What does business casual even mean?

By: Nicole Vuong

Let’s talk about business…casual.

Depending on the industry, the company and the climate, the standards of how employees dress may vary. I’ve noticed in public relations agencies and other creative fields, they opt to a “business casual” dress code, which is more relaxed and flexible than the traditional pantsuit. This type of dress code gives employees the freedom to be able to dress in their own personal style.

Although business professional clothing makes people look so powerful and authoritative, it’s not very comfortable. We’re seeing more and more industries move toward loosening their dress code and I’m loving it. 

The tricky thing about this dress code is that each company has their own definition of what “business casual” really means. It also changes a lot depending on the weather. It’s something that consistently sparks up confusion in workers, those entering the workforce and myself. 

I’ve learned that there really isn’t a clear standardized definition, the only way to figure out appropriate business casual attire is to ask. Get advice on what to wear, and what not to wear, by asking those who work at the company and during the interview process. If you’re not totally sure if your outfit fits the business casual look, it’s always better to go with something that’s a little more formal than too casual. 

I’ve listed and linked some staple pieces for women that are similar to the ones in my wardrobe. I think these articles of clothing would create perfect business casual outfits and still make you feel like a girl boss!


Simple Blouse

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This champagne Satin Billowy Sleeve Top is a great neutral piece to tuck into any bottom, plain or patterned. Since this is a color that goes well with almost everything, you can create multiple looks with it!




Graphic Tee

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Depending on the environment, this Beatles Abbey Road Tee may or may not be appropriate. I’ve personally paired a graphic tee with a skirt or some cute pants at an internship and got compliments from my co-workers!



Patterned Blouse

Screen Shot 2019-11-20 at 11.25.04 AM.pnghttps://www2.hm.com/en_us/productpage.0794574001.html?CAWELAID=120032800000856518&ef_id=EAIaIQobChMIuqGU1tLq5QIVxJ6zCh1oqQ0kEAQYBCABEgJ_7PD_BwE:G:s&s_kwcid=AL!860!3!340015135091!!!g!667798239258!&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIuqGU1tLq5QIVxJ6zCh1oqQ0kEAQYBCABEgJ_7PD_BwE

This Leopard Print Blouse may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s something in my closet because it’s bold and on-trend. I think wearing a patterned top, whether it be floral, stripes or animal, is a great way to show off your personality!



High-Wasted Tie Pants

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High-waisted pants that tie around your waist are seriously the most comfortable business pants you will ever find (let me know if I’m wrong)! They’re my favorite type of business bottoms to wear because they go with so many tops and I think they’re flattering on every body type.



Fun Pants

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I love incorporating different types of pants into my wardrobe, like these Slim Pull-On Velvet Flare Pants from Free People. I think it’s such a statement to wear pants with a flare at the bottom or in a different pattern or color that stands out. When I wear pants like these, I try to pair it with a dressier top to stay with a more professional vibe. (These types of pants are also so cute to wear going out!)



Midi Skirt

Screen Shot 2019-11-20 at 11.27.54 AM.pnghttps://us.princesspolly.com/collections/maxi-midi-skirts/products/romeo-midi-skirt 

I know it’s fall (and basically winter according to the temperature outside) here in the northeast, but I really wanted to include this Romeo Midi Skirt in a White Multi pattern. While interning in New York City this summer, I saw midi skirts everywhere. When I finally got one for myself, I realized why they’ve become so popular. They’re so comfortable and so cute, you should just try one on and see for yourself!



Slip-on Mules

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Whenever I put on my mules I feel like it definitely elevates my look and gives it a more professional vibe. I prefer the slip-on ones because I think they’re more comfortable, but there are so many regular and slip-on mules to choose from!


Lace-up Ballet Flats

Screen Shot 2019-11-20 at 11.28.39 AM.pnghttps://www.asos.com/us/asos-design/asos-design-laffy-ghillie-ballet-flats-in-taupe/prd/12017769?CTAref=Recently+Viewed

If you’re not into the mule style, ballet flats are a classic. I’ve seen some of my friends wear them with laces that can be tied at your ankle, like these Laffy Ghillie Ballet Flats in taupe from ASOS. I think this style goes well with a lot of outfits and I want to get a pair for myself!




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Since it’s fall and winter is approaching, having a good pair of booties for your business casual and regular closet is a must. When pairing it with your business look, make sure your heel isn’t too crazy because remember, you’re still trying to look professional!



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