How to Dress Business Casual for a Job Interview

How to Dress Business Casual for a Job Interview
More than 70 percent of people in the US say that casual clothes make them feel more accomplished. They say wearing uncomfortable clothes distracts them from doing their jobs.

There are many occasions where business casual attire is the expected standard. If you're wondering what is business casual attire, here are some tips.

What Is Business Casual Attire?

Business casual attire is a combination of several styles. When you take the more traditional business suit and dress it down, you have a more relaxed approach that still says you're ready to work.

The tendency is to define dressing business casual in terms of what not to wear. Here are some examples of what is not considered business casual in most workplaces:

  • No jeans, although some offices do allow them
  • No clothing with holes or ripped jeans
  • No shorts
  • No tank tops or crop tops
  • No short dresses or skirts for women 
  • Ties are generally optional
  • No bright colors or loud patterns
The definition of business casual is different from one business to another. There are unspoken rules in each organization, so it’s best to err on the side of conservative dressing until you learn them. At a job interview, always dress more formally as you want to present a professional first impression.

Business Casual for Women

For women, what you wear at work often influences whether you’re taken seriously. Never wear anything too revealing, and stick to plain colors. Avoid any clothing that is too tight or too dressy. 

Blouses and sweaters paired with solid color pants are a good choice. Select knee-length or maxi skirts and add a jacket or cardigan for a more professional touch. Closed-toed flats or boots are a good choice. 

Pumps with a professional heel are accepted. Avoid spiky high heels as a general rule, and never wear flip-flops or casual sandals. Accessories should be simple and understated, and your jewelry should be small and classic.

Business Casual for Men

Generally, business casual for men means no tie, and most companies still expect you to wear a long-sleeved button-down shirt. If you want to wear a short-sleeved shirt in warmer weather, it’s good to check with HR. Stick to dress slacks or khakis if your office accepts them but don’t wear jeans or baggy pants.

If you have a jacket or blazer on hand, you can put it on for that unexpected meeting with the boss. A plain sweater or sweater vest is usually acceptable if your shirt collar is visible. Leather dress shoes or loafers are commonly accepted footwear options. 

Casual Fridays Are Not So Casual

Some companies have casual Fridays, and it might seem acceptable to relax your dress code even further. Be careful not to deviate too far from the standard of your business. 

You can select clothing that shows a bit more of your personal style. Ensure that everything you wear is neat and presentable. Watch what your manager wears and follow suit.

Dress for Your Job Interview

Now that you have the answer to what is business casual attire, you're ready to make the best first impression when applying for a job. 

At Diversity In Jobs, we encourage employers to recruit and hire diverse individuals. Check out our diversity resources for the tools you need to find the right job for you.

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