The saying “dress the way you want to be addressed” often used to promote modest dressing, was most likely inspired by professions that have a particular dress code attributed to them, such as Law, Accounting, Finance and Banking, and so on. It used to be an unspoken rule that work attire must be corporate gowns or skirts that fall below the knee for women, and formal dressing accompanied by a waistcoat, a suit jacket, and a tie for men. However, in recent times, these rigid rules have begun to sound outdated. To please the “woke” generation, companies have become more flexible as regards work attire, hence, the creation of business casual work attire.
What is Business Casual?
Business casual is the common ground between formal attire and a casual dress code. While some dress pieces like tightly-fitted jeans, will forever remain too casual for a Monday in the office, some others like slacks, have wormed their way into being acceptable.
What Belongs in a Business Casual Dress Code?
- Sweaters or Cardigans
- Straight skirts
- Plain and check button-down dress shirts
- Peplum tops
- Corporate gowns
- Unbranded polo shirts
What does not belong in a Business Casual Dress Code?
- Club jerseys
- Graphic tee-shirts
- Ankara outfits
- Shirts or dresses with extravagant designs and intricate patterns.
- Palm Slippers and fancy Slippers
- Papa’s hat
- Tightly-fitted jeans
- Revealing dresses
Business Casual Attire for Women
Some examples of Business Casual Attire for Women include:
- Peplum top on a pencil skirt or plain trousers.
- Chiffon blouses on corporate skirts.
- Turtle neck tops tucked into flared skirts.
- Colored blouses on palazzo trousers (not jean palazzos)
- Conservative plain or patterned two-piece sets.
- Corporate gowns with subtle lace designs.
- Flat shoes and heeled sandals.
Examples of Business Casual Work Attire for Men Include:
- Plain or checkered button-down shirts on slacks.
- Cardigan over a button-down shirt and plain trousers.
- Round-necked unbranded polo shirts on straight-cut jeans.
- Leather jacket or blazer over open-collar or polo t-shirt.
Things to Remember:
- Rumpled clothes and skirts with creases would give the impression that you are a lousy employee, no matter how corporate they are. Always iron or steam your outfits the night before a day of work.
- Men may dress in a business casual outfit without a tie, but women are encouraged to always wear modest makeup to the office space.
- Jeans are only acceptable in dark colors.
- Ankara outfits may be permitted if it is a company uniform, or in event of an office celebration.
- For women; ill-fitting or revealing clothes are not permitted in a workspace.
Different industries have particular rules regarding dress codes and some are more relaxed than others. While a tech company may permit employees to show up in a hoodie and jeans ensemble, an accounting firm may emphasize button shirts with collars and knee-length skirts.
Be conversant with the rules and regulations concerning dress codes in your company, and dress accordingly; you don’t want to lose a promotion or get suspended because you were kitted up wrongly. Remember, dress the way you want to be addressed. Have a great day today.