Business Casual Attire
The term business casual attire refers to a dress code that is slightly less formal than traditional business wear. While there are general guidelines for business casual, companies have some latitude in defining what clothing is appropriate, or inappropriate, to wear while at work.
Many companies have adopted business casual as their standard dress code. These policies allow employees to express their individuality as well as feel more relaxed while at work. While there is no definitive standard for business casual, the clothing guidelines that follow are generally accepted.
Business Casual for Men
- Shirts: need to have a collar; this includes both long sleeve shirts as well as polo / golf shirts. The shirt should be wrinkle free and neatly tucked into the wearer’s pants. Most colors are acceptable, although the color should not be “bright,” and irregular patterns should be avoided. Acceptable materials include cotton and wool, while silk and rayon are usually not acceptable for men’s shirts.
- Pants: should include a full or slight break at the shoe; pants that bunch up at the ankle or do not reach the shoe are unacceptable. The pants should be pressed, wrinkle free and have a crease down the center of the leg. Loud colors are unacceptable as is white. Black, brown, grey, navy blue and dark green are ideal colors. Acceptable materials include wool, wool blends, as well as cotton and cotton blends.
- Shoes: formal leather shoes are appropriate, including traditional dress socks. Black, brown and grey shoes are preferred.
Business Casual for Women
- Shirts / Blouses: women have much more latitude with respect to colors and patterns than men. The shirt should not be too revealing and while patterns are acceptable, they should not be “wild.” Solid colors are a safe investment. Collars will add a more formal look to a woman’s shirt. Once again, the shirt should be wrinkle free.
- Skirts / Pants: a skirt or dress’s hemline should fall just above the woman’s knees. Dresses with low cuts or high slits are not acceptable. Generally, the guidance for women’s pants is similar to that for men. Jeans, especially those with holes are not acceptable. The skirt, dress or pants should be wrinkle free.
- Shoes: flats, pumps, wedges, as well as boots are all acceptable footwear for women. While sandals may be acceptable at some companies, the general rule is that open-toed shoes should be avoided for safety reasons.