Dressing For The Job You Have/Want: Dos and Don’ts of Business Casual Attire

by Stella Agboola
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Business casual

You would agree with me that the regular suit and tie with office shoes is no longer a popular ‘thing’ or dress code in the business world. There is no doubt that strictly formal clothes are sometimes not very comfortable for people who regularly have to wear them. Hence, the reason why business casual attire is gradually becoming a norm. 

What is business casual or smart casual? How does a person have to dress to be termed as dressing in a business casual way? What do you need to know to avoid being left behind in this age of business casual dressing? Keep reading, and you’ll find out. 

What is Business Casual Dressing?

As the words state, business casual dressing is a mixture of business and casual dressing. The word ‘casual’ indicates that being comfortable is involved, while the word ‘business’ demonstrates that the person involved is dressed to go to work at his or her place of employment. 

Putting the two together means that a business casual outfit is a mix of formality and comfort, dressing within the boundaries of a company or brand’s regulations while still being comfortable.

What are the Dos of Business Casual for Men and Women?

For Men

  • Wear a shirt and trousers for a regular workday. When there is a presentation, you can wear a jacket. Note that, there is no need to wear a formal suit with shoulder pads. 
  • You can also wear a sweater.
  • You can use a tote bag to complete your dressing. Keep in mind that the tote bags should have no inscriptions. 
  • You should wear fitted and not baggy clothes. Your clothes should be fitted but not excessively tight.
  • In some companies, wearing a T-shirt is allowed. In these cases, you could wear them. 

For Women

  • Wear a skirt that is knee length or below knee length. Rather than wear a mini skirt, wear something that will make you comfortable, especially after you sit down. 
  • Wear comfortable but not baggy trousers. There is nothing business casual about baggy trousers.
  • To fully bring out the mix of business and casual, you can wear a fitted but not tight skirt with a top that looks like a sweater, the skirt being the business part of the outfit and the sweater top being its casual part. 
  • You can wear comfortable, closed or open-toe heels, but not slippers. 

Read also: 10 Stunning Outfits You Should Have in Your Wardrobe.

What are the Don’ts of Business Casual Outfits for Men and Women?

  • Do not wear flip-flops or slippers to work. 
  • Do not wear jeans. If you will be wearing jeans to work, wear them because you are sure they are acceptable in your company. This is because wearing jeans is generally unacceptable, whether business casual or not, in work settings. It may sometimes be acceptable in creative settings like a film production company or the music industry. However, wearing jeans may be prohibited in financial or educational institutions like schools and banks. 
  • If you will be wearing jeans at all, do not wear faded jeans, jeans with tears, short jeans, crazy jeans, or jeans with shreds. Also, never wear baggy jeans if you will be wearing jeans. A baggy jeans indicate a lack of professionalism. There is a sense of professionalism attached with well-fitted jeans. 
  • Do not wear bags or backpacks that make you look like a student going to school, especially with a shirt and trousers. That is the perfect law or medical student look. Even university students no longer use backpacks regularly because, where is the style in that? 
  • Do not wear shirts with inscriptions or designs that do not follow your company’s beliefs or values. If the company makes designs for its employees, such can be worn and matched with lovely trousers. 

Read also: Top 10 Must-Have Classy Shoes for Men – How to Look Hot Effortlessly.

What are Some General Business Casual Dress Tips?

Be it male or female, some business casual dress tips are listed below. They are:

  • Ties are not business casual outfits. As long as the shirt is decent, your look is complete.
  • Sneakers are a perfect definition of business casual outfits.
  • No polo shirts and shorts are allowed.
  • A blouse for a female is business casual.
  • Torn clothing is not business casual, even if it’s torn in the name of fashion.
  • Dresses that expose the thighs are not allowed for females, instead, you can wear them with leggings.
  • Oversized clothes are not smart casual
  • Backless blouses are not business casual.
  • Natives are usually for casual Fridays. Unless your company states otherwise, do not mistake native clothing as a general business casual.
  • If you work in a laboratory, you should wear closed-toe shoes that are not heels.
  • The best colors for business casual are black, white, or gray. These colors are dull, but this does not imply that you cannot wear bright colors. Colors like orange, pink, and other bright colors can be paired or matched with these dull colors. It is always better to pair bright colors with white or black, but the most preferred is black.

Read also: Best Outfits for Job Interviews in Nigeria.

What if you are in a Situation With no Specific Rules Regarding Business Casuals?

If you work in a place with no specific rules regarding business or smart casuals, or where very casual dressing is accepted, like in tech companies, what will you do to not overstep what the company wants while maintaining your style and comfort?

  • If you are just starting, look around at the company. Take your time to observe people’s patterns of dressing. That might give you a clue as to how to dress.
  • If you still need clarification about what to wear, you can ask the human resource manager at the company since guiding other employees in dressing is within the scope of his or her job description. You will also be made aware of relevant information, such as whether or not there are casual Fridays where you can go completely casual or even wear native clothing. 

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Gone are the days when everyone was strictly formal in dressing, we now live in a world where comfort is key even in business settings. To be a part of the trend in work clothing while still conforming to your company’s regulations, knowing all the above is not a matter of choice but of utmost importance.

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Edited by Oluwanifemi Akintomide.

About Author

Avatar of Stella Agboola
Stella Agboola
Stella Agboola is a content creator who specializes in the field of health and disease. She also has a personal blog where she discusses social-related content. In addition, she is an avid reader of domestic thrillers and African novels. At her leisure, she reads books and listen to podcasts for information and entertainment.

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