What is Business Casual Dress Code

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You might not have heard of this before but there are actually different Dress Codes that were created in order to organize the way we dress in general.

Dress Codes range from Casual to White Tie, with Business Casual (our topic for this article) somewhere in-between. The reason why this wide range of codes exist is simply the degree of formality and appropriateness.

Each Dress Code has a special meaning and degree of formality associated with it. These variables change according to the event or occasion you want to attend. For example, you can’t go see the Queen wearing you every day casual clothes or even worse, your pyjama, for it is not appropriate. 

Business Casual Dress Code, or Smart Casual, is one of the best and easiest dress codes to pull off. It is slightly more formal, or “smarter”, than the Casual Dress Code which makes it perfect for most jobs and professions that are not very strict when it comes to dressing.

Business Casual Dress Code can make you look classy, formal, professional, and ready for business without actually breaking your bank account.

For you men out there, this can be easily pulled off by wearing a button-down shirt, a pair of dress shoes, and a blazer depending on the weather.

However, it can be easily mixed out with other dress codes the thing that can ruin your day, night, or even life sometimes if you don’t pay attention.

But don’t worry because we got you covered here. In the next few lines, we collected for you some basic tips on what you should and shouldn’t wear for Business Casual, besides some pieces of advice by the end to look even classier.   

What to Wear

As we mentioned above, this dress code doesn’t require you to go out of your way to look appropriate, and it is a lot easier for men to pull off than it is for women. All you have to do is being smart while finding a balance between what is casual and formal. 

One thing for sure is that you must look formal and professional in this dress code without relying on a Tuxedo or a full suit with a tie, for those are reserved for other dress codes namely: White Tie and Black Tie.

So, don’t mix things up.

There are a few basic clothing items that every man who dresses Business Casual should own, and you can basically never go wrong with these.

Tops

For this, there are tons of options that you can go for, and they’ll all look fancy on you. But remember that they have to be appropriate.

You can try wearing a sweater, a button-down shirt, a polo shirt, an oxford shirt, an unstructured blazer, a V-neck jumper and an open-collared shirt, a knitted bomber or zip-up track top, a nice denim jacket, or even checkered shirts.

The good thing about Business Casual is the incredible amount of option that you have. However, the secret spell is in how you mix them in your own style. This is why we mentioned above that you should be smart about it.

Just make sure the colors are neutral and you don’t go for a color that is too flashy, ruining the whole look and attracting the wrong kind of attention to the wrong things.

Keep it simple with a maximum of 3 pieces of clothing on top. 

Bottoms

For this part, again, you have plenty of options.

Simple Jeans can practically be good for this exact Dress Code. BUT you have to DITCH your shredded jeans which are full of holes and patches. Because those are not suitable for Business Casual, nor for a gentleman to be wearing. 

You can try dark or blue jeans, it doesn’t matter as long as they match the rest of the outfit, but again don’t go with those crazy jeans of yours, and keep it simple.

Jeans are great, but this doesn’t mean you should stick to them only. 

You can diversify your look by putting on a couple of Chinos, Khakis, Corduroys, tailored trousers, or Dress Trousers as well. 

The key point here is to have a wide range of options to choose from, not only having them only but also wearing them, in order to not look boring.

Shoes

It’s okay if you wear normal baskets from time to time, but there are so many more options that you need to be aware of. So, start taking notes:

For shoes, you have the freedom to choose between Dress shoes, Brogue Shoes, chunky Derbies, Work Boots, Ankle Boots, Chelsea boots, and simple Hiking boots would do the trick. 

They are all great options for you to look, not only formal but also stylish and classy.

If you’re going to wear a blazer, it is best if you pair it up with a pair of dress shoes instead of those sneakers of yours. These last ones should almost be forgotten about unless you’re going running, which you’re not.

But if you’re still stubborn and you want to stick with sneakers then try Sleek and Clean New balance baskets, Vans, Nike-Jordan, or Converses. 

If you want to dress for Business Casual, you better forget about those errands and be ready to roll in a classy style. 

Accessories

For accessories, you should follow the KISS rule, (KEEP IT STUPID SIMPLE).

You don’t have to go overboard with plenty of accessories like a hippy. A classic watch that matches the colors of your outfit would do well, a watch in an accented color would do even better.

What Not to Wear

Now that we agreed on what to wear for the Smart Casual Dress Code, let’s find out what you should not be wearing.

You don’t need to wear a suit for starters, but instead, you can wear clothes that are a bit less formal while staying professional enough. 

Lose your t-shirts, you aren’t 18 years old anymore, and you’re not going out with your friends. If you’re going to work, hence Business Casual, you should be dressed for it.

Sneakers, sandals, flip flops, whatever it is, if it’s not shoes, don’t go near it because it is considered as a slap in the face of your company, colleagues, and YOUR OWN SELF in the first place. It is insulting, don’t do it.

A hat, fedora, and a snapback, please don’t wear any of these.

It is okay to make mix some of your sports clothes with your Business Casual attire, but keep in mind that your outfit isn’t for working out.

If you have tattoos on your hands, avoid uncovering them by unbuttoning your cuffs.

Finally, if you’re going to wear a pair of jeans, make sure they are in a dark color and are simple. As Debrett puts it, “The wrong pair of jeans will mark you out for all the wrong reasons.” Your jeans should be “cut well and not looking too old and shabby”.

So, don’t wear shredded jeans, you won’t impress anyone that way, and you’ll look ridiculously childish rather than stylish.

Things to Keep in Mind

Please remember that Business Casual Dress Code implies that you’re dressing, most of the times, for work, and not for any special occasion. So, as much as you dress up, keep things formal and toned down. Keep it simple, yet professional and formal.

The golden rule for you here is to mix what is already casual with what is formal. If you decide to go out with sneakers, then pair it with a Chinos or Dressing Trouser along with a bottom-down shirt. Match the colors, keep it clean and simple, and you’re good to go. 

Balance and order between the different items are necessary. Remember, it is called Smart Casual for a reason. You have to step up from the normal way of dressing to a more formal and classy dress code.  

You should also look neat and groomed, don’t let your beard grow too long unless you can make it look really good. Take care of your hair as well, and avoid letting it grow too chubby and shabby. 

One last thing to remember is that “Business casual isn’t dressing up in a full casual outfit, it is dressing down in a formal one.” This easy rule will save you a lot of time and from a lot of confusion.

Conclusion

It’s very important for every man to know how to dress himself up.

If you work somewhere where the dress code is Business Casual, you should be aware of everything that you can and cannot wear. It is as important as your educational degrees. So, do not underestimate it.

As an employee, a business owner, or even a freelancer, you are a representative of a company, brand, or even a multinational firm, not just of yourself. Therefore, respect must be paid in this regard, to yourself first, then to the rest. 

Usually dressing up in Business Casual isn’t hard to master, but just make sure you don’t make the common mistakes of dressing up too Casual or way more formal than it should be. And you’re good to go my friend. 

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