Are you ever confused about what business casual really mean? Like many women, you might wonder on a regular basis “is my outfit dressy enough, is it too dressy”? How do you know? This video and I will reveal the exact formula so you never have to wonder again.
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If you need to project a credible and professional image even when the dress code is business casual, but you are not sure how to do it, by the end of this video, you’ll have 2 concrete ways you can use that will ensure you look more polished and sophisticated even in a business casual setting so you always look like a credible and successful expert the minute you step in front of your ideal clients or when meeting influencers you want to affiliate with.
Business Casual has the word business in it which means you still want to look professional yet a little more relax at the same time. The winning formula or equation I have used for myself and for all my clients to accomplish this is to make sure you add some structure on top or on the bottom. This means you will wear a dressy professional looking top in the form of a blazer or a nice jacket paired with more casual pants or even jeans if it’s appropriate for your industry OR you will wear a nice top paired with a professional-looking skirt or pants which means no jeans or chino cotton material.
This being said, I always always always advise people to dress a notch or two nicer than everyone else if your goal is to climb up the latter or be seen as the most accomplished and credible professional in the room. It never fails. The way you present yourself has a powerful lasting impression and can literally mean you will attract the job, gig, affiliate you want or not.
So here are some examples for you to get a good idea of what a great business casual outfit can look like. These are all outfits where the structure or more formal piece is on the bottom. They are all nice professional pants or skirts paired with a nice top that has no real structure to it. Notice that they are all still nice professional looking tops. There are no t-shirt or casual cotton fabric here. We see a cotton voile button-down shirt like the one on picture number 5, which you can never go wrong with. It always makes an outfit look very polished even when worn in a business casual way.
Then we have some light wool sweaters in pictures 1, 2, and 3. They look a bit more casual than a button-down shirt, but still dressy enough when paired with a formal bottom. You can also wear a silk top like on the far right. I normally don’t like to see cardigans even in a business casual setting because they look very unpolished to me no matter what kind of work setting you are in. It’s better to keep them for casual wear, but I included an example here BECAUSE this woman accessorized it with a belt which makes it look like it’s an intended look in itself. It doesn’t look like she threw on a cardigan instead of a blazer so she wouldn’t get cold or to hide her arms. She went for a very specific look which makes it look like it’s her personal brand style. And she wears it on top of a really professional looking dress. Otherwise, I would say no to cardigans for 95% of the people.
Here are examples of women who wear their business casual outfit with the structure or formal wear on top. Note here that there are no light wash blue jeans. They are all darker wash or colored jeans worn with a nice top and or a structured professional looking jacket.
These are all example of outfits that are too casual looking. On picture number one, the woman is wearing a cute top with a cardigan which goes back to the point I was making before. Because her attire under the cardigan doesn’t look structured or formal enough, wearing a cardigan only makes it look even more casual and not dressy enough for a business casual setting. On picture number 2, although this is a very cute look in my opinion, there is no structure on top and so wearing jeans with no structure on top is too casual. All she needs to do is add a nice jacket or blazer and she is good to go.
On number 3, I think she looks great but the frayed hem on her jeans brings the outfit to a more casual look. It might be ok if you work in a more artistic industry, but I would keep your jeans clean and proper so to speak. No frayed hems or holes like on picture number 6. Other than that, their outfits look great. On pictures number 4 and 5, there is no structure anywhere and the bottoms are too casual looking to bring their outfit to a BUSINESS Casual standard.
I included a few pictures of an all formal attire just to conclude even though I’m sure you know what that looks like. Formal on top and on the bottom. The picture on the far right could be worn as a business casual outfit as well –it looks like a hybrid to me because she is wearing a nice formal suit but a casual looking t-shirt underneath.
I hope this shed a good light on what business casual really is and how to make sure your business casual projects a polished and credible image. Comment below and let me know what the most insightful thing was you learned in this video today.
If you are interested in deepening your knowledge on how to project a more professional and credible image, clarifying and developing your personal brand style is a great place to start. You can do that by taking this quick personal brand style free assessment I created. In it, you’ll learn what personal brand style you are, what inspires your brand, and specific stores you should start paying attention to. You can also check my video on how to look put together all the time to get more styling tricks on how to look polished and sophisticated.
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