This one is a little trickier because every company has its own idea of what this term means. So, what is business casual? Just as the name implies, is not quite business professional but not truly casual either. It lies in the grey area between the two. In the 90s as industries moved from business professional to business casual a lot of men found themselves caught out. It was both troubling and costly. A suit and tie, day in and day out, what could be easier? Now they were forced to choose something new every day, and many had to fill in an empty space in the closet that was full of business suits and weekend wear with nothing in between.
The key thing to remember is that business casual is not casual. The idea is to look like a professional but without having to wear a suit and tie. Chinos or dress pants and a button-down dress shirt is the standard business casual uniform. Jeans can be worn (our tip is not to do this on your first day!) but ensure they are smart jeans, no tears and keep to a solid colour with no extreme fading. A jacket or blazer can be added and steer clear of a tie. If you have a closet full of suits, don’t throw them out, you can always wear one with an open collared shirt and a pair of more casual shoes.
Casual vs professional, if you’re still unsure, call the company in advance. Most HR departments are happy to share information about the dress code. If the information is still too vague, dress more formally than you think, especially the first week or so. In the meantime, observe your coworkers, they can help you figure out the boundaries. No matter what, avoid jeans and t-shirts until you’re certain they are acceptable. Remember dressing a bit above code shows that you take your career seriously.
On the shoe front, the good news is that there is no shortage of styles that offer the business casual look that pairs with chinos and casual pants. Most Derby’s are versatile choices. A dress boot always fits well with casual business attire. Or try something even more casual, but without going overboard, like a loafer or boat shoe. Some of our favorite business casual shoes: