Whether it is an event, a meeting, or a new job, when the expected attire is business casual, you scramble for a uniform guide. Maybe you have worn standard issue clothes for years, or you just aren’t sure the items hanging in your closet make the cut. Either way, deciding what to wear is not something anyone wants to add to their long to-do list; however, it is on yours, so you put the pre-briefing notes aside and look for articles like this.
Unfortunately, you will not find many hard and fast rules when it comes to business casual. There are, however, a few basic tips that can get you through.
Patterns, prints and checks are definitely included in the realm of business casual, but if you are looking for a safe choice, stick with solids and clean lines. You can still have variety of outfits by choosing different colors, but this classic look is a safe bet.
Opinions on the appropriateness of jeans varies, so on your first day, skip them and get the lay of the land. Plan to wear dress slacks, khakis, a skirt or dress. If jeans indeed are acceptable, find a nice dark wash and pair them with a collared shirt, sport jacket or blouse.
Put away the shorts and miniskirts. Ladies, your skirts and dresses should be no shorter than right above the knee. Steer clear of tank tops, and be sure your clothes are not so tight they look like they are painted on.
You may have the perfect attire for every day, but if you top it off with badly chosen shoes, you have lost it all. Sneakers, sandals and shabby shoes stay home. Polish your dress shoes and/or find a comfortable pair of heels to match your accessories (belt, purse, jewelry).
If you have the opportunity to scope out the event/office beforehand, check out what other people are wearing. Visit the website for a gallery of photos and don’t be afraid to ask for specifics on attire. No one intuitively knows what to wear to every occasion, so do some research. The confidence you gain is essential to making every outfit look good.
Dress to impress.
Although impress is commonly defined as: ‘affect or please someone greatly,’ this basic tip should be interpreted with an alternate definition: make something clearly understood. Your attire matters whether you want it to or not. Dress to make it understood that you are a professional, you can handle decisions, and you will do a great job.
Make it personal.
If you are overwhelmed about the idea of having freedom from everyday uniforms or you feel like business casual is too restrictive, find a way to feel comfortable through picking one personal statement in your outfit. Maybe it is a handkerchief that you always carry or a beautiful, yet tasteful bracelet you wear. Perhaps you find the wackiest socks out there. Whatever it is, find something that makes you feel comfortable in your business casual wear.