How to Dress Business Casual

Most companies expect you to know how to dress business casual, so they don't spell it out in their employee guidelines. If you're in doubt about the differences between formal business and business casual or business casual and grunge, it's time to take a quick lesson.

  1. Dressing business casual doesn't mean a faded pair of jeans and a logo T-shirt. You'll want to be somewhere in between what you'd wear to a college frat party and a funeral.
  2. Business casual trousers should be a wrinkle-free pair of khaki, navy or other solid color woven fabric. Casual business attire should always be crisp and pressed, with no holes, so leave your yard work outfit at home.
  3. When you dress business casual, it's a good idea to tuck in your shirt. This may be a golf shirt with a collar or a cotton/cotton blend woven shirt. You don't want frayed collars or a shirttail that hangs over your pants. In other words, you need to look like a grownup.
  4. Leather works for your shoes and belt. It's a good idea to match the colors of leather in your shoes and belt. The hardware on the belt should be in the same tone as your watch. For example, if you have a silver watchband, you'll want a silver buckle on your belt. And please, if you are an aspiring rodeo rider, leave the cowboy buckle at home. That is until you find out if your boss shares the same passion.
  5. Your socks should match your trousers or be darker. Avoid wearing white socks with navy pants and black shoes. Save them for the gym.

If you still have doubts about how to dress business casual, ask your human resources department if they have guidelines. Chances are, even if they don't, someone there will take you by the hand and give you some pointers.

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