What Business Casual Really Means

Congratulations – you have landed your dream job!  During the interviewing process you were told the dress code is “business casual” – but what exactly does that mean?

Business casual is a tricky code to crack. Here are some tips for you to find that impeccable middle ground between business formal and every day wear:

1.  Take cues from your boss and/or manager. It is often helpful to gauge what your company’s dress code culture is by considering what your boss wears.  You do not need to imitate the exact styles and colors, but it is one way to distinguish between what is appropriate and what is not.

2.  Add accessories to spice up your outfit. Dressing up a pair of jeans with a blazer, or throwing on a scarf, are ways to up your outfit game without breaking the bank.  This applies to men and women alike.

3. Evaluate clothing choices based on your day. If you are seeing a new client, it is better to make a good first impression by showing respect and dressing up even if your office has a more relaxed and casual dress code.

4. Have at least one nice suit in the closet.  You never know when an unexpected meeting will pop-up and its always good to be prepared.  

5.  Fit is Key.  Take items to a local seamstress to be altered to fit properly – embrace your body type.

6. Build with Basics.  Start with fabrics and colors that are neutral.  Once you have your staples you can start adding textures, colors and patterns to add your own style.

The interpretation of dress codes vary by industry, and it is always important to consider your individual company’s work culture.  The suit-and-tie is required for some businesses while a startup’s idea of a dress code is often a more toned-down button-down shirt with khakis.  Dress appropriate for your environment, consider whether you have a more formal meeting for the day to change up your style.  

And remember to wear something that allows you to express yourself and makes you feel confident while respecting those around you.