“Business casual sounds like a breeze. After all, with this dress code, you won’t have to worry about what to wear to work, right?”, the answer is actually no (TheBalanceCareers). When going to an interview or work, it can be hard to decide what to wear. It is important to present yourself as a professional. First impressions are very important, and with that comes what you wear. Our appearance can tell a lot about ourselves to others around us. Many people get confused with what business casual means, so this blog is a resource to help you define what business casual means, and provides examples of what you should and should not do.

What is Business Casual?

“Business casual is typically defined as no jeans, no shorts, no short dresses or skirts for women, optional ties for men, and a rotation of button-downs or blouses”(TheStreet). But this definition is very broad and can lead to more confusion. We need to break this down, and to start we will talk about business casual for men.

Business Casual for Men

Business casual for men follows the rules of no jeans, graphic tees, shorts, and flip-flops. Basically, if you would wear it to the beach or the mall, then you probably should not wear it in a business casual setting. Put simply, business casual is “far more “‘business’ than it is ‘casual’”(ManofMany). Proper attire for a shirt would include a button-down dress shirt, with or without a collar. This also is similar to a blazar, adding one will definitely not hurt. When it comes to a tie, especially paired with a business blazar, this falls more into the business professional category and is not a requirement for business casual. Understanding the difference between the two is important. For bottoms, some workplaces allow nice jeans, but the emphasis is on nice. You would not wanna wear the same jeans you do yard work in. A safe bet is to go with a nice pair of trousers if you are unsure. For shoes, this is pretty simple and you will just want to pair your outfit with a nice pair of dress shoes. Check out the example below:

Business Casual for Women

Business casual gets a little more complicated for women. The same rules apply in relation to shorts, t-shirts, and flipflops, as well as having an emphasis on business and not casual. The reason business casual can be harder for women is because there is not a clear image for what that means like there is for men. Women can wear a dress or skirt, but the length should not be short. If the length reaches your knee area or lower than that is appropriate. For a top, a nice dress top or blouse that is not low cut is recommended. You can also pair your outfit with a blazer and modest jewlery. For shoes there are a few options including flats, modest heels, or nice boots. Here are some examples:

For more info on what business casual means check out these articles and video: