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Business Casual (Everything You Need To Know About This Attire!)

This dress-code which is more like an oxymoron, has become a very common one in today’s world. However, it is still not known by many people.

For all the ones listening to these two words altogether must be like, “Is it a full suit or a pair of shorts and a t-shirt?”

It can be confusing and tough to understand since both the words are entirely different! One thinks about a person in his office while talking about business code. On the other hand, one wonders about a homely environment or a get together when talking about casual code.

Although, it is not rocket science! Just like other dress codes, it has different set of pros and cons (we will discuss them all!).

This budding dress-code has become very popular. Moreover, people are fusing the two forms of dress into one code amazingly and in a creative way! If you are willing to know what it is, what to wear in this dress-code and when, you are at the right place!


Business Casual (Everything You Need To Know About This Attire!)
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  • Firstly, it is sort of balance between formals and casuals. In other words, it is somewhere in the middle of two opposite poles; business wear and casual wear.
  • Secondly, there is no specific definition for it. However, it should appear as a business-like professional outfit with the comfort look of a casual outfit.
  • Thirdly, there are many factors that affect this code. These factors are mainly within the work-place including company rules, type of industry, climate, culture and many more.
  • Often, it is termed as “smart casuals”.


  • Firstly, business casual is very different from business wear and casual wear! It is a balance between these two as discussed above.
  • Secondly, since there is no general form of business casual, it is important to know that it may vary. In other words, it may mean different in different cities, industries or companies. It varies across the world. As a result, one should ALWAYS clarify the guidelines for this specific dress code from their workplace!
  • Thirdly, one should not be misled by the word, “casual” in this dress-code and choose to wear clothing like ripped jeans or funky shirts. It is important to remember that it is a dress-code for work. Hence, it should be professional to a certain extent.
  • Importantly, business casual and “sports wear” are not the same. Many people think of them as a similar dress code but they are entirely different.
  • IMPORTANTLY, if you are applying in a company and it has a dress code of business casual, try opting for proper formals for the interview anyway! It is important to show yourself more professional when appearing for an interview.


  • The “casual Fridays” at workplaces are somehow linked to the origin of this dress-code! It has its origins in Hawaii during the 1960s
  • Originally, the idea of “Aloha Fridays” started there. People were encouraged to wear Hawaiian shirts to work at the end of the week.
  • After, it reached to the US as “casual Fridays”. This idea has expanded across the world since then.
  • in 1992 the marketing department of an American work-wear brand, “Dockers” mailed a brochure named “A Guide To Casual Business Wear” to 25,000 HR managers across the US.
  • As a result, a budding dress-code came into existence. The idea of Business Casuals expanded 5 days a week instead of one day in many firms.( Source )
  • It is still considered as a very confusing code but loved by many because of the comfort (of course!)
  • Nowadays, ones attire has become a brand itself. This code allows one to present the professionalism of ones profile in a personalised way.


It can be very confusing to decide on a “not too formal and not too casual” look! Moreover, if your work place has a constant dress code of business-casual, choosing new outfits Monday to Friday can be tiring. Here are some tips and guidelines of Business casual dress code for Men and Women!


  • Usually, women wear skirt, dress slacks, sweater, blouse, jacket, and closed-toe shoes as business wear.
  • However, for business casual code, they can wear their professional attire along with comfort!
  • Here are some things that you may choose:
    • TOP
      • You may wear subtle sleeveless shirts, vests, blouses or turtle necks. You can choose flowy tops too.
      • Moreover, you can choose to wear plain casual dresses or, with elegant print too.
      • You may add on sweaters and cardigans of neutral colours as per the weather.
      • In addition, the colour can vary according to the weather. Try to go for light colours during summers and dark ones for winters.
    • BOTTOM
      • You may choose to wear knee length or pencil cut skirt. Split skirts can also be a good choice.
      • Moreover, you can wear khaki, cotton or twill pants.
      • For footwear, you can choose flats, stilettos, open-toed heels or even, closed kitten heels!
  • Even though business casuals is somewhat a customised attire, still there are things that should be avoided:
    • JEANS
    • tight fit dresses if you choose to wear a casual dress
    • ripped pants
    • funky or bold prints
    • sports wear and denims
    • crop tops and off-shoulders
    • hoodies


  • Usually, men wear full suits for business wear. It includes a shirt, pair of pants, formal shoes, tie and a coat.
  • Here are some things that you may choose for business casual to add a pinch of casuals and not go for full suit:
    • TOP
      • You may choose to wear a collared, button-down or button-up shirt having a neutral colour.
      • In addition, you may wear sports-coat or sweaters in replacement of blazers or coat.
    • BOTTOM
      • You may wear formal or semi formal pants. If your workplace allows you may also wear jeans that are not slim fit.
      • Moreover, you may also choose dress slacks and chino pants(Khaki pants).
      • You may wear  tie-up shoes, dark leather shoes or loafers.
  • The things that should be avoided are:
    • printed shirts and T-shirts
    • denims and ripped jeans
    • boots
    • sports-wear
    • hoodies
  • Also, you should choose to wear or not wear a tie according to your company’s guidelines! Try to be shaved and wear a belt, whatsoever the dress-code.

For everybody, bold prints, low waists, high waists, sports-wear and tight clothing should be avoided at any cost! IN ADDITION FLASHY COLOURS SHOULD BE AVOIDED AT BEST. Try to keep brand logos to a minimum. Also, SANDALS should be avoided by everybody at a work-place.

NEUTRAL COLOURS MAY INCLUDE: black, grey and tan

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As told, this budding code is expanding more and more because of all its pros! However, there are still some cons that weigh it down. In the following paragraphs, we will be discussing some of them:

Firstly, it provides comfort to all the people who are working! As a result, people are able to work better and in a more productive manner. It creates a homely environment at the work-place and motivates better. In addition, it helps people relax while working and not with discomfort. A very welcoming environment is created because of this dress code. Since, suits all the time, especially when there is excessive heat, create discomfort and can hinder work performances.

Secondly, the most important thing, it encourages is INDIVIDUALITY. Since, it gives a lot of freedom on the outfit, people are able to present themselves the way they are and hence, form an image. People can be more creative in their professional lives with this flexibility provided to them.

In addition, business suits tend to cost more than casual clothing. Hence, in a way, it is economical because you need not have many suits for your work.

However, as discussed, it can really create confusion if the company does not convey the guidelines well. As a result, while meeting clients or in important events, a bad impression can be created because of the attire. Moreover, for the ones who enjoy the simplicity of the strict rules and do not like thinking much for their outfits, can find discomfort in this comfort. Since, formal wear has a lot fewer choice while business casuals have wider choices, it can become a task to decide even one outfit!

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Basically, business casual is a dress code wherein the traditional norms of formal wear are broken! People get flexibility and freedom to express themselves the way they want. However, from the company side, guidelines should always be conveyed well and from the employee’s side, the guidelines need to be well taken care of. Moreover, one needs to take care of the “business” word in the business casual code and not neglect it.

This code is more common in companies dealing with sales, media and customer services. In addition, the rules varies. So, always keep a good variety of both casuals and formals to form the best business casual attire!

Ridhi Verma
Ridhi Verma
A student and a learner, who loves to read and write. I have a keen interest in content-editing, psychology and cooking.


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