Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

With conferences and job interviews abound, I thought it was an appropriate time to tackle this topic. “Business casual” is one of the most difficult and most dreaded dress codes to meet. Most of the difficulty is in the lack of guidelines provided.

The category itself falls somewhere roughly between picnic wear and formal wear which still leaves you to grasp at straws. This list will hopefully refine the lines of business casual and give you a more clear idea.

Before defining what business casual is, it may be useful to point out what is unacceptable wear in such an environment. Here are some things to avoid:

1.     Anything with logos.

2.     Athletic wear.

3.     No bare skin (Such as, no thin-strapped tops or tanks, nothing extremely low-cut).

4.     In most situations: no open toes. A very casual, summer environment would be the exception, in which case a strappy heel or peep-toe shoe is acceptable. However, more often than not, opt for the closed toe.

5.     No hats. I hope this would go without saying, but I’m saying it just in case. No hats.

While there is plenty of debate surrounding the dos and don’ts of “business casual” wear, here are the agreed upon basics that I’ve dreamt up with the reinforcement of the internet:

1.     Blazers: In this case, blazers are your best friend. They’re the perfect way to make your outfit more professional, without being entirely too formal. A loose boyfriend blazer, a fitted classic black one or a print blazer all liven up an outfit while maintaining the professionalism.

2.     Blouses: White button up, printed blouse, collared shirts of any kind, all are fair game with business casual.

3.     Skirts: Pencil skirts, or A-line skirts, in solids or prints are all fair game. Paired with a blouse, collared button up, a t-shirt (if the skirt is formal enough) or a simple sweater. Entirely up to you. The only necessity is that they’re not too short. Anywhere from knee-length or a few inches above is safe.

4.     Cropped pants: The cropped dressed pant brings a lot of the necessary formality of the outfit and so allows for a more relaxed top. Even perhaps a white t-shirt or simple white blouse is acceptable. Cropped pants are also a very useful closet staple because they work will with flats, heels and loafers.

5.     Casual dresses: These needn’t been anything over the top. In my opinion, it isn’t even vital that they be collared. Just a solid coloured dress, of at least knee length. Can be accessorized to your hearts content with a thin belt, jewellery and a cardigan or blazer over top. Perhaps, with the right dress you could even slip a white collared shirt underneath

6.     Basic sweaters: A solid crew neck sweater is a very useful piece in business casual outfits. You could rock one under a blazer, over a collared shirt or on its own with a skirt. They’re professional in that they’re not overly revealing and not over the top, as well as being comfortable and not too formal.

7.     Accessories: A big statement necklace on a simple white t-shirt, blazer and jean combination dresses it up just the right amount.

8.     Jeans. Dark wash, fitted. The internet cannot come to an agreement on denim where business casual is concerned but in my opinion, jeans are entirely acceptable. The footwear, the top and the accessories will make up for the professional component of the outfit.

9.     Black dress pants. Almost goes without saying, these are a very safe staple. In their classic form, harem, cropped or skinny leg variety, these are a go to business casual feature.

One final advisement, with business casual, as in any work or professional environment, modesty is key.

The implementation of any of these tips should make for an all-around safe outfit!

Similar Reads👯‍♀️