Business Casual Dress Code


Business casual is a popular dress code in professional and white collar workplaces in the United States. Traditional formal business attire of suits and neckties has long been exchanged for more popular business casual clothing.  

A business casual dress code allows a company's employees to work comfortably in the workplace while still allowing the company's employees to project a professional image for customers, potential employees, and community visitors.

This type of dress code is commonly called business casual dress. Of course, all casual clothing is not suitable for the office. Guidelines set forth by the company will help you determine what is appropriate to wear to work.

Clothes that works well for the beach, yard work, dance clubs, exercise sessions, and sports contests may not be appropriate for a professional appearance at work.

Even in a business casual setting, revealing clothes that shows too much cleavage, your back, your chest, your feet, your stomach or your underwear is not appropriate for a place of business.

Torn, dirty, or frayed clothing is unacceptable in this type of environment. Clothes should be pressed and never wrinkled. Any clothing that has words, terms, or pictures that may be offensive to other employees is considered unacceptable. Clothing with the company logo is encouraged. Sports team, university, and fashion brand names on clothing are generally acceptable.

  • Women: A reasonable length skirt (not a miniskirt) or slacks of a non-jeans material combined with a top (such as a dress shirt, polo, or sweater set) is considered acceptable. An informal dress with appropriate skirt length is also acceptable. 
  • Men: A combination of collared shirt (such as a dress shirt or polo shirt), slacks of a non-jeans material (such as khakis or blue, green, brown, or black slacks) with a belt, jeans and conservative shoes (such as loafers) with socks is generally acceptable. If a moral formal meeting or event is taking place on a particular day, a blazer or business jacket can be added.  
  • Unacceptable for either gender are clothes that are wrinkled or ripped; miniskirts; underwear as outerwear; inappropriately revealing attire such as bare midriffs; and flip-flops. Some companies also frown upon open toed shoes and shorts, but in many organizations open toed shoes are often acceptable for women. 

Often in a business casual workplace, Fridays are declared dress down days. Jeans and other more casual clothing are allowed, but clothing potentially offensive to others is most likely still not acceptable.

Some Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are known to wear jeans as part of the business casual look, while in other companies blue jeans are not considered suitable for managers or even business casual. However, jeans are commonly worn with a polo shirt or dress shirt in academic, research and office settings.