What is business casual clothing? Can you look polished and put together while still feeling comfortable in your work clothes? Here are a few tips on what to wear to work and how to find the right clothes that strike the perfect balance between professionalism and comfort.
What to Wear to Work: Understanding Business Casual Dress Code
As a personal stylist, I totally understand the struggle employees face when returning to the office after the COVID pandemic. It’s a whole new ballgame trying to find the right clothes that strike the perfect balance between professionalism and comfort. And let’s be real, we’ve all gotten used to the cozy vibes of working from home in our loungewear and athleisure.
In order to navigate this fashion challenge, it’s important to remember that dressing professionally doesn’t mean sacrificing comfort. You can still look fabulous and feel at ease in your work attire.
Business casual clothing typically falls between formal business wear and business casual wear.
What Is Business Casual Clothing For Women?
Clothing that is considered business casual includes:
1. Blazers or tailored jackets
Blazers and tailored jackets are great options for women to wear in the office. They can be paired with dress pants or skirts to create a polished and professional look. Some popular choices include single-breasted blazers with a tailored fit, relaxed fit double-breasted blazers, as well as cropped blazers for a more modern look. It’s important to choose a blazer or jacket that fits well and complements your body shape. Additionally, basic colors such as black, white, and gray are versatile and can be easily paired with different outfits.
2. Button-down shirts or blouses
Choose well-fitted shirts in solid colors or subtle patterns. Avoid loud prints or overly casual fabrics like denim.
An assorted variety of solid colors, patterns, or fabrics will allow you to mix-and-match your wardrobe. While bright colors at work can be appropriate, make sure to include neutral colors, such as white, tans, or blacks. Always be sure to check with your company’s dress code to see if short sleeve or sleeveless tops are appropriate.
3. Dress pants or skirts
It’s generally best to go for a classic and professional look. Opt for pants that are tailored and well-fitted, such as straight-leg or slim-fit styles. Neutral colors like black, navy, or gray are always safe choices. As for skirts, pencil skirts are a popular option for a professional look. Look for knee-length or mid calf skirts in classic colors such as black, gray, or navy. Avoid overly tight or revealing styles.
4. Sweaters or cardigans
Lightweight knits or cardigans can be ideal for working in office, especially in cold winter or in the summer air conditioning.
Opt for lightweight sweaters or cardigans in neutral colors. These can be layered over shirts or blouses for added warmth and style.
5. Dress shoes
There are several options for shoes that are suitable for women to wear in the office. It ultimately depends on your personal style and the dress code of your office. Some popular choices include closed-toe pumps, loafers, ballet flats, and ankle boots. Choose closed-toe shoes in leather or suede. Avoid sneakers or sandals.
What Clothing Is Not Considered Business Casual?
While the rules are more flexible in the business casual style of dress, it’s important to avoid anything too relaxed or informal.
Clothing Items to avoid in he workplace include:
1. Leggings, yoga pants, sweatpants or joggers
Leggings, yoga pants, sweatpants and joggers are not considered business casual clothing because they are typically associated with more casual and athletic settings. These types of clothing items are often seen as too casual for a professional office environment. They are typically made from stretchy and form-fitting materials, which may not convey the level of polish and put-togetherness that is expected in a business casual setting.
2. T-shirts or tank tops
T-shirts and tank tops are generally considered too casual for the office because they are often associated with more relaxed and informal settings. In a professional environment, it is important to dress in a way that conveys professionalism and respect for the workplace. T-shirts and tank tops may be seen as too casual and can give off the impression that one is not taking their work seriously. Additionally, they may not provide enough coverage or structure to be considered appropriate for a professional setting.
3. Jeans or denim
Jeans and denim pieces may be acceptable in some workplaces, depending on the dress code. However, it’s important to note that not all offices allow jeans or denim, so it’s best to check with your company’s dress code policy.
If jeans are allowed, it’s still important to choose a pair that is clean, in good condition, and not overly casual. Dark wash jeans or black jeans are usually a safer choice for a professional office environment.
Ripped jeans are not considered appropriate for the office, as they are seen as too casual and unprofessional. It’s best to opt for clean and well-maintained jeans without any rips or tears when dressing for work.
Pairing jeans with a nice blouse or blazer can help elevate the look and make it more appropriate for the office.
4. Flip-flops or sandals
Flip-flops and sandals are not considered appropriate for the office, as they are seen as too casual. It’s best to opt for closed-toe shoes or dress shoes for a more professional look.
5. Graphic or loud prints
Graphic or loud prints on clothing are generally not considered appropriate for the office because they can be distracting and unprofessional. They may also clash with the overall professional atmosphere of the workplace. It’s best to opt for more subtle and understated patterns or solid colors when dressing for the office.
Shorts are not considered appropriate business attire. They are typically associated with leisure activities or casual settings, so they may not align with the desired image of professionalism in a business environment.
The key to dressing business casual is to look professional while still being comfortable. It’s always a good idea to check with your employer for any specific guidelines they may have regarding dress code.
Remember, finding the perfect balance between professionalism and comfort is all about choosing clothing that makes you feel confident and empowered. So go ahead, rock that business casual look with a touch of your own personal flair!
I hope these tips help you navigate your return to the office in style.
Style Fix Studio offers a range of personal styling services for men and women, such as Free Initial Personal Styling Consultation with a Certified Personal Stylist, Closet Audit, Personal Shopping with a Try-on Session, Total Image Makeover Services for all ages, Plus Size Styling and Online Personal Styling. Contact Style Fix Studio today to schedule a consultation with a professional personal stylist in Boston, MA. Transform your look, transform your life!