Business casual is a ambiguous term that is usually described as business casual dress code but with certain elements of a proper white-collar workplace casual wear, commonly worn for white collar workplaces. The term was first used in the United States during the early World War I, when businessmen would dress in army green with black collars. This casual workplace wear was considered so appropriate for corporate and business casual employees alike.
With the dawn of more relaxed dress codes in the United Kingdom and United States in the latter half of the twentieth century, business casual dress has become less formal and more comfortable. Many business casual dresses are now made less formal by incorporating various elements of the professional uniform – sleeves, for example, or skirts and blouses with a bit of stretch. The business suit still has a place in business casual dress codes, however. Business suits are often seen on men at a bar or at the office, and they are the most common type of business casual dress. Men’s business casual dress is similar to regular business casual dress, except that it usually incorporates a blazer, though the color may be different.
For women, the classic business casual blazer has been assimilated into the female wardrobe. Blazers are generally reserved for formal wear and are often paired with a skirt, a jacket, or with a blouse. Blazers were once strictly men’s attire; a woman’s blazer was always less flamboyant than a man’s blazer and more conservative. Today, many women opt for blazers that incorporate some color into the design, or use a colored blazer with a neutral toige blouse, which can still be just as stylish.
Men can be seen sporting a variety of business casual wear, including sports jackets with vests and utility pockets, casual loafers with wingtip buttons, and khakis, all of which can be appropriate for a professional appearance. Of course, there are still the classic business jackets, and one of the most distinctive is the plain black jacket with elasticized waist and flap to conceal the trousers. The coat is appropriate for a professional appearance in business casual attire. Men’s dress codes may include sports jackets with vests and utility pockets, sport-coat-type trousers with rolled up cuffs, and slacks with wingtip buttons, although these particular details may vary by professional setting.
Women tend to steer away from a traditional business casual wardrobe and choose more fashionable styles, including skirt, top, and ankle boots with high heels. This trend is also evident in the cover-up dresses worn to work, and the casual skirts worn during the evening. The current cover-up trend is evident in the shorter, cropped style of dress shirts worn with skirts, and in the trend toward knee-length, black slacks worn with button-down blouses. These trends reflect the desire for something a little edgier for a professional appearance. However, business casual attire is appropriate for a variety of settings including board meetings, holiday dinners, cocktail parties, or just down-to-earth social occasions.
Business casual attire is appropriate for men and women of all ages, and can make great gifts. Whether you’re attending an office party or hosting your own, your guests will appreciate it when you take the time to dress up for the occasion. In addition to the apparel mentioned above, you may want to consider accessories such as ties, shoes, and jewelry to complete your look.