Business casual is all about being comfortable in what you wear, and also being yourself. But how did women translate the wave of strictly formals to business casuals?
There were many bold feminists behind this revolution to take place. In the 1850’s women wore tight corsets and heavy petticoats. This was the time when women were rarely found working in the outside world.
Amelia Bloomer was the one who challenged the norm. She spoke for women to ditch those burdensome clothes. In her name, “the bloomer” became a symbol of women’s rights activists. After came the WWI era (1920s), when women started entering the workforce and gaining the right to vote. As more hands got engaged in the workforce, they had to think about the clothes that aligned with the nature of their work. Although the skirts remained, the style turned towards masculine, loser, and sporty. This brought the period of androgynous style of clothing.
In the 1980 rule-breaker child of the world, Silicon Valley shook things up! The idea of business casuals for professionals started here.
Okay, so all this sounds merry but has anyone truly understood the idea of business casuals beyond the fact that you don’t need to wear three-piece suits, does that mean you can show up wearing pajamas? So let’s decipher the Business casual women’s dress code for 2024 women!
Business Casual for Women
The reason the word “casual” got attached to business in terms of apparel was to come out of the stiff nature of formal clothing. It was coined to strike a delicate balance between professional clothing and casual wear.
But this does not give one the autonomy to wear whatever a heart desires. Think comfy blouses, collared shirts, slacks, or a good knee-length skirt or dress. You’ve got some room to express your style, but it’s still gotta be work-appropriate. Keep it chill but profesh, and you’re good to go!
In this style, you have the flexibility to choose from a variety of options. Tops can include stylish blouses or collared shirts that are both comfortable and presentable. Bottoms range from slacks to dress pants, and you can even mix in knee-length skirts or dresses that strike the right balance between casual and formal.
What Casual is Over Casual?
Business casual for women is not synonymous with overly casual or weekend wear. It’s a step up from jeans and T-shirts, and it avoids the extremes of both formal business attire and completely casual outfits. Here’s when business casual becomes over-casual
- T-shirts with slogans, graphics, and tank tops
- No Blue Jeans
- Short skirts or dresses and those with a party or casual vibe
- Sneakers, athletic shoes, and flip-flops are usually too casual
- Large or flashy accessories
- Sporty jackets or Hoodies
- Overly revealing or low-cut tops and dresses
Here is your Business Casual Wardrobe
Soft Hued Tops
When played right, soft colors can keep your business casual wardrobe refreshed. Soft-hued tops strike a perfect blend of sophistication and charm. Whether it’s a trend or not, these pastel tops set you apart from the crowd.
Soft hues not only make an ideal choice for the spring/summer but also when compared with good winter wear make it an enduring style. This makes pastels a worthwhile investment as they remain fashionable year after year. You can see fashion icons creatively combining pastel shades to achieve that trendy look.
Embracing a minimalistic approach works well when working with these soft hues. Going overboard with pastel shades can lead to a bland and effortless appearance. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t mix and match. Whether it’s combining different pastels or pairing them with neutral tones, there are ample styling possibilities as long as you maintain a thoughtful balance.
Business Casual Skirts & Pants
When it comes to business casual skirts, consider knee-length or slightly above for a polished yet comfortable look. Pencil skirts and A-line silhouettes are popular choices that effortlessly blend style and professionalism. Pairing them with blouses, collared shirts, or even a well-coordinated sweater can create a put-together ensemble suitable for the workplace.
For business casual pants, opt for well-fitted slacks or dress pants in neutral tones. These provide a solid foundation for a professional appearance. Wide-leg trousers and ankle-length pants can also be incorporated for a more contemporary touch. Pairing them with a blouse, tucked-in shirt, or a tailored blazer completes a classic business casual look.
Overly casual bottoms like jeans may not align with the business casual aesthetic, while excessively formal attire might be too much for the setting. Mixing and matching tops and bottoms within the business casual spectrum allows for various looks, ensuring you maintain a tasteful and appropriate style in the workplace.
Coats, Sweaters and Jackets
Consider tailored options when it comes to coats. Trench coats and structured blazers are timeless choices that elevate your appearance. Neutral tones work well, offering versatility and easy pairing with various ensembles. Overcoats or knee-length options provide an added layer of sophistication.
Sweaters, a staple in colder seasons, can be integrated into business casual attire. Opt for well-fitted, high-quality sweaters in neutral tones or subtle patterns. V-neck or crew neck styles can be paired with skirts, pants, or layered over a collared shirt for a smart and cozy look. Cardigans, when chosen judiciously, also make for stylish and comfortable additions to your business casual wardrobe.
A tailored blazer is a must-have for a polished appearance. It pairs well with skirts, dresses, or trousers, instantly adding a professional touch. For a more relaxed vibe, consider incorporating stylish moto jackets or structured bombers, provided they align with your workplace’s dress code.
Maintaining a sense of moderation is crucial – avoid overly casual or overly formal outerwear to ensure it complements the business casual aesthetic. Mixing and matching these pieces allows for a variety of looks, providing flexibility in adapting to different workplace environments.
Classic closed-toe shoes are a staple in business casual attire. Opt for well-crafted flats, loafers, or low-heeled pumps in neutral tones. These choices provide a versatile foundation that pairs seamlessly with various outfits, from skirts and dresses to slacks and trousers.
Open-toe shoes can also be suitable, especially in warmer weather. However, it’s crucial to choose styles with a moderate heel and a refined design to maintain a polished appearance. Sandals with excessive embellishments or flip-flops are generally too casual for a business setting.
Avoid extremes – overly formal or athletic footwear may not align with the business casual aesthetic. Experimenting with different styles within the business casual spectrum allows for versatility, enabling you to adapt your footwear to various workplace environments.
What’s your go-to piece for mastering the perfect business casual look? Is it a classic blazer, a favorite pair of comfortable yet stylish flats, or perhaps a versatile dress? Share your fashion favorites and tips below to inspire our community!