Business casual sounds like an oxymoron. How casual is too casual and how business-y is not casual enough? The term has been ambiguous for a long time, but it’s time to take this ambiguity and tackle it head-on with passion and style. Here are some tips on how to dress to impress on a business casual dress code.
An essential must-have when obtaining the business-casual look is the blazer. The fit is highly important when picking your blazer. It should sit square and snug on the shoulders, cut slim along the sides, and end just below your rear. Your sleeves should finish just above the shirt cuff, about a few centimetres above your thumbs.
You’ll want at least three different shades of colours to fill your closet and provide you with a blazer for every season. The classic navy blazer is great for any occasion and instantly provides the business flavour to your otherwise casual look. Grey tweed is a good option for those cooler mornings on the job and can be paired with a light cardigan or heavier shirt underneath. In the heat, you’ll want a lighter blazer such as a beige pure cotton to keep you cool.
Sport a button-up shirt without a tie to keep that business yet casual look. Sometimes you can switch out the tie for a scarf when the weather permits. Regardless of your accessory, the shirt should be collared, and be able to stand up without a tie. You can button your shirt up all the way or leave one or two undone at the top for a more masculine appearance. Switch it up sometimes and go for vivid patterns and fabrics to provide more texture and colour to your look. However, be sure not to go overly crazy with the prints or bright colours.
The key to the business casual look is to sport trousers that are a different colour from your blazer. This can be slacks, khakis, and sometimes jeans when appropriate. Make sure your pants are fitted and don’t crease too much around the ankles. They should not be too baggy or too tight. If you do decide on jeans, do not wear any acid washes or jeans with rips, and go for jeans that are a mid to dark wash.
Shoes can be the item that changes your look from business to business casual. Unlike many other areas of fashion, comfort makes the look. A pair of loafers or Oxfords can be the best work shoes to add a casual look to your business. They help you to look like you mean business while staying perfectly comfortable. Sticking to the typical brown and black shoes will ensure you have a pair to match to every outfit.
It can sometimes be intimidating to get the perfect balance of business and casual. Mix it up from your shirt down to your shoes, but if you’re cautious, steer more on the side of business rather than casual, and don’t forget to express yourself through your outfit. Dress like you mean business but casual enough to look relaxed whilst doing it.