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Translating Business Casual

We’ve all been there. Staring at the interview email requesting that we wear “business casual”. Next step, you google the words and watch the images pop up of young women prancing around in sophisticated sweaters and perfectly fitted pencil skirts. You look at your wardrobe wondering what Cinderella’s fairy-godmother-like magic you will have to use to conjure up an outfit that will make you feel completely at ease in front of the interviewers.

In a college atmosphere where people are wearing jeans/leggings/shorts/sweats depending on what the season warrants, decoding these words requires some guidance. Here are some pointers:

1)     If in doubt, always go over, rather than underdressed to the occasion. If you turn up at the interview and feel underdressed it will make you feel totally out of place, and being a nervous wreck is never a good thing.

2)     For business casual, wear a lighter more casual/ colorful jacket to give your outfit a slightly “less formal” vibe while still maintaining some degree of professionalism.

3)     Stuck without a jacket? Go for a pea coat and a more formal top underneath. It’s more refined than a regular outfit and adds a certain degree of class.

4)     The length of your skirt should be longer than mid-thigh and should roam around the knee region. Do you feel like your skirt is a little too short and you don’t have any other options? Add tights! It’s a little more conservative and helps maintain a degree of professionalism.

5)     Steer away from denim and leggings.

6)     Black capri business pants are fine as long as you don’t wear a matching suit top or matching blazer because then you’re suddenly in the realm of business formal attire.

7)     For shoes -- As long as you aren’t wearing flip-flops or sneakers or anything else in that family you should be fine.

8)     Lastly remember that whatever you end up in, wear it with confidence. Feeling comfortable in what you wear is the key to nailing any interview, show them what you’re made of!



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