Being a boss lady isn’t easy. Women have come a long way in the workplace, but our workplace wardrobes are still a point of contention. If you’ve got a business casual event coming up or you’re starting a new job at a business casual office, this style guide will have you navigating one of the trickiest dress codes with ease.
1. Keep it Covered
When you’re busy climbing the corporate ladder, make sure no one can see up your skirt! We all know modesty is key in the workplace, but the business casual label tends to blur the line a little. A good rule of thumb is, if you’d wear it to a bar or a date, it’s probably too much for the office. Items like bodycon dresses (even if the hem hits your calf), sequined tops, flip flops, yoga pants, and low-rise pants might seem innocent enough and passable for business casual, but they really have no place in the corporate world. Keep it modest, professional, and a perfect fit (nothing too snug or baggy) and you will crush the competition.
2. Strike the Right Balance
Business casual is a blend of dressy office wear and streetwear, in a nutshell. This means you pick pieces from both ends of your wardrobe for a look that is polished but slightly more relaxed than a full suit. So, what does this look like? A blazer, ankle pants, and wedge shoes, a midi skirt, sweater, and flats, or maybe a conservative dress paired with a cardigan. Balance is key for this hard-to-define look. For example, if your office allows dark jeans, make sure you combine them with a professional blouse and heels.
3. Tread Carefully
Speaking of heels, casual shoes are a common faux-pas in the workplace. Business casual does indeed extend to your feet, but the implication is flats versus stilettos, not sneakers or flip flops. Again, balance is key. If you have a very polished outfit on, you can go for more comfortable shoes like flats or dressier sandals. Ankle boots and wedges are great options for a business casual look. Check out Senso for great shoe options that are the perfect mix of dressy and comfortable.
4. Dress Up, Not Down
It can be pretty tempting to see how far you can lean into the “casual” side of business casual but remember that your workplace wardrobe says a lot about you. Even if your manager doesn’t say anything to you directly, it could be costing you a future promotion or the respect of your colleagues. If you’re not sure if something is exactly business casual, err on the side of caution. After all, the age-old adage “dress for the job you want, not the job you have” is true for a reason!