Following a Business Casual Dress Code: Your Guide

Following a Business Casual Dress Code: Your Guide

Are you attending a “business casual” function and aren’t sure exactly what that means? You’re not alone. A recent survey showed that 41% find business casual confusing.

Everyone has a different definition. Are jeans business casual? What about sundresses?

Don’t fret in front of your mirror trying to pick an appropriate outfit. Read on for our guide to the business casual dress code to make sure you’re always appropriately dressed.

Business Casual Definition

You’re starting a job, and your new office has a business casual dress code policy. What do you wear on your first day?

Business casual is often defined as more relaxed than traditional business attire but still appropriate for a professional office setting. That doesn’t say a lot.

So how does one define what’s undefinable? Here are some rules to follow for a tasteful dress code.

Business Casual Male

The dividing line for business professional and business casual is the tie. Business casual means no ties required.

  • Khaki or dress slacks
  • Collared button-down or polo shirts without ostentatious patterns
  • Shirts should remain long-sleeved even in summer
  • Blazers are acceptable but should be simple like blue or gray
  • Fine-knit sweaters or sweater vests are appropriate in winter with a dress shirt worn underneath
  • Loafers and dress shoes should match your belt

Business Casual Female

For women, the lines between professional, business casual, and casual are blurry. Here are a few business casual examples:

  • Dresses or skirts should be knee-length
  • Tailored or wide-legged pants are appropriate
  • Ironed and button-down blouses should be free from logos
  • Blazers of any color work so long as they match
  • Shoes should be closed-toe heels, flats, or loafers

Are Jeans Business Casual?

Like everything else with business casual, it depends on who you ask. One office might permit a pair of dark denim jeans. The same jeans might be faux-pas in another environment.

When it comes to jeans, follow other people’s lead. If your office mates wear them, feel free. If not, avoid them.

If you’re headed to a business casual function and aren’t sure, it’s best to choose another pair of pants.

What About Accessories?

Like your dress, your business casual accessories should remain understated but classy. Leather handbags and purses work best with your attire. These days, women also wear smaller backpacks or messenger bags.

For men, the briefcase is still king. Leather messenger bags are acceptable, too. Men should avoid backpacks and other bags.

When it comes to accessories, classic is always better.

Demystifying the Business Casual Dress Code

Are you confused by the business casual dress code? You’re not alone. Given the liquid definition, you may worry you’ll be under or overdressed for any event.

Don’t sweat it. With these rules, you can navigate any business casual event and look perfect. Just remember to keep your wardrobe classy and tasteful.

Do you need more fashion advice? Make sure to check out the rest of our page.

Image Attribution:
Adobe Stock royalty-free image #88944856, ‘Happy man in front of turquoise wall’ uploaded by Rostislav Sedlacek, standard license purchased from ; file retrieved on June 24th, 2019. License details available at – image is licensed under the Adobe Stock Standard License.

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