Defining business casual

Have you ever been invited to an event and been told “it’s just business casual”? I have, and I’m always partly relieved (no dress suit) and partly perplexed (what is your definition of business casual?). And I’ve heard more than a few people having the same discussion.

This article from the University of Oregon’s Career Center blog tries to answer that question. It outlines acceptable business casual options for men and women and points out the no-nos (yes, flip-flops are on the list). Give it a quick read and maybe it’ll be helpful the next time you’re standing in your closet pondering the biz-casual dilemma.


2 responses to “Defining business casual

  1. The most important piece of advice I can give when it comes to wardrobe, regardless of the requirements, is “look and feel comfortable.” Nothing screams “Amateur Hour” like seeing a bunch of job candidates wearing suits like it was their first time since high school.

    With dress clothes for interviews, make sure they fit right. The worst I ever felt was in a suit I bought when I was 20 pounds heavier than when I wore it for an interview. Make sure that dress pants (and suit sleeves) are hemmed so that it doesn’t appear that there is extra (or less than acceptable) length.

    Honestly, when the student reaches the start of their final year of studies, their daily wardrobe should more reflect what they will wear on the job than off. Simply wearing a tucked-in shirt with khakis to class, perhaps a sports coat now and then, will make a big difference when having to “gear up” at interview time.

    Even in tie-mandatory environments (like mine), you don’t have to wear a suit everyday. The sweater vest and pullover are great for the daily grind.

    The first day at the office, it never hurts to play it safe. A good boss or coworker will always let you know to tone it down if it is too much. Making the effort at the start does nothing but build goodwill.

    As for women’s attire, don’t ask me. It’s not my place.

  2. tarheelsintransit

    Thanks for the comment, KW! I hope the guys out there find that advice helpful. And everyone could benefit from dressing up every once in a while, just to get the hang of it before interview time.

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