If you are reading this guide, it is likely due to the ambiguous nature of the business casual dressing that you have come to realize. It would have been easier to just define the business-casual wear and give its meaning. But it varies across industries and workplaces and is also largely dependent on the kind of people you are going to meet and the office culture. This makes it a little bit difficult to know just what to wear for your business casual dressing.
On a general note though, business casual dressing refers to a watered-down version of the normal professional business dressing. For instance, normal business attire would include a suit and tie. But if you are going to go business casual, you can decide to do without the tie, or take off your blazer. You might also be allowed to roll your sleeves up a little. You can also decide to wear chinos trousers instead of your suit trouser if your workplace permits it.
To help you decide on your business casual dressing, you can consider how you are dressed after the major working periods at work. If you close by 5 pm daily, it is unlikely that you still have your tie up your neck, or your jacket on by 4.40 pm. You are probably with a loosened tie or without a tie at all, and your blazer is probably hanging across your chair. You have taken a break from the professional business dressing, and you are most likely business casual at that moment without even realizing it. However, you should know that you can’t have your tie hanging around your neck in the name of “business casual.” That would be removing the business in it. But you can do without the tie completely.
One thing that you have to note though, is the fact that your dress style reflects your personal brand. So, even if you are dressing business casual, it should be totally consistent with who you are.
Understanding Business Casual Outfits
Tone down on your office wears a little
This is the best way to help you understand what business casual outfits really are. The difference between a business outfit and a business casual outfit is “casual.” In truth, according to an article in the best essay writing service, they are both business outfits, the word “casual” means that you can tone down on the business wear ‘a little.’
This is one mistake that many people make when they wear business casual outfits, they lean more towards casual wear than the business wears. An example of a business casual outfit is wearing a blazer separately from the suit. It appears less formal than putting on the full suite.
The point in business casual wear is for you to dress and feel more relaxed than business wear. If you are wearing a blazer, wear one that is unstructured and without shoulder pads or very little padding. A little shorter blazer is also casual.
Dos and Don’ts of Business Casual Wears
The only way to easily get it right with your business casual wear is to understand the do’s and don’ts of the outfit – or better still what is expected of you and what is not.
- Wear only business: business casual wear is more like the midpoint between business wear and casual wear. So, if you are in doubt about what you are wearing, it is better to play safe and wear something formal. You can wear your normal shoes if you doubt that your trainers are business casual. You can as well put on your tie if you aren’t sure about the absence of a tie. As the old saying goes: it is better safe than sorry.
- Dress appropriately: according to Sir Hardy Amies, a legendary designer, in an article for some dissertation writing services, the appropriate business casual wear will depend on where you work. Business casual for a law firm would most probably not be the same for a tech startup. Whatever it is that you are wearing though, make sure you nail it. Even if it involves something as simple as a t-shirt, make sure it is not stained or worn. Make it pristine.
- Mix textures: business casual wear allow you to mix the texture of your outfit. You can wear silk ties, poplin shirts, or wool. This gives a casual feel than wearing just one type of texture.
- Know your schedule: this one is expected of you if you are deciding to go business casual, except it is general for everyone. Check your schedule and be sure that you are not meeting with any external clients or your company’s top boss at least. But just in case, you may want to carry a blazer along. Remember, it is better to be safe…
- Add attachments: attachments are not meant for only business outfits. There is nothing wrong with you carrying a beautiful leather bag or donning a nice metal wristwatch. It only adds some flavor to the dressing.
- Wear only casual: never try this at all. Do not even let it cross your mind. Casual outfits are not even ideal for a dinner party or a high school prom, how much more a workplace. It is better to overdress (do much more than is expected) than to do less. I would personally prefer to be laughed at for overkilling my outfit in an interview that allows business casual than to feel embarrassed by my totally casual wear.
- Dress inappropriately: an inappropriate dress might depend on what your company policy is for a business casual outfit. So, it might be a good idea to relate to your HR on this one. Whatever the case may be, try not to show your tattoos or unbutton your cuffs.
- Mix athleisure with business: whether or not you are allowed to put on sporty wear, sweatshirts, and trainers will depend on your workplace (this is exactly why the business casual outfit is so ambiguous). It is another issue you might want to sort out with your HR so you do not get queried. However, as a general rule of thumb, you can’t wear anything that you can comfortably work out in.
- Approach your dressing casually: the major reason for introducing a business casual outfit for work is for workers to be freer at work and to increase productivity. But when workers start to approach their dressing casually, they are more likely to approach work the same way. In the end, they will not be so productive.
- Stop being corporate: business casual wears tone down “a little” on business wear (emphasis on “a little”). It does not permit you to wear just anything. How would you feel seeing your employees wear flip flops around your office if you were the boss?
Major Pieces for the Business Casual Outfit
Chinos: since the pamphlet on business casual was written, and the beginning of business casual dressing, there have been a lot of changes to the dress style. However, chinos have remained all the while. This trouser type, made from military uniform, never appears too casual or ever out of order. They are in many ways, unlike jeans.
There is however an exception to this, which is the light-colored chinos. According to various authors who like to write your term paper, state in their fashion reviews that darker trousers are safer, dressier, elongating, and slims better.
If there is one thing that we can all agree with when it comes to business casual outfits is that suits are business outfits and not business casual outfits. So, suits are not so universal – not anymore. However, they are still the most common proof that you are either going to work or at work (except you are going for an interview as well). These days people prefer to wear just the blazers and not the whole suits, especially since we are dealing a lot with business casual dressing.
Blazers are known to be more casual than the regular suit. But an unstructured blazer? It is even more casual than the normal one, especially the knitted versions in sweat shirt-style jerseys. Since the unstructured blazers are built to appear more like jackets than tailored blazers, you can wear them on trainers, jeans, and T-shirts to give them a more business-like look.
In fact, stiff professions such as law and banking are also starting to ditch the padding, and are tending towards much softer dressing.
Whether business or business casual, it is impossible to talk about male dressing without mentioning shirts. Oxford button-down shirts are even more suitable with the business casual outfit and appear well with jeans and chinos.
However, you must consider the soft collar. There are some that are narrower and appear to be more contemporary. These ones are not ideal for thick ties. If you do not plan to wear any ties, however, then it is fine. Otherwise, it reduces your versatility. If the tails of the shirt are also too short, it would be hard or even impossible for you to tuck it in, especially if you are going for a dressier look. However, if it’s too long as well, then you might appear too dressy if you do not tuck in.
If there is any dress at all that typifies what is known as the business casual outfit, then it has to be the polo shirt. Polo shirts alongside chinos epitomize what business casual is.
As it combines collar and is partly buttoned, it appears somewhere in-between the casual t-shirt and the business shirts. But the fact that it has a sporting pedigree makes it a little bit closer to casual t-shirts.
Poll shirts that come in long sleeves actually appear a lot more appropriate for offices than those in short sleeves. If you are wearing one with a logo, you should make sure that the logo is a small chest emblem, so you do not go about your office working for another company.
Wearing a business casual outfit to your workplace might depend a lot more on your office than the outfit. What is acceptable in one industry or company as a business casual might not be acceptable in another. That is why it is so difficult to define what business casual wear really is. But for a little bit of understanding, it is something a little less formal than your formal wear.
As an ‘office person,’ you have to avoid dressing casually to work in the name of being “business casual.” So, understand how it applies to your workplace. Generally, flip flops, shorts, and tight clothes are considered casual.