Ways to rock a business causal outfit to work

by Biztraction Research

You must have heard the words several times and probably don’t know what it means. While the understanding of business casual attire differs from organization to organization, Some widely accepted guidelines ensure we dress appropriately. In this article, we will highlight ways to put our business casuals to good use, with examples. Knowing that…it is important we dress for success. Let’s discuss how?

What is business casual 

According to the Oxford dictionary, it defines the term as “a style of clothing that is less formal than traditional business wear, but is still intended to give a professional and businesslike impression.” Simply put, Business casual  is a dress code that blends both traditional business wear with a relaxed style that is professional and appropriate for an office environment.

What’s the difference between professional attire and business casual

A thing of confusion for employees is the difference between business casual and business professional. Typically, business professional standard attire for both men and women can be simply put: suits.

For men, a professional business outfit includes a suit, dress shirt, dress shoes, a belt, and a tie. For women, business dress attire consists of either a pantsuit set, a tailored skirt-and-blazer combo, or a knee-length tailored dress. Low heels are preferred. it has to be cleaned and groomed properly

So, while the precise differences between business casual and business professional may be up to the company’s dress code policy, you don’t need to wear a full-on suit for a business-casual atmosphere.

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Business casual attire for men

  • What to wear

 Proper business casual attire varies, depending on the company’s culture, profession, office location and position. Let’s see some specific pieces of clothings men can wear as business casuals.

Dress pants

Slacks and chinos are examples of dress pants. The colors should be gray, navy, tan, brown or black. These pants can either be tucked-in with a button-down shirt, sweater or polo shirt. Paired with a  blazer for a smart casual look.

Dress shirts

Cotton button-down shirts, or button-up shirts are a common business casual. You don’t have to wear dress shirts with a suit. Rather – you can undo the top button to get a relaxed look. Necktie is optional in business casual outfits, but necessary for important meetings or presentations.

Jackets and blazers

Avoid blazers with gold buttons and flashy elements. Solids or subtle patterns, with dark colors -navy or black is preferable. single-breasted blazers have business casual written over it, double-breasted blazers can appear more professional.


 Cardigans and sweater vests look professional. They are generally accepted for business casual, and can be paired with a blazer or collared button-down shirt underneath. Sweaters with busy patterns or flashy colors should be avoided.

  • What not to wear

Here is a list of several things we should avoid wearing as business casual:

  1. Athletic sneakers or tennis shoes
  2. Flip-flops
  3. Stained or wrinkled clothing
  4. Clothing with holes, such as distressed jean
  5. Shorts, tracks suit
  6. Clothing that is too tight or short
  7. Clothing that is oversized or too loose
  8. Face caps,hoodies
  9. Hooded sweatshirts.
  10. Sportswear.
  11. Graphic or printed shirts.

Business casual attire for women

  • What to wear

Women’s business casual attire varies greatly on location, profession, company’s culture and time of the year.

Let’s list some of them:

To-the-Knee Skirts and Dresses:

While the length and tightness varies depending on location, dresses and skirts that are about knee-length (or below), are a sure bet with business casual attire. skirts and dresses that are too tight, too low, should be avoided. For the ladies, business casuals don’t have many restrictions when it comes to colors.


Tailored pants, chinos, or slacks are appropriate. Printed pants or bright colors can sometimes be appropriate, after checking on the environment or location.


blazers are a universal element of a good dress sense. It is advised to have in possession different colors of black, grey, blue, and other colored blazers in your closet. While bright colored-blazers can be fun, ensure they are still versatile to wear with different outfits.

Blouses and Button-Downs

The particulars of what tops are correct depends largely on the individual office dress code, but a nicely fitted, ironed blouse or button-down is always appropriate. Keeping brand logos to  the barest minimum.

  • What not to wear

The list below show what not wear as business casuals for females:

  1. Tank tops or strapless shirts, unless paired with a blazer, jacket or cardigan
  2. Backless or low-cut tops
  3. Crop tops
  4. Clothing with inappropriate logos or text
  5. T-shirts.
  6. Low-cut blouses.
  7. Sundresses.
  8. Leggings
  9. Shorts.
  10. Cargo pants.
  11. Strapless tops such as tube tops.
  12. Overly casual sandals.
  13. Short skirts.
  14. Tennis shoes.
  15. Boat shoes.
  16. Sportswear.
  17. Crop tops or any other tops that show the midriff (the area of the front of the body that is between the chest and the waist.)

Business casual shoes for men

  • What to wear

Based on the work environment, there are  different choices when choosing a business casual shoe.


These are generally acceptable shoe choices for men…call it the “safe choice”. They are versatile, you can easily transition to a suit if you need to arise for a business professional setting. A neutral color of these blushers is a must have in your shoe closet.

Monk Strap:

This is a timelines design with a unique strap. Monk strap shoes are known by their one or two leather straps and buckles that are used to close the shoe. A monk strap shoe is perfect for the business casual outfit when you feel the need to stand out.

Chelsea Boots:

The traditional Chelsea boot was identified in the 1960s in England. Today, it is a better choice for both casual and business casual. They are transitional….works both ways

Chukka Boots:

When paired with the right attire,- blazers and trousers/pants, the chukka Boots brings balance between professional look and the casual look.


This classic, European design gives a slightly more upscale look. Riding the line between casual and formal, Loafer’s work perfectly as a business casual shoe.

  • What not to wear

  1. Tennis shoe
  2. Sneakers
  3. Crocs
  4. Slides
  5. Slippers.

Business casual shoes for women

  • What to wear

These include;

  1. Flats
  2. Pump heels
  3. Peep toe pumps
  4. Stilettos
  5. Kitten heels
  6. Wedge
  7. Strapped sandals with appropriate heels
  8. Oxfords Loafers

  • What not to wear

 Among other things, these are to be avoided;

  1. Slippers
  2. Flip flops
  3. Crocs
  4. Athletic shoes
  5. Boots
  6. Sneakers

Can I use business casual  for interviews

When going for an interview, check the company website and social media pages, to see if you get an understanding of what their dress code could be. For men, a matching suit and tie. For women, a tailored dress, pantsuit or skirt suit.

  • What to wear

Consider wearing a knee length skirt or a pair of slacks in dark color.

Pair your pants or skirts with a conservative, button up shirt.

Be sure that the shirt you choose is not low cut.

A shift dress is another good choice and when paired with a smart jacket.

Ensure that all skirts and dresses are knee length or longer.

Covered shoes are good choices, sticking to 2-6cm.

You can include your personal styling with great accessories.

Avoid very big bags and go with a matching handbag (one that matches your outfit)

Style Your hair neatly or tie it to the back (into a bun or using a ribbon). 

Ensure you cover all tattoos and body piercings. 

A knee length or midi skirt is also great

For shoes; wear flats or short heels with closed toes. 

Your blouse or shirt should fit well. (avoid low-cut tops). 

A cropped cardigan can look smart without being too formal.

Do not wear too much perfume.

Bring a satchel or briefcase to carry your resume and documents. (carrying it on your hand does not speak very professional of you)

Avoid wearing jeans and shirts without collars. 

Shave and get a nice haircut or if your hair is long, tie it back.

Wear chinos or trousers, free of any form of holes and stains.

Wear a buttoned  shirt with a collar.

Choose leather shoes that are polished and free from either scratches or stains.

Wear matching socks.

  • What not to wear

Let’s review what you should not wear to an interview, regardless whether it is formal or informal. Your aim is to make a good first impression, To ensure you look your best, avoid the following:

  1. Flip flops and other open-toed sandals
  2. Athletic shoes
  3. Tank tops or shirts that have thin straps
  4. Shorts
  5. Underwear that sticks out from your clothing 
  6. Skirts or dresses that are too short Shirts with too-low necklines or that expose your belly
  7. Perfume or cologne, some scents can be irritating to others and distracting

General dressing rules when there is no dress code

Today companies are shifting to allow flexibility, when it comes to,- when they work, where they work, and what they wear to the office.

However, with freedom comes the difficulty to dress appropriately, where there are no company dress codes. Cases like this, setting your own dress rules is not out of place, knowing that your appearance speaks mightily about you. These tips could assist you know appropriate attires for any occasion.

Wear What Makes You Feel Confident

An office, without a dress code, allows you to wear clothes that make you confident to express your personal style. Although our personal style varies greatly, the important point here is; we want to be polished and put together, taking the time to make the effort to make casual clothes look office-ready, and you’re good to go.

Polish Your Look With Easy Accessories:

Accustomed to a more formal office style and don’t feel comfortable in a basic t-shirt and jeans? consider dressing up in a basic outfit with simple accessories. Wear a scarf, or a statement necklace or pair of earrings. You can place a casual blazer over your t-shirt. There are various ways to refine a casual look without having to wear button-down shirts or dress pants.

Choose a Good Shoe Over a Dress Shoe

As a rule, ensure that whatever shoes you wear to work are neat, dress shoes may feel too formal for the environment. If you are uncertain about wearing certain shoes, such as sandals or sneakers, check with your supervisor. Just because another worker is wearing flip flops, doesn’t mean that it’s acceptable work attire. As a rule, make sure that whatever shoes you wear to work are neat and clean.

Play Prints and Colors for a Fun but Professional Look

 Add prints, textures, and patterns to your look to add brightness and colorfulness to your casual outfit. Swap your everyday denim for a pair of jeans in a subdued floral print. Or, you can go for khakis in a flushed colour like salmon. 

Ways to rock a business casual outfit to work

Apart from the occasional “Casual Friday” outfit people wear in the office, the best way to rock business casual is to plan ahead. 

When shopping clothes, purchase a versatile collection of different shirts, pants, skirts or dresses, and shoes.

Dressing business casual is not rocket science—so many of the particulars are left up to your style and judgement, while maintaining an array of tops and bottoms that can mix properly with a  couple of shoes to rotate in and out. 

Business-Casual Dos and Don’ts

Although these vary by locations, the main do’s and don’ts for business casual are: 

DO: Choose clothes that fit you and make you look professional, such as tailored pants, blazers or jackets, and dresses.

DON’T: Wear baggy, worn-out, faded or logo-ridden shirts or pants. Ensure you keep your ensemble looking fresh and clean.

DO: Buy a few pairs of pants with neutral colours that will work with different shirts. This will save you money and keep your outfits looking office-appropriate.

DON’T: Wear jeans, sneakers, flashy jewelry, or sandals to the office that could distract others. 

Remember that you are addressed the way you dress. Your dress is your first point of contact with people. When you dress appropriately, you feel good and this brightens up your mood.