Casual, Business Casual or Business Professional?

Congratulations, you’ve accepted a new job, and you’re getting ready for your first day! Of course, you want to make the best first impression possible and fit in with the corporate culture. With each unique corporate culture comes a dress code that will fall under three categories: Casual, business casual or business professional. This may not seem like a big deal, but what you wear to work can impact your fit with your team and organization as a whole. Be observant of what others wear, but also follow these basic guidelines when choosing what to wear to work:

Business Professional
Men

  • Full suit
  • Button-down shirt, tie required
  • Dark socks
  • Polished shoes
  • Minimal cologne
  • No jewelry other than conservative watches and rings
  • Neutral colors

Women

  • Full suit
  • Silk or button-down shirt
  • Dark knee- or calf-length pencil skirt
  • Knee- or calf-length dress
  • Conservative neckline
  • Low-healed or flat close-toed shoes
  • Minimal perfume
  • Minimal jewelry
  • Clean makeup
  • Neutral colors

Business Casual
Men

  • Sweaters or polos
  • Button-down shirt, tie optional
  • Khaki, gabardine or cotton pants
  • Brown or black shoes

Women

  • Sweaters or cardigans
  • Khaki, corduroy, twill or cotton pants
  • Knee- or calf-length khaki, corduroy, twill or cotton skirt
  • Capri-length pants
  • Knit or polo shirts
  • Conservative neckline
  • Boots, heels or dress sandals

Casual
Men

  • Sweaters, knits or button-down shirts
  • Jeans with no holes
  • Brown or black shoes, no flip flops

Women

  • Sweaters or cardigans
  • Knit or polo shirts
  • Conservative neckline
  • Cotton skirts or jeans with no holes
  • Boots, heels or dress sandals, no flip flops

Always remember that each company has its own definition of casual, business casual and business professional, so when in doubt, go a little bit more professional or wear clothes similar to what you see coworkers wear. You can also look towards your leaders, because as the old adage says, you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

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