The photos provided below illustrate a variety of ways to fulfill the requirements of a business casual dress code. By establishing this type of dress code, your employer is telling you that it's okay for you to dress less formally and more comfortably at work. As long as your clothing is tasteful and falls within the bounds of professionalism, business casual attire is professional, attractive, and versatile.
When you're getting dressed for work, keep in mind that the clothes you might wear to the beach, to yoga class, or to run errands aren't usually acceptable in the business casual workplace. Instead choose cool, crisp staples that can be mixed and matched and dressed up or down, such as a neat, pressed shirt topped by a jacket, sweater, or vest.
Business casual also means clothing that's clean, unwrinkled, and not too tight, baggy, or revealing. Before you head out the door, check to make sure that seams are finished, stray threads are clipped, and shoes are shined—and never wear anything that's torn, frayed, or smelly.
Most employees are not required to redo their business wardrobe when they move to a workplace with a business casual dress code. This is because smart casual, business casual and casual dress are the norms when employees meet friends, go out to dinner, visit cultural institutions, and attend concerts—the kind of events where people want to look nice.
As a result, as you peruse the following images, think about creative ways you can combine pieces that already live in your closet to bolster your business casual collection. Chances are, you already own at least enough basics to get a running start on retooling your work wardrobe within your employer's parameters.
Business Casual for Men
Pants and shirt combo is a good business casual pick for men that works equally well for women. This outfit reinforces a professional image but aptly evokes a relaxed vibe without resembling everyday streetwear. Even his shoes complement the business casual, professional look.
Basic Business Casual
The men and women here are wearing their own interpretations of basic business casual. Note that men don't need to wear ties to look professional and put together. Dress pants and khakis in a range of neutral colors fill the bill for a business casual environment. Less-formal ties and sport coats work well too.
A basic dress or a conservative skirt with a blouse or sweater is another appropriate choice for women.
Business Casual Dress Code
These employees showcase business attire that's compatible with a business casual dress code. As you can see, pants with tailored shirts have the ability to look relaxed but nice and are an excellent business casual choice. Obviously, business suits aren't necessary for an employee to be properly attired.
Casual dress codes vary from workplace to workplace, but some organizations trust the judgment of their employees and prefer to keep their dress codes simple. If you're ever in doubt about what you should or shouldn't wear, just ask.
What Is Business Casual for Women?
A worthy example of a business casual outfit is a well-fitted, attractive blouse worn with pants and finished with stylish black shoes. This trio effectively conveys the idea of business casual without compromising professionalism.
Notice that her blouse is modest and sets a professional tone. It doesn't have a plunging neckline, reveal her midriff, or contain words or pictures that could offend others. Likewise, her pants fit nicely and avoid being too casual as denim, spandex, or sweatpants might be.
In a business casual office, athletic shoes and sneakers, loafers, clogs, leather boat shoes, and dress heels or flats are acceptable and may be worn with or without tights or stockings as the weather dictates. Avoid wearing flip-flops, sandals, slippers, open-toed shoes, or eye-catching, blingy footwear to the office. Even though business casual guidelines may seem to be a bit lax, appearing professional and conservative at all times is important.
Casual Tops That Work
Tops such as button-fronts, polos, and turtlenecks, to name a few, are practical and suitable for work without being distracting, offensive, or too casual.
Notice that woman may comfortably wear skirts, dresses, and pants and still comply with business casual dress code requirements.
A business casual dress code offers some accommodation for personal taste as long as professionalism remains at the forefront. Even though they're all wearing casual knits and button-fronts, these employees look well groomed, professional, and ready to accomplish the task at hand.
The image also depicts the tasteful use of jewelry. See the woman in the purple sweater who's wearing a necklace and earrings that subtly complement her outfit, rather than screaming for attention. Be careful to avoid wearing too much jewelry and remember to apply any cologne or perfume with extreme restraint.
A Business Casual Sweater
This woman's sweater is a good choice because it fits her to a T and helps her to look polished and set for work. Although the sweater would be fine on its own, her scarf serves to punch it up a bit.
Refined but Comfortable
Her top is pressed and fits her well without revealing too much skin, while her cardigan provides a laid-back yet professional touch. The twosome strikes the right balance between professionalism and comfort and is perfect for a business casual workplace.
Relaxed Business Casual
Here are additional examples of relaxed office attire. Although these employees have a modest, office-appropriate appearance, they're fulfilling the spirit of business casual by dressing comfortably.
More Options for Women
For women, belted sweaters and simple dresses perform well in a business casual workplace. The women depicted here look professional but relaxed and comfy.
The Role of the Dress Shirt
There's a place for dress shirts in anyone's business casual wardrobe. Why? They're smart, versatile, and may be accessorized in a number of ways and paired with a variety of toppers. As long as your shirt is in immaculate condition, it's a safe bet.