What Is Business Casual? How to Dress for the Job You Want

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So, you’ve got a job interview lined up, and you have absolutely no idea what to wear. You want to make a good impression and feel confident enough to secure that position, right?

Many of the open job positions listed on ZipRecruiter require “business casual” attire, but the name itself feels like an oxymoron, and can make getting dressed all the more confusing.

fear not, Billboard’s got your back. We’ve broken down everything you need to know about rocking a “business casual” outfit to get you in the right headspace to nail your next job interview. We’ve even let you know what not to wear. See below.

What Does “Business Casual Attire” Mean?

To put it simply, “business casual” is a code of dress that allows for more comfort in an office environment by blending traditional, formal business wear — such as suits, blouses and neckties — with a more relaxed style that’s still professional and appropriate.

If you’re still unsure, your best bet is to confirm the dress code through the company you’re applying for directly.

What Do Women Wear for Business Casual?

For women, clothing items deemed “appropriate” for business casual include blouses, blazers, sheath dresses, knee-length skirts and pencil skirts, in addition to dress pants, cardigans, and pullover sweaters in neutral or solid colors.

For shoes, you have the option to wear the classic stilettos or pumps, as well as kitten heels, modest booties or even flats.

What Do Men Wear for Business Casual?

For men, business casual can include dress slacks or chinos, a tucked-in button-down shirt, dark socks and dress shoes. However, unlike “business professional” wear, a tie is optional, fellas.

What Isn’t Business Casual?

OK, so now you know what to wear, but it’s equally important to understand what not to wear. Under no circumstances should you wear clothes with offensive slogans or graphics, or clothes that are inappropriately tight or revealing.

Additionally, clear steer of ripped jeans, flip-flops, crop tops, sweats, shorts or yoga pants. Again, if you’re still unsure, best to check with your supervisor on the company’s approved dress code.

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Where Are the Best Places to Shop for Business Casual?

ASOS has a wide array of business casual options in their “Suits & Tailoring” section for women here, their “Workwear” section for women here. For men, check out ASOS’ “Suits & Tailoring” section here, and the “Trousers & Chinos” section here.

Banana Republic and Express are also great, affordable options to find some stylish business casual ‘fits. You can also never go wrong at department stores like Macy’s or Nordstrom.

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