Everything To Know About Office Casual Attire
Updated February 16, 2023
Dress codes have been changing to become less restrictive. Many companies now implement office casual attire, which allows for more flexibility in what you wear. Understanding what a casual dress code means can help you determine what sorts of outfits are appropriate for this kind of environment. In this article, we explore office casual attire, provide examples for outfits to wear and offer tips for following wearing an office casual attire.
What is office casual attire?
Office casual, or business casual, attire is comfortable, informal clothing designated as appropriate to wear for particular companies. It is one of the four major dress code styles (business professional, business formal, business casual and casual). This style of wardrobe is typically popular for creative industries, such as tech and media companies.
Depending on the company, office causal attire may include your everyday clothes, such as jeans and a T-shirt, or they may closely reassemble business casual, such as dress pants and a nice shirt. Causal attire allows for more options than business professional dress codes and can create a more relaxed environment for employees.
What is the difference between casual attire and business casual attire?
While both casual attire and business casual attire dress codes offer less formal regulations than traditional dress codes, there are a few differences between the two. Business casual attire tends to keep some business formality in the styles. This includes business wardrobe items, such as collared shirts and khakis or a skirt and cardigan. Casual attire, however, permits jeans and less formal shirts. Business casual also tends to prefer neutral colors, whereas casual attire allows for brighter colors.
Examples of office casual attire
The following are some wardrobe options to consider for a casual attire environment:
Casual tops usually include blouses, polos, solid color T-shirts, button-down tops, cardigans, sweaters, tailored shirts, dresses and blazers. To remain professional, try to avoid wearing shirts with a busy design or a lot of wording. Usually plain, solid tops are acceptable.
Some pants to consider wearing for a casual attire dress code include khakis, slacks and knee-length skirts. Depending on your company, you may also be able to wear jeans. Typically these are black or dark-washed jeans, free of holes or fraying.
For a casual dress code, you can wear dress shoes, boots, sandals, flats and loafers. Some companies also allow sneakers. Most shoes are acceptable for casual attire, other than flip-flops.
These types of environments often allow casual accessories that are slightly bolder than traditional dress codes, such as a statement necklace. Other accessories to consider wearing include jewelry, watches and scarves. Ties are optional.
Why is dress code important?
Having a company-wide dress code is important for shaping the image of an organization. For instance, banks prefer a more traditional dress code since they interact with consumers and want to appear professional. Dress codes also help eliminate confusion about what to wear and can help set the tone for the work environment. It helps create a standard for what is appropriate to wear.
Tips for wearing office casual attire
Here are some tips for wearing office casual attire:
1. Follow modesty
While casual attire has more freedom on what you can wear, consider your peers when selecting your wardrobe. If something you consider wearing has the potential to make other employees feel uncomfortable, avoid wearing it. This includes revealing items like mini skirts, tube tops, cut-outs and spaghetti-straps tops.
2. Maintain cleanliness
When picking out an outfit for work, consider whether it's clean. Look to see if any stains are present on an item. This also includes making sure your clothes are pressed and free of wrinkles. Also, follow proper grooming etiquettes, such as combing your hair and cutting your nails.
3. Check with HR
If you are unsure about whether something is appropriate to wear at work, consider checking with your human resources department for your company's guidelines. You can send them an email or visit their office to go offer wardrobe expectations. The HR can be an excellent resource to let you know what other employees wear and what to avoid in your workplace.
4. Observe what others wear
To get an idea of what kinds of outfits are acceptable in your workplace, pay attention to what other employees wear. This is especially helpful when just starting out with a company. Once you understand what others find appropriate to wear, you can imitate their styles to build your professional wardrobe. Consider dressing like your boss or someone else you admire.
5. Make sure everything matches
In addition to choosing items to wear to work, check to make sure the combinations you pick match. One way to do this is to pay attention to what colors you select and see if they complement each other. Consider wearing a darker color on the bottom and a lighter color on top, such as dark slacks and a white button-up shirt. Another way to help make sure your outfit matches is to wear mostly neutral colors or items without patterns.
6. Check to see your clothing items fit right
Since it's important to avoid wearing tight-fitting shirts, check to see if your clothing items fit appropriately. Also, make sure they aren't too baggy or loose on you. Having clothes that fit right not only helps you look more professional but also helps you feel more comfortable in what you are wearing.
7. Dress more formal when starting out
When beginning with a casual attire company, dress more formally at first. This gives you a chance to see what others wear and helps avoid being underdressed. It can also help you create a great first impression with your new coworkers. Dressing in business attire can demonstrate that you are professional and organized.
8. Be aware of your piercings or tattoos
If you have any piercings or tattoos, find out what your company policy is. Some businesses prefer for you to remove or conceal these. For those with leg tattoos, consider wearing pants or dark-colored tights with a dress. Those with arm tattoos can consider wearing long-sleeve shirts to conceal theirs.
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