There exists a lot of confusion and ambiguity about what business casual wear entails at the work place. You can always ask your HR personnel for specifics of the office dress code, but the following FAQs should also help you demystify this ever popular work wear trend:

What does business casual wear mean?

The business casual dress code is encouraged in many offices for one or two days a week to allow employees to work comfortably while looking professional and efficient. Business casual wear is more about looking classy and chic and less about following the latest trends. The idea is to look crisp, well put together and competent. You must use a certain level of judgement and common sense when making clothing choices because doing business casual can be rather trick

What is business casual for men?

Neatly pressed trousers (khakis, flannel, cotton, chinos, cords or synthetic), full-sleeved shirts (solids, stripes, checks), tucked in polo-necks, casual sport coats and dark socks adhere to the business casual dress code. You don’t need to wear a tie but might consider carrying one for sudden meetings or presentations. Leather shoes are ideal but dark colour athletic shoes are also okay. A conservative watch, subtle cologne and good grooming are all essentials of business casual for men.

What is business casual for women?

Business casual for women tends to be more versatile. Women can wear a variety of outfits under the business casual dictum, including trousers, formal skirts (knee length), cardigans, knit blouses, tailored shirts, skirt suits, pant suits, and silk scarves. The important thing is to keep the look clean, crisp and crease-free. Shoes can have medium heels and should ideally be closed-toe and dark coloured. Nylons (stockings) are not necessary. At all times, make sure your jewellery and make-up are subtle and that your perfume is not overpowering. Handbags must be decent sized and firm – not slouchy. A briefcase is not required.

What kinds of clothing are unacceptable for business casual wear?

Anything untidy, creased, tight, baggy, flashy or faded is not acceptable for business casual. Missing buttons, worn collars, loose threads or runaway stitches are all no-no’s. Other inappropriate clothing items include torn or ripped clothes, see-through or cleavage baring clothes, jeans and miniskirts. Body piercings (with the exception of earrings for women) and tattoos should be kept hidden. Sneakers, tennis shoes, shorts and flip flops/sandals are out.

The business casual code often varies from office to office, so it’s best to ask HR personnel whether it’s okay to wear a particular item of clothing. They’ll be happy to let you know.

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