It’s indeed a jolly feeling that comes with finally getting an interview invite after you’ve been job hunting for a while. Also notable, is the euphoric feeling that comes with landing a job at your dream organization. These feelings are two of the best feelings in the world. But your letter says, dress code is business casual. Then you get confused and for good reason too, business casual is an ambiguous term. For men, it could simply mean “without a tie” while for ladies, it takes on a more complex approach to actually appear in business casual.
One thing you can be sure of is that business casual doesn’t mean showing up in your best shorts, dresses, sandals or flip flops. What’s more, showing up all suited up is definitely too formal.
What is Business Casual for Women?
Business casual came into existence as a result of need to be comfortable while still appearing professional in the business environment. It’s safe to say the days of three piece suits are almost behind us as business and smart casual are quickly becoming the order of the day.
For different organizations, business casual means different things. However, there are basics that cut across all organizations. The major rule to appearing in a business casual manner is to dress smartly without appearing too formal.
Your aim, should be to appear refined without having to wear a suit or other very formal attire. The key to dressing business casual is to mix tailored outfits or your traditional office wear with more relaxing fashion forward pieces. See below for guidelines to choosing your outfits.
Business Casual Tops for Ladies
Business casual gives more freedom to the sort of top you wear. You’re allowed to experiment with bright colours as long as you tune them down with neutral and soft coloured bottoms.
The overall rules are to keep the neckline modest and if your top is bothering on the sheer side, wear a camisole.
Tops to consider include: short sleeved button up or down shirts either made with cotton, silk or any lightweight synthetic material; blouses that are nicely fitted or loose in an elegant way; tank tops to wear underneath blazers; jackets; sweaters and cardigans.
Business Casual Skirts
Skirts are a quick hack for appearing business casual. They are versatile pieces and every woman could do with a number of them in her wardrobe.
When shopping for them, go for trendy styles but keep in mind that pencil skirts are usually the way to go.
Pleated skirts and A line skirts also go well with the business casual dress code. Make sure that the length (knee-length and below) and slit are modest and appropriate.
Business Casual Pants for Ladies
Think neutral and solid colours when shopping for your business casual pants.
Dark colours such as: black, grey and brown work best. However, regarding style, chic and trendy pieces that are perfectly tailored are a great choice.
Your pants made of soft fabric that’ll keep you feeling comfortable all day.
When in doubt of what sort of pants to wear, go for khaki or cotton pants.
Business Casual Dresses
Like skirts, you want to make sure your dresses are not too tight and are knee length and below.
Two important rules to keep in mind while choosing your dress is to ensure it isn’t too dressy (simplicity is key) as well as modesty.
Regarding colours, there aren’t any strict restrictions.
Business Casual for Plus Size Women
There are no special rules to follow when it comes to business casual for plus size ladies. The guidelines listed in this article are just as good to follow for any plus size woman.
What’s more, a lot of clothing brands carry amazing work clothes for plus size ladies. The key to nailing it is to choose outfits that are flattering to your body shape and that will keep you feeling comfortable all day long.
When shopping for pants however, you might want to go for mid-rise ones as they tend to be an effortless slay for plus size ladies.
Are Jeans Business Casual
Jeans are a controversial topic when it comes to the business casual dress code. It’s something that’s up for debate even in many progressive offices and corporate cultures.
To be on the safe side, do not appear in them to an interview but when it comes to your workplace, you want to make sure your organization allows it and if they are allowed, stick to tailored jeans in dark colours.
What Shoes to Wear
When it comes to business casual shoes for women think closed-toe heels, flats and loafers. Typically, these shoes are what you’re to wear.
In reality, however, you have more freedom with your shoes, so you can go with shoes like: block and kitten heels and dressy flats.
Whatever you decide to wear must be comfortable enough for you to walk all day long in.
Also, keep in mind that your heels are the appropriate height; you might want to check in with your organization for this.
Sandals and sporty shoes are a big no for business casual.
- when shopping for business casual outfits, invest in pieces that will keep you comfortable all day long
- You might also want to go for pieces that easily transition from day to evening such as wide legged pants and black dresses.
- Ensure that your clothes are always perfectly ironed and wrinkle free
- If you’re not sure what to wear, silk button down shirts with a pencil skirt or khaki pants never fail.
- Keep necklines and slits modest; skirts and dresses knee-length
- Stick to neutral and soft colours with your bottoms while your tops can accommodate more colours
- Check in with your organization before wearing jeans to work.
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