I would say business casual is an oxymoron. You have the word business which implies professionalism, being proper, and conservative. Then, there’s the word, casual meaning laid back, chill, and requiring little effort. Now how am I supposed to combine these two opposites into an outfit, you ask. Good question. You can’t be cautious and dress more business-formal because it will look to peers as if you are being arrogant about your job (yes, the clothes do say this), and you can’t dress too casual or it will look like you don’t care at all about your job. So here;s what I have for you confused and stressed out people unsure of this fashion protocol–I have willingly taken the plunge to redefine business casual in a simple and straightforward guide to be sure all of your–should I wear these jeans? Does this look professional enough?–questions are answered.
If you’re wearing jeans and a casual top always wear heels to dress the outfit up.
Heels are a super simple way to elevate a look that could possibly be an everyday weekend outfit for you and turned into the perfect and comfortable work look. The best heels are pointed toe, or closed, rounded to heels. When you wear open to heels it can be like revealing to much skin, similar to wearing a tank top to work. Not to say you can never wear open toed heels, but just be cautious of what clothes you are wearing with them, maybe make sure you have a blazer on our some nice slacks to compensate.
Don’t be afraid to show your style.
The name is business CASUAL, which means your employer has more relaxed feelings about what you wear, so don’t be ashamed to show a little personality in what you wear. That being said, don’t go over board with this! If you’re normal day wear is cutoff, ripped shorts and a tank top, you need to rethink your style mantra for work lol.
I know it seems crazy, but you can (i.e. should) wear sorts to work. It is Summer and it is hot, why suffer in those think black trousers commuting to work everyday. Go crazy and wear the shorts instead! Now before I get you all excited and have you reaching for those cutoffs I mentioned previously, know that there are certain shorts acceptable in the workforce and those cutoffs are not one of them. You can, however wear a tailored short and maybe a little bit longer than you normally wear, such as a polyester material that hits you about 2-3 inches below your butt.
Make 1 item the “professional” item
To avoid that the uptight business look, only choose one garment that is the focal professional garment. For instance, if you were wearing skinny jeans, block heels and graphic t-shirt, throw a blazer on it and call it Biz Cas (abbreviations are the new lingo). Or if you are wearing a slouchy top and flats pair them with a fitted pencil skirt and tuck in the top–1 profesh item=fab biz cas outfit…okay done with the abbrevs…
The accessories DO matter
Would a baseball cap and a bandana around your neck look professional? No! So pay attention to those little items you don’t think about until you are about to leave the house. Ever heard of the shoes make the outfit? Well, it’s definitely true and so do the rest of the accessory list. You can completely spruce up your outfit with the right accessories. Try wearing a statement metal statement necklace in place of a choker or chain-like necklace. I’ve also learned that when you wear earrings you look 5 times dressier than without.
Button downs are to be worn at least once a week.
They’re roomy, comfortable, versatile, and professional without being formal– button downs are life man. Don’t worry, you don’t have to wear the fit and flare 3/4 length sleeve ones your mom wore in the 90s. You can go to the thrift shop spot some mens button-downs and wear them as cardigans, or buy a relaxed fit button down and roll the sleeves up, or tie an over-sized button down at the waist, or tuck it into one of your tight pencil skirts…the possibilities are endless!!
Stop choosing black.
I am just like the next New York wannabe who gravitates to the anything black, but business casual, especially Summer business casual is about having fun with choosing your outfit everyday. Next time your in a store, or in your closet (if your closet is not made up of cloned black v-necks and dark jeans), choose an actual color. You’ll feel lighter and happier while at work whether your a retail associate or a high class business women, studies have shown, color makes the smile.
Lip Color can do you wonders.
I definitely wouldn’t call myself a makeup guru, but I do realize that adding some color to your lips makes you look like you care about your appearance and want to look nice. The best colors are pinks, and red hues, which give a soft, yet confident addition to your overall look. Seriously, if your outfit is boring and you don’t have time to change, put on some lipstick and it will make it all better.
And that’s all she wrote…
Don’t be scared to experiment and have fun with your work outfits, they may be the only fun you will have relating to work! I hope this isn’t the case for you though, dear reader, you deserve a much better job than that. Anyways, now you know how to not just do the business casual look, but rock it. Tell me what other occasions or attires are making you mindlessly ponder at night, comment below! I gotchu!
Images via The Chronicles of Her, Always Judging, Just the Design, Sincerely Jules, Banana Republic, Brooke Testoni, Zanita, Man Repeller, Asos, and Harper and Harley