When we refer to ‘business casual’ clothing, what most people associate with it is men in dress shirts with leather shoes and pants or skirts that are sort of business length. Women typically have white collared dresses or long sleeve plain blouses with matching slacks or skirts.
But before there was business casual, there were no formal clothes at all! People dressed according to their style and how they wanted to be perceived. In fact, even today some cultures do not accept Western-style formal clothes as proper attire.
With that being said, let us talk about how to dress like you work in an office! Here, our focus will be more professional than casual. We will go into greater detail about what kind of shirt styles are appropriate for work, whether or not jeans are allowed, and how to dress your feet.
One of the first things to consider when dressing for work is choosing your color scheme. This includes both your clothing and your footwear (if possible).
Clothing colors such as black, gray, brown, tan, and cream are considered neutral shades which complement many other colors. Therefore, these should be included in your wardrobe unless you specifically want to emphasize one particular color.
For example, if you love red so much that you could spend the rest of your life wearing only scarves, headscarfs, and lipstick, then maybe invest in a few pieces of red clothing.
Make sure your pants are straight
One of the first things people will notice about how you dress is whether or not your clothes are fit properly. If they see sloppy or wrinkled clothing, it will turn off potential customers!
If your shirt doesn’t fit well, either roll up the sleeves or pull them down. If the neckline is too low, put a cardigan over it. If the waist line is too large, find a shop that has enough money for new pieces so that you can get some better fits.
Your shoes should also be comfortable, but they should look professional as well. A pair of black leather sneakers would not look good with a business suit.
Make sure your shirt is smooth
One of the first things people will notice about you is your clothes, so make them good! If you are not confident in yourself or your look, then chances are no one else will feel that confidence either.
Running around with sloppy dress shoes or jeans with holes can be cute at times, but they do not set a great example for others to follow.
If you want to project an image of professionalism, then make sure your clothing is clean and well-fitted. Pick out thoughtful, professional looking pieces that speak to who you are as a person.
Also, make sure your shirts are fitted and long enough to show off their beautiful pattern or shape.
Wear a belt
One of the first things you will notice about business casual dress is that it lacks a belt. Many people feel that a belt is not necessary for clothing fashion, but trust me when I say they are!
A lot of brands now offer very classic looking white or dark leather belts which match with just about anything. A belt adds shape to your pants and makes them look more formal.
They also add some level of comfort to the waistline, making it easier to take off and put back on. For women this looks particularly nice as it gives an elegant curvy look.
Wash your clothes regularly
Staying in shape is important when dressing business casual, but making sure you are comfortable is even more so. If you spend too much time in workout gear or dress up clothes that have no one to show them off for, then you will not enjoy what clothing brands have created for you.
We recommend keeping things simple by investing in some good work-out pants and a decent workout shirt. Then, add some nice shoes to complete the look.
As with any fashion style, there are many ways to pull together this look. You do not need expensive clothes to look professional. Even though we suggest buying less flashy shirts and jeans, they should all match well and be of good quality.
Also, stay away from overly patterned clothing as it can become distracting.
Invest in good quality shoes
When it comes down to business casual clothing, one of the most expensive pieces is your footwear. Luckily, you do not need expensive leather shoes or fancy dress sneakers!
There are many great brands that cost less than $100 who make high-quality footwear. For example, Alden shoes is known for their classic look and durable materials. They are also very fashionable, with styles that range from boat shoes to wedge heels.
Another option would be Vans — they’re famous for their slip-on style shoes and cool silhouettes. You can easily find clear pictures and descriptions online about how to put together business formal outfits using these types of shoes.
When dressing business casual, or even just casual clothing, one of the biggest mistakes people make is wearing too many layers. As you probably know by now, having lots of layers can look very busy and confusing, which are not good looks for someone trying to convey an elegant image.
A simple way to dress professionally in business casual fashion is to layer up, rather than layering down. A few key pieces will be enough to create a professional looking wardrobe!
- T-shirts and sweatshirts
- Long sleeve shirts (either cotton or wool)
- Jackets and coats
- Sneakers or leather shoes
- Burberry bags or other fashionable handbags
- Tablet covers or smart phone cases
- Gifts that tell your friends and family how much they mean to you
The easiest way to stay within budget is to “ladies’ wear” some of the items from my list. For example, I always start with a long sleeved shirt because I like the shape it gives me, then I add a jacket or sweater to go under it. My favorite brands for jackets are Calvin Klein and Givenchy, and for sweaters I love Coach.
I also keep my clothes in groups of colors that match so there is no need to mix and match. With all my accessories, I try to use similar shades to give the effect of neutrality.
Keep your hair neat
This is probably one of the most important things about business casual dress. If you run into any issues, take some time to look in the mirror and see what you like about your current hairstyle and do that with this new outfit.
Clothing brands make different cuts and styles for their skirts and dresses to compliment various hairdos. Find one that makes you feel good and go with it!
Some ideas: A long, loose shirt or undershirt under a crew neck sweater, a patterned silk scarf, either as a shawl or tied around your waist, leather shoes or soft suede ones, and small bag or handbag depending on whether you have to grab something from another site
Thrift stores are great sources of business formal clothing and accessories at very affordable prices. You can find men’s suit vests, dress shirts, ties, and even business formal footwear such as black leather pumps or white-sole loafers.
If you’re still looking for tips, visit thrift store websites to get helpful information on how to dress like you got paid a lot today. They will also tell you what types of items are in season so you don’t need to buy too many off the rack if you’re not buying them brand name.
Wash your face
A classic way to dress business casual is by washing your face first. This can be done in two ways: using a washcloth or using make-up as a wash product!
If you use a good quality, natural makeup like those listed above, then using it as a wash product is best. Simply take some of the product and spread it across a clean dry skin area (your hands are perfect for this!), let it soak into your skin, and rinse off when it’s dried.
For the most professional look, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and wash your face with water afterwards.