Business casual attire has a lot of advantages. It’s practical, it’s professional, it’s adaptable to both the office and your after-hours plans, and it can be very affordable. But it’s important to get it right, or you may fail on all these counts.
- If you really want to get scientific about it, one recent study has shown that what you wear actually can influence your psychological processes. Researchers have termed this phenomenon “enclothed cognition.” In more layman’s terms, you can probably relate to feeling – and performing better – at whatever you’re doing, if you’re dressed comfortably and appropriately.
So, what exactly is business casual in today’s workplace?
The key to nailing business casual attire is looking polished, making the right impression on clients and colleagues, and fitting in with the look, feel and culture of your company. For instance, things may a bit more “business” and a bit less “casual” at a more conservative law or financial firm than at a start-up tech company. So, get a feel for what works.
However, there are some general rules you can follow as you find the right wardrobe for professional success.
Business casual wardrobe staples might include a sport coat or blazer, a plain sweater, collared or button-down shirts, casual slacks like khakis or chinos, a belt, and loafers, nice boots, and possibly high-end sneakers or athletic shoes. Having at least one tie on hand is probably a good idea, too.
Shop for collared or non-collared blouses, slacks that are at least three-quarters in length, dresses or skirts that fall at or below the knee, high heels, dress boots or flats, and modest jewelry and scarves.
Avoid a Fashion Faux Pas
Just as important to getting your business casual look right is knowing what not to wear. Basically, this is anything that may seem inappropriate as determined by your specific employer. See if there’s a dress code or policy. If not, check out how others are dressed. (If you can’t do this in person, try the company website or social media posts.) If you still have doubts, err on the side of caution. It’s better to be a bit overdressed that underdressed. You’re at work, not yoga class or the beach. So it’s generally good to steer clear of:
- Jeans that are torn or too low cut (or maybe jeans all together; again, depending on your employer)
- Cold-shoulder or low-cut tops.
- In most cases, tee shirts, though there may be the occasional exception here, as well. For instance, a tee paired with the right blazer can be a good choice.
- Not just jeans, but any clothing that is ripped or frayed.
- Flip flops.
- Distracting or noisy jewelry or other accessories.
Dressing for success is just one aspect of your successful job search or career growth strategy. For more tips on navigating the workplace, as a candidate or an employee on the growth track, contact PrideStaff Fresno today.