Casual office attire has become a popular choice for many professionals in recent years. It can be more comfortable and less restrictive than traditional business wear. However, there are still some guidelines that should be followed when dressing casual for work. In this article, we will discuss what casual office attire is, and give you some tips on what you can wear to work without looking too casual or unprofessional.
History of The Business Casual Dress Code
The term “business casual” was first coined in the late 1980s by J. Crew founder, Arthur Cinader. He noticed that more and more young professionals were dressing down for work instead of wearing traditional business attire, and he wanted to create a dress code that would be appropriate for this new casual office environment.
The Evolution of Office Attire
The business casual dress code has since evolved, and today it can mean different things depending on the workplace. Generally speaking, business casual attire is a step up from casual wear, but not as formal as traditional business wear. It is important to remember that business casual attire is not just for Fridays – it can be worn any day of the week in most workplaces.
What is considered appropriate business attire can vary depending on the company, industry, and even the specific workplace. In some cases, casual office attire may simply mean dressing down a bit from traditional business wear – for example, wearing a dress shirt or casual pants like khakis and a collared shirt or button-down shirt instead of a suit.
Business casual jackets, or a sport coat, are also becoming more common in casual office environments. In a very casual work environment, casual office attire may be more relaxed and allow you to wear jeans, casual skirts or dresses, and short-sleeved shirts.
Everyday clothes that are clean and presentable are generally considered casual office attire. The key is to avoid anything too revealing, sloppy, or overly casual, like sweatpants, tank tops, or ripped jeans.
What is an informal dress code?
An informal dress code means that employees are not required to wear certain items of clothing, like suits or ties. Instead, they can dress in casual clothes that are comfortable and appropriate for the workplace.
When deciding what to wear to work, it is always best to err on the side of caution and dress a bit more formally than you think might be necessary. If you are unsure about what is appropriate for your workplace, ask your supervisor or a trusted colleague. With casual office attire becoming more common in workplaces across the country, it is important to be mindful of the dress code in your office and to dress accordingly.
Casual Friday vs Business Casual Dress Code
Some companies may allow you to wear casual attire every day of the week, whereas others might do casual Fridays only. Depending on your office dress code, casual office attire might mean anything from jeans and a t-shirt to slacks and a button-down shirt. If you are unsure about what is considered casual office attire in your workplace, it is best to ask your supervisor or another trusted colleague.
When in doubt, remember that it is always better to dress a bit more formally than you think might be necessary. This will help ensure that you are not underdressed for any meetings or other events that might come up during the day.
The Difference Between Casual and Business Casual Attire
Business casual should mean you don’t need dress pants or that you have to wear skirts, but you should avoid super casual clothes like ripped jeans, t-shirts, or sweatshirts.
A business casual dress code might include things like this:
- Wear jeans, casual slacks, dark denim, or khakis
- A casual button-down shirt, dress shirt, blouse, polo shirt, or sweater
- A casual blazer or sport coat
- Dress shoes or casual shoes like loafers, sneakers, or dress boots
- A belt
- No flip flops
You might also add some accessories to your business casual outfit, such as:
- A scarf
- A watch
- A bracelet
Most companies will allow women to wear open-toed shoes as long as they are not casual sandals like flip-flops. If you’re unsure about what to wear, it’s always better to err on the side of being too dressy rather than too casual. casual office attire can be a great way to show your personality and style while still looking professional.
One last note: avoid wearing anything that is too tight, short, or revealing. You want to look polished and put-together, not like you’re going out clubbing. Office casual should be comfortable and stylish but never focused on being sexy.
Examples of a Business Casual Outfit
When dressing in casual attire, it is important to keep in mind that you should still look professional and put together. With business casual wear, you have more flexibility in what you can wear, but there are still some guidelines that you should follow.
Here are some example pictures of what business casual looks like so you can get an idea of the types of casual attire you need to dress appropriately:
Frequently Asked Questions
What is office casual attire?
A business casual outfit is clothing that is more casual than traditional business wear but is still professional and appropriate for the workplace.
What can I wear to work if I have a casual dress code?
If you have a casual dress code at your workplace, there are a variety of clothing items that you can wear. These include slacks, khakis, collared shirts, button-down shirts, polo shirts, dresses, skirts, blouses, and cardigans.
Can I wear jeans to work if I have a casual dress code?
Jeans are typically allowed in casual workplaces as long as they are not ripped or torn. You may want to avoid wearing very casual items such as t-shirts, shorts, or sneakers.
What should I not wear to work if I have a casual dress code?
There are a few items that you should avoid wearing to work, even in a casual workplace. These include ripped or torn clothing, tank tops, spaghetti straps, flip flops, and exercise clothing.
When in doubt, it is always best to err on the side of caution. This will ensure that you are always dressed appropriately for any casual setting that may arise.
What should I wear for casual work?
Assuming that you have a casual workplace, there are a few different options for what you can wear. These include slacks, khakis, collared shirts, button-down shirts, sweaters, and dress shoes. You should avoid wearing anything that is too casual, such as t-shirts, shorts, or flip flops.
How should a woman dress for a casual office?
The best business casual attire for women is a skirt or slacks with a blouse, cardigan, or sweater. You can also wear dress shoes or casual loafers. Avoid anything too casual, such as jeans, t-shirts, or sneakers. If you have any questions about what is appropriate to wear, be sure to ask your supervisor.
What should I wear to an office casual party?
If you are attending an office casual party, you can typically wear the same business casual attire that you would wear to work. However, you may want to add a few festive touches, such as a holiday scarf or festive jewelry. Be sure to avoid anything that is too casual or revealing.
How should a man dress for a casual office?
A business professional man should wear casual clothing that is still appropriate for the office. This might include a polo shirt, dress slacks, and casual loafers. You should avoid anything too casual, such as jeans or t-shirts. If you have any questions about what is appropriate to wear, be sure to ask your supervisor.
What should I wear if my office has casual Fridays?
If your office has casual Fridays, you can wear informal clothing and show off your personal style every Friday but on other weekdays need to maintain professional dress. You should wear clothing that you would feel comfortable wearing to a casual friend’s house. This might include jeans, a t-shirt, and sneakers. You should avoid anything too revealing or casual, such as shorts or crop tops. If you have any questions about what is appropriate to wear on casual Fridays, be sure to ask your supervisor.
What if I need to dress casually for an important meeting?
If you have an important meeting with a client or potential employer, you should dress in casual business attire. This means clothing that is still professional but more relaxed than traditional business attire. This might include slacks, a blazer, and a button-down shirt.
What jobs have the most casual dress code?
Tech startups are well-known for not requiring work clothes and even promoting self-expression and personal style. If you’re looking for a job that doesn’t care about dress codes, becoming a programmer or web developer might be the right path for you. These days, even some more traditional workplaces are getting casual, with employees dressing down on Fridays or casual days.