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In today’s workplace, casual attire has become the norm. Employees can go into work in jeans and a t-shirt without any sort of rebuke from upper management. Even CEOs have embraced casual attire. However, this new cultural phenomenon has blurred the lines for other types of professional dress. The most common one?
Business casual for women.
What is business casual for women? Unfortunately, there’s no clear cut definition, and like most fashion trends, female business casual has evolved over time.
As such, the basic idea of business casual for women is to maintain a professional look while wearing everyday clothes that are comfortable. Nonetheless, the business casual dress code is still a world of ambiguity for professional women. Why? Many factors can determine what is deemed as business casual and what is not. From business environments to work events and client/customer interactions, they can all influence what is an appropriate business casual outfit.
Here are four do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when dressing for work, so you can take confidence in your appearance.
1. Don’t Wear Anything You Would Wear to the Beach
This includes tank tops, shorts, short skirts and short dresses, sandals, hats, etc. The key here is appropriateness. Think about what you wouldn’t wear to the beach, such as blazers, pencil skirts, heels, cardigans, blouses, etc. Those are the pieces that you should consider incorporating into your business casual attire.
In addition, when it comes to business attire, don’t wear anything that you would wear to a formal event. No need for a ball gown and gloves. Instead, a good rule of thumb is to mix business professional items with everyday clothing pieces from your closet.
2. Don’t Compromise Your Style
Your style shouldn’t have to suffer when dressing business casual. As mentioned in the previous point, you can make your own business style without breaking the bank by incorporating clothing items already in your closet, such as a patterned pencil skirt or wrap dress.
Furthermore, power dressing doesn’t involve a power suit. Alternately, incorporate modern pieces into a business casual outfit, such as a blazer or fitted slacks. Finding clothing items that you feel comfortable in will translate into confidence, and that all starts with integrating your own unique style.
3. Do Buy the Right Fabrics for Your Job
Depending on your work and the demands of your work, some fabrics will be better than others to invest in. Here are some different fabrics to consider when building a business casual look:
- Polyester: This fabric easily holds shape and is a more durable fabric, making it long lasting. Polyester is also more resistant to wrinkles than other fabrics, such as cotton. However, the fabric can be itchy and uncomfortable for long periods of wear.
- Cotton: This cheap, breathable and comfortable fabric is easy to clean but can stretch and wear out over time and will shrink after the first wash. Cotton clothing can also act as an insulator and help keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
- Wool: This more expensive fabric is very durable and can stretch without compromising the overall shape of the clothing item. Plus, this fabric is great during the colder months. However, because it comes from sheep coats, the fabric can be itchy.
- Linen: This lightweight fabric is the best of both worlds–comfortable, with a sophisticated look. However, it can wrinkle throughout the day.
- Silk: This soft and natural fabric can be more expensive and hard to care for, as most silk items must be hand washed. On the other hand, silk is wrinkle resistant.
- Tweed/Woven: This fabric is long lasting and can add structure to an outfit. However, woven fabric is not as soft as others, is difficult to clean, and wrinkles.
Also, when looking into different types of fabric, consider the overall functionality and if it’s easy to wash and maintain.
4. Do Try New Things
In addition to integrating your unique style, be adventurous with your outfits and try new things. For instance, look into the latest trends when it comes to business casual and take note of what your peers are wearing in the office. If you see others wearing a stylish and appropriate outfit, there’s no harm in seeing if it works for you!
Furthermore, don’t be afraid to take a leap and try styles outside of your comfort zone. Try on items that make you say “Wow,” such as floral prints or colorblock tops. Patterns are a great way to make a statement.
With these four do’s and don’ts in mind, you’ll not only be more confident in what you’re wearing, but be more confident in your work. By gaining TrueConfidence, you’ll see an improvement in your life and in your entrepreneurial success.