Have you ever felt uncertain about what Business Casual means? Usually companies hold pretty clear policies for how they want employees to dress, and you can often find these policies in a supplied employee handbook. But if you’re starting a job soon and you’re not quite sure of the rules, here are some general tips for ensembles to avoid.
You’re going to want to steer clear of jeans in most Business Casual settings—and that means all jeans. Blue, black, brightly colored, floral patterned, and so on. Your company might have a Casual Day, but even then, you’ll most likely want to stick to clean, solid-wash jeans that don’t have any holes or rips.
2. Leggings as pants.
Leggings are generally too thin to be appropriate for a Business Casual dress code. Adding them as an accessory to a work-appropriate dress or skirt (one that falls to the knee or below) should be fine—but again, you’ll want to check with your company’s employee handbook to be sure.
3. Low-cut shirts.
This goes for both men and women. Ladies, you’ll want to avoid any shirts that scoop too low, or add a camisole underneath your lower-cut tops. Men, you’ll want to avoid having too many buttons unbuttoned, or wearing a deep V-neck shirt.
There are very few business settings in which shorts are appropriate. From jean cutoffs to walking shorts, you’re probably better off just wearing these in your free time.
5. Sweatpants or yoga pants.
Are they super comfy? Absolutely. Do they belong in a Business Casual work environment? Definitely not!
6. Distracting jewelry.
You’ll most likely want to leave the chunky necklaces, bulky rings and long, dangly earrings at home. Switch them out for subtler jewelry choices in the office. This is especially true if you work in a healthcare office, where dangling jewelry can be a hazard on the job.
7. Sports paraphernalia.
Unless your office has a specific day designated for team pride, it’s generally a good idea to avoid jerseys and ball caps. Show your support with a bumper sticker or a poster in your workspace instead (if allowed).
8. Any clothing that shows an undergarment.
Avoid thin, see-through clothes. Keep bra straps tucked away. Make sure your pants are secured with a belt. Just generally avoid flashing any under-layers while at the office.
These are tempting if you have a long walk or work in a hot state. But you’ll generally want to keep flip-flops and open-toed shoes away from your Business Casual office. If you need comfortable walking shoes, just make sure to switch them out for dress shoes once you get to the office door.
10. Sky-high heels.
No matter how beautiful they are, you’ll probably want to avoid heels that are four inches or above. In a medical office or facility, it’s usually important to be able to move around effectively, and high heels could be an unnecessary obstacle.
Hopefully these 10 fashion don’ts help you dress for success. Do you have other questions about office dress code? Or do you have any rules to add? Let us know in the comments. And if you want more dress code tips, watch our video on dressing for success or visit our Dress Code Pinterest board!