Business casual is a vague, ambiguous term, often referred to as business casual dress code, but with certain key elements of a proper corporate lounge suit, commonly accepted for white collar workplaces. The term is currently undergoing a renaissance in popularity, most notably with younger workers and a growing emphasis on a more “professional” business culture. But does business casual dress apply only to working environments? Or does it also encompass employee attire that is worn at the workplace as well as outside the workplace? It is important to differentiate between the two.
Business casual dress code traditionally describes any clothing that is not ready-made or custom-tailored for a particular occasion, but worn generally as everyday attire. In this definition, business casual clothing typically includes items like: dress pants, dress shirts, office jackets, khakis, casual shirts, blouses, casual dresses, and casual skirts/dresses. Some other types of business casual clothing include athletic gear, evening wear, formal dresses, and casual shoes. These items are typically worn by individuals who are not employed in a formal business setting, as business casual attire is not appropriate for a workplace environment.
One important distinction between the two styles of dress is that casual attire tends to be much less stiff and professional-like than business casual. This can be seen in both casual shirts and casual dress pants. Because many businesses prefer their employees to wear relaxed and loose-fitting attire, they allow employees to wear casual jeans instead of dress shirts and business shoes. Similarly, individuals who don’t work in offices may choose to wear casual or sporty clothes instead of business suits, because they allow employees to move around more freely. While some offices do frown on business casual attire, others allow it because employees will tend to have more fun and relaxed surroundings, which can be conducive to productivity and efficiency.
If you are in charge of ordering your employees’ casual attire, keep in mind what types of clothing will be most appropriate for the occasion. If you are planning on throwing a party, you might want to think about the color and style of the clothing in order to make sure that everything matches properly. For instance, if you are planning on hosting a barbecue, you will probably want to purchase a more colorful, lighter colored blazer than you would if you were planning on putting on a formal business suit.
Casual wear is also commonly accompanied by smart-casual footwear such as loafers, black shoes, dress shoes, and casual sandals. Some business casual wear styles include denim and khakis, t-shirts, and sports jerseys. For the most part, you can pretty much wear anything you want when it comes to business casual wear. However, there are a few items that are considered good choices, regardless of whether you are wearing a business suit or a sport coat. These items include light-colored, button-down shirts with one or two buttons, dark-colored socks (all are optional), closed-toed shoes, athletic shoes with non-slip tread, chinos, and cotton cargo pants.
You can easily follow a dress code for business casual attire, no matter what type of business you are in. The most important thing is to be comfortable. Remember that comfort is key. If you don’t feel confident in your own clothes, you shouldn’t be in business with anyone. Dress for success, and feel comfortable and at ease so you can focus on making money and providing service for your customers.