Business Casual Dress

This is a more relaxed version of "Professional Dress", but it doesn’t mean you’re actually going to be "casual." This is likely going to be your office dress code if you work in a semi-conservative workplace, but some interviews and events may also call for business casual. Basically, business casual is a shirt with a collar and/or a sweater, khakis or dress pants and nice shoes for women. Women can also sometimes wear a moderate length dress or skirt (knee-length or longer!). For men, business casual is a polo shirt or shirt with a collar and/or sweater, khakis or dress pants and dress shoes. No tie is required.

Specifics for women

  • Hat – not normally worn, except for regional variations in climate and season.
  • Coat – if weather requires. A dark color often looks more professional, the smarter the better.
  • Jacket – always optional with casual styles. Again, a dark color often looks more professional.
  • Top – blouse, clean and well pressed. (You can never go wrong with white.) A pullover sweater or a sweater set is also appropriate. Avoid too form-fitting and/or revealing styles. Avoid slogans and logos, but fashion labels are generally acceptable.
  • Bottom – skirt or dress must be at least knee length. Pants – full length: black, gray, navy, brown, or khakis are the best colors. Ideally tailored with creases. Avoid denim. Hose, no patterns. (May be omitted in hot climates).
  • Footwear – dress pumps or pumps, black is the safest, with closed toe and low heel. Leather, fabric, or microfiber. Nice boots are also acceptable.
  • Accessories – generally it is best to restrict yourself to a few items of jewelry. Nothing large or extravagant.

Specifics for men

  • Hat – not normally worn, except for regional variations in climate and season.
  • Neck – tie, normally optional but discouraged. (Always worth having one tucked away just in case.)
  • Coat – If weather requires. A dark color often looks more professional.
  • Jacket – generally no jacket, but is always optional with casual styles (suit jacket or sports coat.) Sport coats are very versatile. Invest in one in shades of black/grey and one in tan/brown, add to it a navy blazer and you are set for any occasion.
  • Top – collared dress shirt is always the safest option. Also acceptable is a Polo shirt or similar collared top, short or long sleeve – and tucked in. Shirts must be clean and well pressed. Avoid logos and slogans, but fashion labels are generally acceptable.
  • Bottom – pants must be good quality, similar to Dockers or Chinos. Nice looking synthetic pants are also acceptable.
  • Ankles – dark socks, ideally the same color as pants, but normally a darker shade. Mid-calf length. Avoid loud patterns, logos, and images.
  • Footwear – oxfords, dress pumps or dressy loafers – leather. Avoid lighter colors. Black, is safest. Navy or brown is also appropriate.