Business casual is one of those very misunderstood dress codes that a lot of people struggle with. Not only does the definition of “Business Casual” change from employer to employer, the concept can be a bit convoluted. So here are some simple tips for figuring out what your “Business Casual” look is.
Read your Employee Handbook
Because business casual is so confusing to many people, most companies now include a detailed dress code, and business casual dress code within their employee handbook. Doing this helps the company keep everyone on the same page with what is and is not appropriate for the work place. Knowing what the company’s expectations for this “Business Casual” perk could keep you out of an embarrassing situation.
What is Business Casual?
Business casual is one of those trends that were started in the onset of major computer and web based firms back in the late 1980’s in order to offer their employees a more casual work environment without slacking on professionalism. The idea was that if employees were more comfortable that they would work harder and longer hours. Some companies looked at this new trend as a way of offering a benefit without it costing them any money. Others looked at it as flat out ridiculous. Thus there has not been a true set in stone definition for Business Casual that transitions across all industries. For the most part Business Casual here refers to an office setting and what is appropriate to wear in the office.
What NOT to Wear
Business casual is not the same casual as you would wear at home. Short shorts, flip flop sandals, and bikini tops are not appropriate at work even on casual Friday.
Try dressing down by changing your accessories.
When in doubt about what Business Casual is at your company, ask. If you can’t get a straight forward and clear answer, play it safe by achieving your casual work attire through changing up your accessories. Instead of your usual closed toe high heels, switch to a more fun or casual look with a peek-a-boo toe heel or flat. This is the time to bring out your more unusual or larger costume jewelry that you would wear just for fun. Make sure it matches your outfit though. If you are normally in a form fitting pencil skirt, try a pair of comfortable semi-dress slacks such as Dockers, or Corduroy. Make sure to check with your Human Resources Department though before opting for jeans. Some companies acknowledge jeans as Business Casual while others do not. If changing over to slacks this is a great time to pick out your favorite belt and buckle to add an additional sense of your style to your ensemble. Casual Friday is a great time to wear your favorite oversized earrings that would not normally work with professional attire. The important things to remember when picking out your Business Casual outfit are; check to see what your company’s policies are, and keep in mind any safety concerns that there may be within the scope of your job that would affect what you wear.
“Business Casual” is one of those perks that some companies offer to make staff feel appreciated, but it is one that can end up biting you in the end if you do not participate appropriately.