Business Casual: All you need to know

Are you tired of hearing the words "Business Casual" and have no clue of what they mean?

How about “Casual Fridays”? Is it the same?

Who draws the line between regular day suits and flip flops?

Today's post is about bringing some light to the Business Casual world. To show you that, if you know about it, you can create super cool outfits, that actually look professional :)

So, let's dig in! 
What does "Business Casual" actually mean? And what's a "no-no" when deciding what to wear in the morning? 
The key is to identify the main pieces that are considered "casual clothing" and the level of formality that you need for your job.


I am a confessed fan of "Business casual", it gives you a lot of flexibility to choose your outfits and I love the "relaxed-elegant" vibe that comes from it. We all need to understand what's acceptable and start using our creativity from there! :)

What theory says:

We can rank the ‘Business Casual’ or ‘Casual Friday’ dress code to the equivalent of 2 levels lower than the formal dress code the corporation has designated.

To give you an idea, the levels of formality are:

1- Formal Corporate - this is the highest level of formality and usually includes politicians, CEO's, lawyers, etc. In this level you were very formal suits (dar colored), plain white shirt and very discreet tie.
It's used to project a very powerful and high-end image.

2- Corporate - this is the second highest level of formality and is usually for every professional who needs to wear a suit, such as bankers and auditors. These are individuals who need to transmit trust and reliability and at the same time, need to project a high-level professional image. You need to trust somebody who's going to manage your money, right?

3- Professional - this level is for those who still need to transmit a professional image but with a much more open and warm attitude such as some salespeople, insurance brokers, realtors, etc. This would be the level indicated as “Casual Friday” for professionals who dress at a Level 1. You don't need to wear a tie at this level. You still wear a jacket, but no need of wearing a tie.

4- Casual Professional - this is the lowest level of formality in the corporate world and it'd be perfect for professionals in the creative field and those who can wear a relaxed look to work.
This would be the “Casual Friday” level for professionals who normally dress at a Level 2. You don't need to wear a tie or formal jacket at this level.

What I say:

Let me give you a practical list of what NOT to wear when invited to a "Business Casual" or "Smart Casual" event to make it much easier :

  • Bermuda for men, for women capri pants
  • Mini-extra short skirts
  • Torn Jeans
  • Facial Piercings
  • Visible Tattoos
  • Clown makeup: ‘Less is more’
  • Unending cleavages
  • Clothes that are too tight
  • Messy appearance: unshaven, wrinkled clothes, inappropriate smell…
  • Sportswear Overall: sweatsuits, snickers, tank tops, t-shirts... 
  • Beachwear: flip flops or informal sandals, beach dresses and t-shirts, shorts, ball caps...
  • Chunky Knit or strikingly patterned
  • I'm sure you get the idea...

Important note:

There are people who include jeans in a ‘Business Casual’ look. I didn't include them in the list because they are never going to be as professional as dressy pants BUT wearing a pair of nice-good quality- dark jeans can give us a polished image that can be perfect for a lot of companies and positions. A pair of jeans with a nice shirt and a nice jacket can help you get that effort-less, professional and approachable look we all love!

FYI Footwear:

Business casual doesn't include sandals or wearing a skirt without stockings.

But, just like jeans,depending on the company, the position and the style of sandals, these can perfectly work if they are chic and elegant, like you :)

Bottom line?
If you're not very confident about the whole Business Casual thing and its boundaries, no worries! Start by putting together outfits that you know for sure they're both appropriate and professional (deep down you know what that means) and from there, start experimenting after observing what people you like usually wear and also start following some Pinterest boards. At the end it's common sense, and I know you have it, so we're definitely ready to rock it out there!
I'm completely sure you are able to do it.

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share and post some comments, I would love hearing from you!



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