Business Casual: Setting the Bar Higher

November 03, 2015

Ladies, the bar has been set higher. Are you rising to the occasion?

Casual dress for men IS defined. Casual business wear for women is NOT. Men don’t have to think about it in the mornings – women do.

The first word in business casual is business. A key point to remember!

Women bare way too much skin in the workplace. Want to be taken more seriously? Dress appropriately.

Women judge women much more harshly than they judge men. Men classically, can ‘get away with’ wardrobe mistakes – but women don’t seem to escape criticism.

Women have to set the bar a bit higher than men to be perceived as equals with their clothing choices. Men elude detection of ‘sloppy’ and women just look tired and ill-dressed. Have you ever said (or at least thought) ‘Why didn’t she iron that top?”.

It’s not a fair playing field in the world of business – and women need to know the ‘rules’ of dressing well in a casual / dress down culture, to be perceived as competent and smart.

Business casual is a couple of notches down from business formal. Ladies often find themselves wearing too basic of attire: pull on pants, wash and wear top, and earrings. 

Instead, think of these two options to pair with those pull on pants:

  • A twinset accessorized with a scarf on top
  • The jacket from a suit, soft blouse, and necklace

The outfit here works beautifully for a Casual Friday or “dress down” day.

What makes this particular pairing so suitable? The unexpected red of the bag is a great pop of color – and the charcoal knit of the wrap sweater is excellent for business casual.

The cotton shirt is a great basic! Would the sweater work better with a silkier shirt? Yes, most likely. Despite that piece, I love this look.

Pulling it all together is our jewelry. After all, gold transforms everything.

“Jewelry doesn’t have to BE expensive…you just want it to LOOK expensive.”

Your clothing choices are key to how you present yourself, and make up 65% of a first impression.

Expressing ourselves through our clothing choices lets us break away from the rigid 3 piece suits of yesteryear and show some personality at work. The problem is, we’ve moved from radically formal to super casual in our office environments. Sometimes a little ‘too’ casual.

Make your appearance work for you at the office. Savvy and sophisticated will translate from business professional to business casual well, no matter which day of the week.

Don’t let business casual define you. You define the look. In closed toe shoes, of course!

What does business casual mean to you? Please share in the comments.

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