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How to Dress Business Casual

written by: Alia Nikolakopulos•edited by: Wendy Finn•updated: 4/1/2011

Ever wonder what business casual actually means? These pictures of business casual attire will help show you what's safe to wear to work -- and what's not.

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    Deciding what's safe to wear to work in a business casual environment can be as challenging as landing the job in the first place. These guidelines and pictures of business casual attire should help get you on the right track. The key is to find balance between formal business attire and just plain casual.

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    Business Casual for Women

    Woman Business Casual Woman BC Skirt Business casual attire for women includes professional separates and close-toed shoes. The bottom piece of your outfit can include dress pants, slacks, khakis or skirts. Make sure these pieces fit well, are not too snug or too baggy. If you choose a skirt, make sure the hem is at least two inches above your knee when sitting (skirts rise up when you sit down).

    The top part of your outfit can include blazers, sweaters, nice blouses or button-up collared shirts. The material for your wardrobe selections should look crisp and professional and you should also avoid cheap-looking fabrics and loud prints.

    Select shoes that are suitable for your job. Heel height should not exceed 3 inches. Do not wear open-toe shoes or sandals, unless your employer specifically allows it. Business casual attire is a more laid-back version of business formal – that’s true, but, you’re still dressing for work. Check out these pictures of business casual attire for ideas on what is appropriate for this type of dress code.

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    Business Casual for Men

    Men's Shirt Men business Casual These pictures of business casual attire for men illustrate smart choices for men’s office wear. Men dressing in this code should ditch the tie, but always choose a collared shirt. Opt for solid colors or a small print or check pattern. Avoid large stripes and plaid patterns, and choose colors to wear that are from neutral families, such as blacks, grays, blues, reds, plums or basic white.

    A blazer or jacket may be appropriate if your office requires a step-up from business-casual, while not quite entering the business-formal arena. In addition, select dress slacks or khaki pants, and brown or black dress shoes with dress socks. Do not wear white athletic socks with your outfit.

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    Seasonal Selections

    When the seasons change, you may feel inclined to change up your work wardrobe. Feel free to do so, but there are some important things to keep in mind when shopping for seasonal work attire. Fall and winter months don’t require too much change, as you can warm up with a new blazer, suit jacket or sweater.

    Spring and summer tend to be a bit more difficult. Neither men nor women should ever wear shorts to the office; however women need not wear pantyhose in a business-casual environment. Men can choose short-sleeved shirts, but they should remain collared. Polo shirts and short sleeve button-up shirts are acceptable. Women may select short sleeved blouses, but avoid sleeveless shirts and tank tops. In general, your fabric and color choices should remain crisp and professional, avoiding distracting prints and patterns - this is a good policy to adopt when dressing for a job interview too.

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    Business Casual Don’ts

    Men BC Don't Woman BC Don't Now that we’ve discussed what’s safe to wear to work, it’s important to know some all-around don’ts for work wear in this category.

    To help illustrate, we’ve included some pictures of business casual attire no-nos. Remember, in a business casual work environment, you must still dress professionally. This means no jeans or T-shirts. Also, avoid wearing sneakers and flip flops. Women should avoid wearing low-cut shirts and men should avoid wearing shirts that are not collared.

    If you find yourself wondering if your wardrobe selections are appropriate, imagine yourself wearing the same items to run errands in. If the clothes are items you normally wear, or are considered “street" clothes, you probably need to change your selections.

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    Empowerment Enterprises: Today’s Business Attire - What Type of Dress is Considered Business Casual? - Casual Business Attire -

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