Has your workplace adopted a business casual dress code? The popularity of casual dress is growing in offices across the country, but the new wardrobe choices are challenging for many employees. If you prefer the simplicity of throwing on a suit each day but would like to dive into the world of business casual, here are four tips to keep your look both relaxed and professional.
Replace Your Jacket
If you want to ditch the suit but feel under-dressed without a jacket, there are several alternatives to consider. A blazer is similar to a suit jacket but more casual. Blazers come in a variety of colors and patterns and can be paired with any type of pants or skirt. A cardigan sweater is another stylish choice that is perfect for colder months. Even certain leather jackets have come into style for business casual wear. While a draw-string hoodie may feel comfortable for the coming fall and winter months, there are plenty of more professional options to help you keep warm and comfortable in the office.
Dress Up Your Jeans
You might cringe at the idea of wearing jeans to the office, but the right pair can fit perfectly in a business casual environment. Choose jeans in a dark color, and make sure they don’t have any details like rips, tears or bleaching. Black dress shoes with jeans, a smart blazer and a blouse or button-up dress shirt is a great business casual look that can easily transition to an evening out. A clean pair of jeans can easily work into a business casual aesthetic if paired with the appropriate shirt and shoes, suited more for the office than an outdoor escapade.
Keep Accessories Simple
Throwing out the necktie is a must for business casual style, but what about other accessories? Overdoing it on jewelry can make your look more appropriate for a nightclub than the office, so go easy. Simple necklaces, stud or small hoop earrings, thin bracelets and classic watches are great choices to jazz up your outfit. Men can accessorize with fun belts and printed socks. As long as the patterns and styles are appropriate and not too distracting, your accessories can bring your outfit to another level of fun while still maintaining a professional appearance.
Choose the Right Top
It’s important to remember that while business casual may be less formal than what you’re used to, you still need to dress for success. Shirts and blouses are a great way to look professional in comfort. Men should go for button-up shirts or polos. Women can also wear these styles but also have the option of fashion tops. T-shirts should be left at home, especially if they have screen-printed images, unprofessional sayings or holes and tears. Aim for something you wouldn’t mind wearing to a business meeting, but still comfortable enough to work in.
Although a business casual dress code can increase your workday comfort and save you money on your wardrobe, it can be a hard line to balance between comfort and professionalism. Look for neat, graphics-free clothes that are both comfortable to wear and give a professional appearance, and you’ll be able to maintain good rapport with your boss while avoiding distraction from discomfort.