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Business casual

Business Casual for Women Guide

Business casual

Business Casual is the standard in work wear for most women. Most businesses, with some exceptions, are content for their employees to dress in a professional yet casual manner. However, the drawback with stating that the dress code is business casual is that not everyone understands exactly what it is and what it isn’t. Knowing what business casual entails for a work environment is definitely critical information for every employee in that type of firm.

Business casual is made up of a wide variety of different women’s clothing. In fact, it may even be somewhat different from company to company. Here are some of the standard business casual clothes for women:

•    modest dresses
•    mix and match suits
•    slacks
•    sweaters
•    blouses
•    solid T-shirts layered with another top
•    dressy T-shirts of good quality
•    cardigans
•    skirts
•    Capri pants

As a general rule, business casual is not as formal as standard business wear, but is not as casual as street clothes. Many articles of clothing can be suitable for business clothing or not depending on the condition they are in. A new T-shirt that is ironed may be perfectly acceptable in a business casual outfit, however an older tee that is faded, has lost its shape or requires ironing is not acceptable. Neatness and a pulled together look are essential to business casual. So be sure to iron your clothes, match them up and keep them in good repair.

Certain items are never considered acceptable for a business casual environment. Knowing which ones they are will help you to avoid fashion mistakes in the workplace. Some attire that is definitely not business casual includes:

•    flip flops
•    worn T-shirts
•    torn jeans
•    sweat pants
•    sweat shirts
•    short shorts
•    tank tops
•    business suits
•    pantyhose
•    uniforms
•    sleeveless shirts
•    mini skirts
•    revealing outfits
•    lingerie as regular clothes
•    scrubs

To complicate the category of business casual even further, there are some items that are maybes. Some attire that is considered to be business casual in certain companies but not in others are:

•    jeans
•    printed T-shirts
•    shorts
•    sandals
•    polo shirts

The best thing to do is to check your company’s guidelines thoroughly in order to avoid wearing something that does not fit your firm’s dress code. If they are one of the looser ones, you should still err on the side of neatness and being conservative. Keep necklines and hems respectable. Do up most of your buttons. Do not opt for T-shirts with offensive or questionable text on them. Press your clothes in order to look sharp.

Business casual is meant to provide a more affordable style of dress for work and a more relaxed environment for the office. Be sure you are completely familiar with your firm’s standards when it comes to business casual. It is better to be overdressed than too casual. If you have doubts about what to wear, emulate the look of your supervisor. In fact, it’s always a good idea to dress for the level you want to be at rather than the level you are presently working at.

How to Dress Business Casual

The style of business casual has been taking over business dress codes for a long time. Business casual is a classic style that is easy to dress up or down, depending on what happens during the business day. Your business casual clothes are fine for catching a late dinner with co-workers or going on a date after work as well as for talking to the president of the company during the day. The main idea behind any business casual outfit is to make it look neat, classic and well put together.

Women’s Business Casual

For women, there are many business casual options that can keep this wardrobe from looking too boring and plain. There are a wide range of pants, skirts and dresses that can all be classified as business casual. Skirts and pants should look casual, but they should be in very good condition and should not be made from denim. A skirt or dress should come to the knees or lower. They should look pressed, even if they aren’t, and should generally be in a neutral color like gray, navy blue, cream or white. These are easy colors to pair with other neutral items on top. With a number of classic separates, you can put together a large number of outfits that all look classic and businesslike.

The top you choose can have a scooped neckline, but it should not be at all revealing. A V-neck or boat neck is flattering to some shapes, but make sure they don’t go too far. A jacket or blazer in a coordinating color can pull together an outfit made from separates and create a cohesive look.

Avoid wearing anything that is too trendy. Anything that is not a part of a classic look is out of place in a business casual environment. Make sure your clothing fits well and doesn’t reveal cleavage. It shouldn’t be too short or too tight, but it shouldn’t be too baggy, either.

Men’s Business Casual

For the most part, men’s business casual does not require a suit and tie. In most business casual offices, a tie is not necessary. A long-sleeved shirt is usually considered to be more businesslike than a short-sleeved shirt, though a nice, button-up short-sleeved shirt is also appropriate in most business casual offices. Always tuck in your shirt, no matter how dressy your shirt and pants are. Men are also generally expected to wear a belt. The pants should be any nice, unwrinkled pants in a neutral color that are not jeans. They should have no wear obvious to them and should have no fraying at the ends.

Men often wear jackets along with their business causal pants to take the place of a suit. The jacket can be a suit jacket or a more casual jacket, but the function is to give the outfit the same lines and basic look as a suit without making a tie necessary. The jacket should be in very good condition and should not have faded elbows. It should be in a neutral color to coordinate with the shirt and pants.

Is A T-Shirt Business Casual?

Ever since business casual became an accepted standard of dress in the workplace, employees have had endless questions about what actually constitutes business casual. In reality, the guidelines are different for each company. Generally speaking, business suits are much too formal to fit the style. Exercise clothes, short shorts, ripped jeans and tank tops are much too casual to be business casual. Apart from those rather extreme guidelines, everything else is based on interpretation.

For many businesses, business casual is very structured. It means that you wear dress pants, skirts, polo shirts, button down shirts and sweaters. Jeans, sneakers and flip-flops are a no-no. T-shirts are fine if they are under something or have nothing printed on them. Many of these businesses are helping employees avoid the expense of traditional business wear, but still want to maintain a very professional, serious tone at work. They may even allow clean, well-maintained jeans and T-shirts on casual Fridays. Some businesses like this will occasionally do a charity fundraiser, by charging their employees a small fee to partake in jeans and T-shirt days.

For many other businesses, T-shirts are perfectly fine for business casual wear, as long as they are clean and in good repair. Most businesses however, will enforce common sense rules about what can be printed on a T-shirt. Text on a business casual T-shirt should never be offensive, rude, contain bad language, be sexually explicit, be political or promote a competitor of the business you work for. There are very few workplaces where you can actually wear anything you choose.

So, in short, a T-shirt can be considered business casual, depending on the T-shirt and depending on what the company’s policies are. If you absolutely want to wear a T-shirt that does not meet your company’s guideline, layering is always a good solution. Put your favorite tee under another T-shirt, button down shirt or sweater for a neat layered look. You’ll have the satisfaction of wearing the shirt of your choice, without getting in trouble for it.

Custom-made T-shirts can be the solution to your problems if you find that your T-shirts are not suitable for business casual. Thanks to custom printing you can have a T-shirt made in the color, design and style you want, saying whatever you want it to say. You can still make a statement, have a unique look, but follow the business casual guidelines of your office with a custom-made T-shirt.

If your company is on the more relaxed spectrum of business casual or you know that you have a casual Friday coming up, you can have some fun with a customized T-shirt. You can have a line like one of these printed on a tee:
•    This IS business casual
•    I love business casual
•    Business casual rocks
•    Peace, Love, Business Casual
•    I’ll take business casual any day
•    Business casual works
•    Casual Friday rocks

Get your T-shirt wardrobe up to par for business casual with brand new custom-made tees just for work!