What is Business Casual? A Guide for Men and Women

What is Business Casual? A Guide for Men and Women

What is business casual? The answer is different for different people, not just because of personal style and comfort, but because of the nature of modern work setups. Today, people work in a variety of ways, including in the office full time, traveling for work or working while traveling, working from home (and newly adjusting to the WFH lifestyle), remote work with appearances at office meetings or professional conferences, cross-continent video collaboration, etc. The rules are shifting and blurry, and it’s hard to know if you’re under- or over-doing it when it comes to how you present yourself.

While you may not be sure how to answer, “What is business casual?” you probably know what it doesn’t mean, i.e., you can skip the heels or tie if you want, and you probably shouldn’t show up in shorts. But what do you wear? And what about the rest of your appearance and your “this is how I show up to work” vibe in general?

Contrary to popular belief, “business casual” is not the same as “wear whatever you want.” Your appearance doesn’t reflect your actual level of competence and credibility, but it does reflect how others perceive those (and other) qualities. How you present yourself tells people a lot, and it helps others form a more thorough picture of who you are and your potential – make sure you’re influencing that in the correct way.

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