“Business casual” is a term more often used in comparison to “professional” or business attire, but more often than not the two are used interchangeably with one another. Broadly speaking, business casual dress code is an ambiguous term which is generally understood to be casual, yet with smart elements of a business suit tailored for blue collar workplaces. The term is not specifically tailored to any particular business but is used to define an acceptable dress code for most workplaces. Consequently, it is the umbrella term over which professional and corporate dress codes are tailored, and business casual dress codes and corresponding policies are utilised by many organisations to create a consistent look and feel across the board.
The distinguishing feature of a business casual dress is the wearing of a jacket or blazer over a dress shirt and trousers. There is no longer a need to wear a tie in business casual attire. Instead a simple pair of dress shoes, dress socks, dress belt, and cashmere sweaters are sufficient to give you an appropriate professional look. In fact, in many offices today a blazer is sometimes seen as being a dressed-down version of the business suit which originally gave businessmen the formal look. Today, in certain workplaces where casual dress codes have been instigated or formal dress codes allowed, wearing a blazer or jacket can be seen as a sign of noncompliance or even a rebellion against the current times, if done incorrectly.
One very important aspect of business casual dress code is that it needs to make sure you are appropriately covered up. No one wants to see a shirt or trouser exposed just because you’re in business casual attire! Instead, wear your cover up like a sweater and dress pants so that the rest of your clothing is not too revealing. Make sure that you choose a conservative look that does not draw too much attention to any areas of concern on your body. This is especially important if you are working in an environment where harassment is common such as an office in a factory. If you have to work in a more formal setting, make sure that your clothing choice gives you the same effect as if you were going out for dinner.
Another thing to remember about business casual attire is to avoid wearing shoes. Shoes should be reserved for work shoes or some other type of shoe that isn’t a sports shoe. If you are going to wear dress shoes, then at least wear flat shoes and avoid flip flops, sandals, or other high heels that can only be worn for a few feet and then end up being uncomfortable. Instead, make sure you choose a pair of dress shoes that have a mid heel. Flat shoes also tend to be easier to walk in and are more comfortable to wear than flip flops which are harder to walk in and more awkward when running. It may also be worth investing in a good pair of shoes with a closed toe design for situations where you will be in front of people while you are doing your job.
If you must wear slacks while you are doing your job, the best choice are dress slacks with a dress shirt. Dress shirts tend to be much less stiff and are much more flattering on the body. The key to choosing the right dress slacks is to focus on the way it fits your body type. For instance, if you have a large body size, choose a slack that has a lot of room in the waist area and doesn’t bunch at the top. If you are petite, then opt for dress slacks that taper at the top and give the look of a skirt rather than a dress.
Lastly, business casual attire typically involves lighter clothing than what we usually think of when we think of business casual clothing. You can find a vast array of different combinations for both dresses and skirts that will give you a great deal of versatility while staying in line with your business needs. Just be sure to choose colors and patterns that don’t clash with your business attire or office equipment. That way, you can both look your best while getting the most done for your time and energy.