How to Wear Business Casual

What do you wear when the dress code is Business Casual? It can be so confusing – you have Business Casual, Smart Casual, Dress down, Business Smart and Business Formal. Last week I gave you some tips for Dress Down, where in most cases it is appropriate to wear jeans, as long as you don’t stray too far into casual.

This week I’m talking about Business Casual.

When you are at work, that is the key thing to remember – you are at work. Or if you are outside of your office at an event that has a Business Casual dress code, you are still representing your company. For that reason you should put the emphasis on the word Business in the phrase Business Casual. A suit, unless it is a softly tailored, rather than a traditional suit, is probably too formal. But a blazer does work. My rule would be, if you wear a blazer, what’s underneath it can be a little more relaxed, but keep your accessories more formal. If you don’t wear a blazer opt for a less formal jacket or choose tailored trousers. It is always better to dress one notch higher in a business environment than to be under dressed. If you are the only person in a blazer people will assume you are the most senior person present (this is really true and has happened to me on more than one occasion)

Here are some examples:

What to wear, business casual, business wear for women

For the first option I have chosen a long line knit instead of a jacket. But it’s a smart knit and I have paired it with tailored crop trousers. Crop trousers work if they are paired with a heel, even if it’s only a low heel. I have also kept a structured bag (for all 3 looks).

The second skirt option mixes relaxed boots and a knit but with a jacket and a scarf.

For the third option I have chosen a tailored blazer and paired it with a print shirt worn more casually untucked.

In all 3 cases the accessories are carefully chosen to pull the looks together showing that you have paid attention to the details.

Shop the looks :

Look 1


Look 2


Look 3


If you need a business wardrobe that works for all dress codes why not join the Style Club Executive Membership which includes 2 completely done for you capsule wardrobes at 2 different price levels. Each month they will be updated to include new items, or alternatively if you would like one tailored just for you choose one of my capsule wardrobe services.