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Business Casual: What TO Wear And What NOT To Wear

Let’s be honest for a minute, does anyone even know what business casual means? You might be asked to interview in or to come to your new workplace in business casual attire. But with many businesses having different definitions of what that means to their employees, how can you figure it out before your first day? 

What To Wear

Dress Slacks

  • This can even be skinny jeans that are colored. But it is always safe to wear a pair of black, navy, or khaki pants on your first day.


  • You can’t go wrong with a nice sweater or cardigan. This will make you look dressed up, but also be comfortable. Make sure that you pair these with either a skirt or slacks.


  • This can be as fancy as a traditional pencil skirt, or as casual as a maxi skirt. Try to wear a nice button down tucked into it, a cardigan, or a sweater with a skirt. If it’s summer, you might want to opt for a cute sleeveless shell or top.


  • I am not saying that you have to go full suit for your first day, but a blazer is a great addition to any business casual outfit. This is definitely on the dressier side, but try to pair it with a nice pair of skinny dress pants to make yourself look business chic.


  • Be careful that you aren’t dressing in your favorite sundress you’d wear to the beach, that’s too casual. Try to instead for a dress you would wear to church, a recital, or a nice night out. Make sure that the material of the dress is at least a cotton blend, and try to find better material if possible.


  • It can always be intimidating to figure out the right footwear, so just go with the always reliable flat. Some work places are especially weird about having open toe or backless shoes, so you want to make sure that the appropriate parts of your foot are covered. If you don’t have flats, you can always break out the heels, a nice heeled boot, or a pair of wedge sandals that have backs.

What Not To Wear


  • Even if it is a nice colored t-shirt from your favorite department store, leave it behind on your first day of work. It could be too casual for most business environments, even if you pair it with slacks or a skirt. You can make wearing a plain colored t-shirt appropriate if you pair it with a nice cardigan. 

Tank tops/ Spaghetti Straps

  • It might be hot in the summer, but you are going to most likely be working in an air-conditioned office. Make sure that you pair those summery tops with a cardigan or blazer.

Flip Flops

  • Leave your favorite battered sandals, flip flops, and tennis shoes behind. They are too casual.


  • There should be no Daisy Dukes in your new office.

See- Through Tops

  • It might be all the rage to buy a see-through shirt so that people can see your new bra, but never in the workplace. Save that for revisiting your sorority party days, or a night out on the town. Likewise, make sure that all your undergarments are invisible. You don’t want to wear a shirt where everyone can see your bra straps, if you’re unsure, go strapless just in case.

Revealing Clothing

  • There is a time and a place to “flaunt what you’ve got” and that place is NOT in front of your new boss and colleagues.

Additional Advice

Check Out Colleagues

  • It is very likely that you might overdress for your first day or week, but that’s a good thing when you are unsure of the dress code. Try to observe during that first week what other people in the office wear each day. Then, plan accordingly with your wardrobe choices.

Dress To Impress

  • Don’t be afraid to overdress that first couple of weeks. It is a good thing to show that you care about your position at the company in what you are wearing.

Be Confident

  • Go into your first day of work like the confident woman you are. You are going to crush this job! Don’t let an outfit malfunction cost you that.


For tips on what to wear to a job interview, click here.

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