Don't Know What "Business Casual" Really Means? You're Not Alone

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Have you ever been asked to dress “business casual” and automatically panicked, wondering what that even means? If so, you’re not alone.

For as many silly, fashion-related terms there are, I’d venture to say that “business casual” is the one that bothers me the most… even more so than “pantashoe”, and that says a lot. It’s not hard to see why the concept evokes anxiety in so many people. After all, the term itself is an oxymoron as the concept of business and casual attire are definitely two conflicting styles.

Thankfully, Business Insider has broken it down for us: “The business casual dress code encourages employees to project a... business-like image while enjoying the advantage of more casual and relaxed clothing.”  So basically, “business casual” is business-y, but without being stiff. Though the clothes look polished, a “business casual” dress code would (theoretically) be a little more comfortable.

Examples of appropriate “business casual” staples may include, “slacks or khakis, dress shirt or blouse, open-collar or polo shirt, optional tie or seasonal sport coat, a dress or skirt at knee-length or below, a tailored blazer, knit shirt or sweater, and loafers or dress shoes that cover all or most of the foot.”

Our takeaway from all this? When going “business casual”, definitely err on the side of more formal rather than less—which is generally a good rule of thumb for any occasion where you’re unsure of the formality. While it still means business, it doesn’t have to be boring. To inspire your next great outfit, we’ve shopped out some of our favourite staples below. Keep scrolling to see what we’ll be wearing the next time something “business casual” is called for.

 

Channel your personal style with a little colour.

Polka dots make for a look that is fun but still professional. 

Imagine how sleek these would look paired with tailored khakis. 

A black turtleneck looks polished when thrown on with trousers or a midi skirt. 

We dare you to find a more perfect pair of work pants.

Something about a bow neck feels so polished.