Business Casual – Women

Unravel the Ins and Outs for Business Casual for Women

Author: Sarah Gray

Business dress code, Smart Casual, Business Casual, Dress down. We are often requested to dress to a certain dress code at work but it’s not always clearly defined and can leave us somewhat confused. So let’s unravel the one dress code that gives us the biggest headache!

As an Image Consultant, I am frequently asked for advice on the Business Casual dress code.  Many women I meet are comfortable with putting together the formal (Business Dress), dress code where we know we should be in tailored outfits or suits. Similarly, a charity dress down day provides us with no real challenges as all the boundaries have been removed for that day.

However, when it comes to Business Casual, so many of us find it challenging to put this look together.  I can tell you that Business Casual means less formal than Business Dress. But it does not mean untidy or scruffy or casual.

So here are some golden rules:

Make sure you adhere to all the elements of being well dressed; clothes which suit your colouring and body shape. Your clothing must be current and suitable for your business environment.

We must still wear make-up suitable for a day time. Wearing make-up is a wonderful enhancement to our features but also shows that you are good at time management as you take the time to apply it every morning.

Good Grooming is absolutely essential. Ensure your hair is brushed and tidy and your nails are clean and a suitable length. Be pleasant to be around; ensure impeccable personal hygiene

Avoid dressing as if you are going on a night out. An over-the-top outfit is not acceptable in the workplace.  The workplace is not the place to show too much cleavage or a lot of leg.

Clothes need to rest and be freshened, change all your clothes and shoes daily. Make sure your clothes are well maintained including using the iron on them!

So let’s put this into practice; here are some tips on how to create acceptable Business Casual outfits;

- you can do away with the formal suit and opt co-ordinating separates

- tailored trousers or a skirt teamed with a jacket or shirt

- knitwear such as a cardigan or wrap top would be great with tailored trousers or skirt

- Skirts must be of a respectable length

- a cap, short or three quarter length sleeve dress is acceptable. Ensure the dress is the appropriate length

- you can wear less formal shoes but not trainers or flip flop type sandals. Shoes must have a closed toe

Next time you have an instruction to dress Business Casual you know what to do! If you think the men in your workplace need some guidance, why not check out one of my other articles; “Business Casual for Men”.

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About the Author

Sarah Gray is a Senior Style & Image Consultant with Colour Me Beautiful Style Consultants. Located in Warwickshire, Sarah offers advice on all aspects of personal image such as colour analysis and style consultations. She also offers wardrobe weeding, personal shopping and corporate presentations.