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Business Casual-A Form of Business Etiquette

Updated on October 31, 2012

Looking good

Variety | Source

Dress for Success

Everyday decisions can sometimes be difficult for people especially when it comesto what to wear for an interview. While t-shirts and jeans or a freshly ironed suit may be at each end of the clothing spectrum and not the appropriate choice, the middle ground for proper attire lies in what is known as business casual for business professionals. What to wear in the business world is a component of business etiquette. Business etiquette is defined as “a group of recommended behaviors for particular situations that occur at work”.

Business casual is defined as “a style of dress that falls in-between casual and formal clothing”. This type of dress has spread beyond just the workplace or acompany meeting and has become the norm for many professional and informal gatherings as well as everyday outfits for many employees, business professionals, and owners. Business casual can also be described beyond just the clothing aspect. It also includes proper grooming, hygiene, and even jewelry.

While some employers may identify their business etiquette for dress upfront or have it written in their employee handbooks, many companies don’t. Individuals who aren't given company issued uniforms should assume that business casual is the expectation. Generally, if one does not have information ahead of time as to what to wear, business casual would be a safe start. According to Virginia Tech’s career services homepage, business casual is “classic rather than trendy”.

Once it becomes time for the interview men and women have simple basic guidelines they can go by. For men, long-sleeved button shirts and khaki pants along with a belt are a sure thing that will represent the business casual description. The shirt should be tucked in and a tie is acceptable but not necessary. Dark socks in order to blend in if a person sits down are also preferred. Shoes should be clean and leather. Tennis shoes, sandals, and flip-flops are not acceptable. Further business dress etiquette would include for men, minimal jewelry with the exception of a watch and wedding band. Virginia Tech’s career services experts also state “Don't confuse club attire with business attire. If one would wear it to a club, one probably shouldn't wear it in a business environment.”

Women have general criteria for business dress etiquette for interviews as well. Similar to men, khakis and dark socks are recommended. Tailored shirts, sweaters or blouses would meet the casual criteria for women as nothing worn should be considered too tight. Closed toe type boots or dress shoes that match the outfit are suggested while heels, strap shoes, and sandals are not acceptable. Women who dress business casual usually have their makeup and jewelry to a minimum. Anything in excess goes towards the club atmosphere instead of the business professional surroundings.

How people dress sometimes reflects their personality, attitude, and overall self-love. Business dress etiquette is a reflection of just that. Developing confidence and comfort with the business casual dress code starts with an understanding of it. Business casual will prevent one from being overdressed in almost all occasions as well as under dressed at many events. Many companies prefer their employees to have these qualities and look good while they represent their business.


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    • KDF profile image

      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      Thanks teaches! It's been a while since I've been on here, so I had to get back into the game. Glad you found the writing accurate and true.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I like the women's casual styles you have posted. Black is always a safe color choice and gives the impression of confidence and power. Good write up on this form of attire for business.