Do’s and Don’ts: Dressing Business Casual

At some point in time, you will have to interview for a job. You must convince a stranger why they should pay you do to a job that fifteen other people can also do. And despite the adage, books are judged by their covers, which means you need to dress nice, but not too nice. You have to dress business casual.

So, what does that mean? For a guy, that might mean a nice pair of slacks, a button-up shirt and maybe a tie. But women’s fashion is so varied that it makes it hard to figure out exactly what you can and can’t wear. Being over or underdressed is never a good feeling. So, to help you navigate your wardrobe choices, I’ve compiled a list of general Dos and Don’ts for Dressing business casual.

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DON’T:

Wear leggings or yoga pants

I know, they’re the most comfortable non-pants in existence. You can dress them down or dress them up, and they have enough stretch in them to accommodate your food baby. But, unfortunately, they’re too far on the casual side of business casual to be anything other than a leisure or work-out staple.

Wear jeans

There’s a ton of different styles and washes, but as a general rule, they just don’t make the cut. It’s why your public-school teachers could only wear them on special Fridays. Despite denim being made for the working man, work isn’t the place for them.

Wear something sleeveless

Similar to your old high school dress code, your exposed shoulder must be covered. Since they were so distracting then, they’re going to be just as distracting now. No spaghetti straps or tank tops allowed.

Wear short skirts

How short is too short, you ask? Fingertip length or lower is where you’ll want the highest point of your hem to be.  Also, it’s a good idea to make sure the skirt isn’t too tight. Think about it like this: if your mother would question your outfit, you might want to opt for something else.

 

DO:

Wear closed toed shoes

Some nice flats or a simple pair of heels are always a good choice. Tennis shoes, not so much. Try to stick with a solid color, and make sure you can walk in them comfortably. If you can outrun a T-Rex in them and look good doing it, you’re good to go.

Wear a cute blouse

Seeing as there are a ton of cute blouses in stores, get creative! In fact, you can even break the sleeveless rule if you pair it with a nice cardigan. Solid colors or simple patterns are best. Make sure to wear a camisole underneath if the blouse is sheer and low cut. Think ‘going to church with Grandma’ and you should be set.

Wear jewelry

A small pair of earrings and a delicate necklace are always a nice addition to an ensemble. Of course, you can decide for yourself what pieces you want to wear, if you want to wear any at all, but it never hurts to have a little bling. However, if you have facial piercings, it would be wise to take them out and leave them at home.

Know your audience

The place you’re interviewing for may not have the same dress code as another business. The way you expect Chick-fil-A employees to look is very different from what you expect Hot Topic employees to look like. Take that into account when picking your outfit. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t follow the rules. It just means that you should think about whether the nose ring or short skirt is a good idea.

Have confidence

All the rules in the world mean nothing if you don’t like how you feel. Business casual is all about looking presentable and put together to whoever you’re talking to. In the end, you should feel comfortable in whatever you’re wearing and feel like the star you are. If you’ve got to convince the interviewer you’re awesome, why shouldn’t you believe it too?