Business casual. We’ve all heard the term before and pretended to know exactly what it means. Sure, we have SOME idea what it means. Business attire but casual. What does that REALLY mean though? To be honest it can actually vary by cities, companies and industries but we’re here to clarify and help you pick out the right business casual outfit for your job.
What To Wear
In a nutshell, business causal means no suits. But that leaves a lot open. To be on the safe side, men surely cannot go wrong with a pair of dress slacks or chinos, an Oxford or a button-down shirt (tucked into the pants of course), dress shoes and dark socks. The button-down can be swapped out with a nice sweater or the sweater can even go over the shirt and tie. Throwing a blazer or a sports jacket over everything will seal the deal. If you’re not sure which blazer or sports jacket to go with, navy is a classic, power color and your best bet. Be sure to avoid jackets with loud or gold buttons.
A necktie is optional but it will certainly elevate your look from just casual to more business-like. Grenadine or knit ties fit right in with the casual theme. If you decide to forego a necktie, please make sure your undershirt is not visible.
If you are new to a job, do yourself a favor and look before you leap. Observe the company’s culture and what others wear before you decide to come in to work wearing a short-sleeve shirt exposing an arm sleeve of tattoos.
Be consistent with your look. If Monday through Thursday you decide to wear three-piece suits, do not decide to wear flannels for Casual Fridays. If you do decide to throw on denim, pick your best pair and leave the ripped or cuffed jeans for the weekend. You don’t want to look totally out of place if you have to attend a meeting with the higher ups or a client just because you decided to dress down. Maintaining a consistent look is key for building trust and credibility.
Also keep your schedule in mind. If you have an important meeting with a potential client that happens to land on a Friday, err on the conservative side when it comes to picking out your wardrobe for the day. Save the casual attire for a day that you are in the office.
What Not To Wear
This should go without saying but some things need to be said. Please leave the scuffed-up sneakers, graphic t-shirts, ripped, stained jeans and your favorite hoodie from college at home. Yes, you can be ‘casual’ but remember to always look like you are going to a ‘business’ to work. Your clothes should still be clean and pressed properly.
Knit polos are a popular trend this year but no matter the trend, it isn’t appropriate for a job interview. Always opt to dress more professional even if the interviewer is dressed down. Remember the old adage: you’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression.