Dress Codes for Business Casual
Business casual is a term with many different interpretations, however the meaning of business casual dress code generally remains the same. Business casual dress code is typically defined as any casual, light weighted dress normally worn in the workplace or other business environment, which makes a statement without appearing to be dictated by convention or by social mores. Essentially business casual dress code breaks all ties with the traditional forms of dress worn in the formal evening and business meetings. Business casual clothing can be worn with the same informal elegance as formal attire, however, the informal nature of business casual clothing is not reflected in its wear or colour. The term is loosely applied to cover a range of situations and is usually used in a highly informal context.
It is this ambiguous usage that produces the range of varied and seemingly meaningless business casual attire, which in fact gives it its own “personality”. Commonly used terms for business casual attire include business suit, white shirts with ties, khakis, dress trousers, skirt and leggings. Business casual clothing is not just limited to the aforementioned business suits; other attire that falls under this broad heading are also quite interchangeable with business wear. For example, during the summer months business casual attire can include shorts and tank tops. Conversely, work-appropriate business casual attire is often a mixture of these items, and more specifically it is a complete departure from the traditionally formal business attire.
The three basic pieces of business casual attire are pants, shirt and shoes. The pants can be of any style, shape or color as long as it is a normal pant, and has loose folds or no pleats. White or light colored pants are typically considered business casual, since they are considered to be the “in” color, and can be paired with a white or colored shirt that is in a normal or semi-formal color. If the shirt is worn with the pants, then the shirt must be in a contrasting color. For instance, a dark blue shirt would not match a light blue pair of pants, even if the pants were white.
Shirts that come in monochrome shades of grey, black or navy are also considered business casual dress down style attire, and should be avoided at all costs. Instead, opt for a dress shirt that has texture, meaning it has some movement. Some examples of dress down shirts include those with a small amount of stretch, those with buttons or ribbon, or those that have unique neck patterns. Branded dress down shirts are available from many top designers and can easily be found online. Just make sure you always remember to get one that fits you properly and is of good quality.
The third item of business casual dress down attire is a pair of casual or flip flops. Flip flops are worn for a variety of reasons including exercise, going on vacation, beach and pool parties, lounging around, and much more. Flip flops are great for going to the beach because they are not only fun but also serve as an easy method to show off your body in a swimsuit while still having your shoes on. While flip flops may not be the first thing you think of when thinking about business casual attire, they can make a great fashion statement that is sure to make you stand out in a good way.
If you want to dress down and still be able to show off the rest of your business casual outfit, a nice dress shirt is the perfect option. A plain, gray, or white business casual shirt should work just fine. Your neckline should be no higher than your collar, and you should be wearing a collared shirt (one that is buttoned up) with a matching tie or blouse. You can add a casual shoe bag to the front or back of the dress (such as a sports bag), or even a colorful business card holder. Accessories such as cufflinks and a bracelet are optional but can really dress down an otherwise boring look. The key to a successful business casual outfit is to simply choose items that make you feel comfortable and let the rest of the outfit is secondary.
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