing.
Skirts/Dresses Skirts and dresses are always appropriate in a business casual situation, as long as the hem is below the knee and you avoid any distracting high cuts. If unsure, go with black or grey as they are the most formal. Jersey dresses are a good pick with a cardigan over the top.
Pants Opt for khaki, linen or dress pants along with a nice top for a perfectly acceptable business casual look. A classic pantsuit paired with a beautiful blouse is an ideal outfit for a business casual office. Stay away from jeans unless your office allows them on Friday, and even then leave the distressed, tight or low-cut pair at home.
Shirts Women have tons of options for shirts in a business casual environment, but it’s still a good idea to err on the side of more conservative. You can pick from blouses, V-necks, button-ups, cotton shirts, sweaters, turtlenecks and sleeveless shirts (alone or with a cardigan.) You can wear unusual prints as long as the pattern and colors aren’t too wild.
Shoes/Accessories You probably have a bit of leeway with footwear, as long as you stay away from super-casual flip-flops or sneakers. Flats, small to medium heels and open-toed shoes are generally safe bets. Some unique jewelry or a scarf is generally fine with a business casual look; take advantage of the freedom to express yourself!