Recently I came to the realization that I don’t know the difference between business casual and business formal. So much so, I’m even wondering if business formal is even an actual thing, because most events I have gone to that required a more upscale dress code always said, “dress business casual”. As someone who is a Junior in college, nearing her last semester in college and probably needing to look for a professional job or internship at some point, you would think by now I knew what the difference was. I don’t, and I thought that there are probably others out there who have had the same thought as well. Well if that is true we are both going to figure out whether one should be dressed business casual or business formal.
One thing I found out is that there are three types of Business wear, which are: business formal, business professional, and business casual. Business formal attire is according to the website smallbuiness.chron.com: A dressy outfit from your day to day working. This is what you would wear to an evening event, such as a gala, or an award ceremony. Think “The Academy Awards” when thinking of business formal. Maybe not that extreme, but somewhere around there. According to smallbusiness.chron.com, business Professional attire is described as similar to business formal but maybe more conservative clothing to show yourself in an office type professional manner. This is the type of clothing that you would see people wearing who work in an office setting. Finally, business casual, the one style most of us know all too well, is simply a more toned-down look. It doesn’t mean you get to wear jeans and a t-shirt, unless it is casual/street clothes Friday. It’s something simple like wearing khaki pants and a nice buttoned-down blouse or fitted shirt. Think when you must go to a class function with a guest speaker, you typically are asked to dress business casual.
Now that we have an Idea of what business attire is, let’s see some visual examples.
Business Formal/ Business Professional
These are roughly the same thing. Just remember to dress a bit fancier when going for a business formal look, but not full on Oscars night!
This is the one style you should know the best, aside from the typical college student wear.
Just as a “when in doubt” situation, I think going business casual the majority of the time should be okay. Just until someone tells you that you’re out of dress code!