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Putting your best foot forward: What is business casual?

Saturday, November 01, 2014

There are numerous occasions that might require you to wear the ambiguous “business casual.” You could be attending a casual interview, dressing for a class presentation or preparing for a day of sorority recruitment. Whatever the event, it’s important to look and feel your best. Here are some dos and don’ts to make the gray area of business casual clearer. Remember, business casual doesn’t have to mean business boring.

Do dress appropriately. Stay away from dresses or skirts that show too much skin or are too tight. The same advice applies to pants. If they are skin-tight or baggy to the point of sagging, rethink the outfit. This is especially important when going on an interview or in another situation where your clothing makes a first impression. Most important, you want to be comfortable in whatever you are wearing, so clothes that fit properly should be a no-brainer.

Don’t wear jeans. In general, whenever the word “business” is mentioned, avoid denim. If you are more comfortable in pants, go for a dressy pair or even nice khakis. If you like, look for a pair of colored dress pants or crops, but if you decide on colored pants, stick with a neutral blouse or sweater so that the outfit isn’t too loud.

Do use accessories to dress up your outfit. If your apparel is leaning toward the casual side, consider a nice piece of jewelry. A statement necklace is a great place to start and can add color or dimension to an otherwise quiet ensemble. Just be sure to not over-accessorize. One necklace or pair of earrings should be enough! Pick jewelry that you won’t fidget with during an interview or presentation. It should be a nice touch to your outfit, not a distraction.

Business casual is a tricky term, but it means that you have a lot of options! You can mix and match cardigans, skirts and dress pants. Find pieces that make you feel comfortable and dress them up or down to make the outfit your own.

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