Terms like “business casual” worried me when the time came for me to finally set foot in an office because I began my career working remotely in the middle of a pandemic. All I knew about business casual dress was that it was better to be overdressed than underdressed, but after a year of wearing different types of sweatpants, pajamas, and shorts to work, I wasn’t even sure what the standard was.
Fortunately, if you’re attempting to look professional in 2023, you won’t need to be as afraid as I was. Top fashion experts were engaged to assist in defining business casual, understand how the dress code has altered recently, and provide advice on how to dress for it. We’ll discuss:
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What Exactly Is Business Casual?
When you start a new job or switch industries, a business casual dress code may seem simple to uphold, but it isn’t. It can be perplexing.
In essence, business casual is a dress code that calls for wearing regular business clothes while adding a few slack touches here and there.
For instance, business casual might be khaki pants or slacks paired with a blouse or polo but without a tie.
The data also demonstrates that allowing workers to dress a little more casually than usual has long-term benefits for businesses:
- More than 61% of workers, according to a poll by Stormline Gear, said they would be more productive if they could wear anything they wanted to work.
- Additionally, 61% of job seekers believe a rigid clothing code would harm their opinion of a company.
Of course, business casual dress might appear very differently depending on who you are.
What Qualifies For Women As Business Casual?
Women’s attire that combines skirts, coats, blouses, closed-toe shoes, and other items might be considered business casual.
Peep-toe shoes or sandals may even be acceptable at some places of employment, but be sure before you wear them there.
Follow these rules:
- Dressy tops, neutral or solid-colored sheath dresses, casual dresses, and skirts that split at or below the knee are appropriate tops to wear with them.
- Dress pants (khaki, corduroy, twill, or cotton), knee-length skirts, and pencil skirts are appropriate bottom wear.
- Shoes: kitten heels, stilettos, pumps, flats, and open-toed heels.
What Qualifies As Business Casual For Men?
Dress chinos or pants, a button-down shirt, black socks, and dress shoes are the components of proper business casual wear for men. Even if polo shirts are appropriate for the position being interviewed for, avoid wearing them. Don’t dress in shorts or jeans.
You can establish good status at a new job by doing the following:
- Tops include sweaters in various colors and designs, sports coats, button-up or collared shirts in neutral colors, and short-sleeved button-down shirts.
- Bottom: dress slacks, dark jeans, and semiformal pants.
- Shoes: loafers, tie-up shoes, and shoes made of dark leather.
What Has Changed About Business Casual in 2023?
It was much harder to predict the trends when many individuals returned to work because the workplace had altered in many ways since the pandemic’s beginning, including clothing codes (enter another fashion crisis).
Looking back, we can see that workwear started to become more informal. Many people loved the ease of wearing more casual attire when working from home, and when they were summoned back to the office, they continued to emphasize comfort.
Although by emphasizing comfort, professionals have been able to “let more of themselves come through” in their work attire, mainly if they are working from home.
In a job interview, what is business casual?
You must still present yourself professionally for the job interview, even if the workplace has a business casual dress policy. Instead of dressing in business simple, opt for a more formal style.
You shouldn’t dress the same as the interviewer if they are wearing crop tops and shorts! You should present yourself professionally when you dress for a job interview.
Men can dress in a sweater and button-down or a suit jacket, slacks, a shirt, and a tie. Women should wear a dress, a statement dress, a shirt, and formal pants. Both sexes should avoid bright, vivid colors.
“When choosing an outfit for the interview, remember that when you look good, you feel good,” advises etiquette expert Diane Gottsman. Use your clothing selections to give yourself a confidence boost.
Whether the situation is informal, you should never wear the following to a job interview!
- Tennis shoes or flip-flops
- Visible outerwear
- Jeans or shorts
- brief skirts
- Anything that uses foul language or objectionable phrases is too tight or low-rise.
Always arrange your clothing in advance so that, even if you’re feeling rushed, it’s the last thing on your mind. And don’t assume that getting dressed for a job interview will cost you a lot of money. There are several places where you can shop or explore the web to check whether a deal or coupon is available.
What to Avoid When Dressing for a Business Casual Environment
Although a business casual dress code allows for some creative attire, employees must still be careful not to breach any restrictions. Business casual wearers should refrain from wearing anything like:
- worn-out jeans
- scuffed sneakers
- dirty t-shirts
- clothing with unpleasant text or graphics
Women should avoid the following: sportswear, leggings, off-the-shoulder shirts or dresses, spaghetti straps, crop tops, denim, ripped jeans or pants with bold designs, hooded sweatshirts, and tennis shoes.
Avoid wearing printed shirts, denim, ripped jeans, boat shoes, sandals, boots, sportswear, T-shirts, and hooded sweatshirts if you’re a man.
Now that you know what business casual is, you may dress accordingly. However, there are programs and resources that companies can utilize to make sure that staff are up to date on the current dress codes.
Gender-neutral dress for business casual
Whatever your gender identity, 2023 offers many possibilities for business casual attire. You should balance formal and informal looks while injecting some personality, whether through a print, an intense color, jewelry, or an accessory. Trends in professional attire that are gender-neutral include:
- Sneakers and dress blazers
- Comfortable slacks or pants
- Dress shirts or T-shirts in vivid colors
What’s the difference between business casual and professional attire?
The distinction between business casual and professional attire can significantly cause employee misunderstandings. Typically, one word sums up men’s and women’s business professional standards: suits.
Men expected to conduct themselves businesslike should wear a suit, a white dress shirt, dress shoes, a belt, and a tie. Many businesslike positions additionally call for tidy grooming. Business wear for women often consists of a tailored dress that is knee-length, a tailored skirt and jacket, or a pantsuit combination. Low heels with closed toes are usually recommended.
Therefore, even while the specific distinctions between business casual and business professional may depend more on your opinion or that of your boss, you usually don’t need to dress in a complete suit for a business-casual setting.
Dos and Don’ts for Business Casual
Check out this list of the primary dos and don’ts for business casual before you visit your favorite store the next time, but these will differ.
Do: Wear fitted slacks, blazers or jackets, dresses, or any professional-looking clothing that fits you well.
Don’t: Dress in saggy, worn-out, or apparel with excessive logos. Maintain a clean, crisp look with your outfit.
Do: Invest in a few pairs of versatile, neutral-colored pants. This will help you save money and maintain your attire professionally.
Don’t: Come to work in your jeans, sneakers, distracting jewelry, or sandals. Most of these belong in your arsenal of off-duty moves.
how to dress professionally casual
The best approach to dress business casually is to plan and shop with rules in mind, except for the rare “Casual Friday” at the office. Try to build a collection of shirts, slacks, skirts or dresses, and shoes that can be worn in various situations when purchasing for your employment.
Many business casual attire specifics are left up to your taste and discretion. Keeping a variety of shirts and bottoms that you can mix and match and a few pairs of shoes to switch out periodically will keep you appearing polished and professional.
However, it’s important to remember the principal rules of conduct that are usually always outlined in a business-casual office dress code.
We do advise that you adhere to every one of our recommendations! Be careful not to select a trendy dress for your interview because the interviewer may not share your vision of what is “trendy.” Instead, opt for a traditional interview outfit that complements your industry.
True to its name, business casual is a professional and informal attire mash-up. You must appear polished and professional to adhere to this dress code, although a suit is not required. You can dress more naturally and casually, but not in the same manner you would if you were going to spend the weekend lounging around the house.
In 2023, business casual will focus more on the “casual,” and fashion will inspire businesspeople to dress with more excellent personalities. Wear comfortable yet polished clothing that gives you a sense of assurance and readiness to tackle your task while adhering to the company’s established dress code.