When most workplaces say “wear business casuals,” they actually mean “you can dress down a bit, but still look professional.” Unfortunately, figuring out what to wear when your boss says “business casuals” can still be confusing—there really isn’t a standardised definition. Worse, some workplaces consider business casuals or smart casuals to be more of a list of “do-nots” than “dos,” leaving most of us bewildered.
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What business casual actually means for women:
1. Say no to T-shirts and spaghetti tops.Ladies, we know nothing is more comfortable than a spaghetti top or a t-shirt; but the office needs you at your professional best. Wear a nice silk or cotton button-up blouse in solid colours or fine patterns. Throw on a casual jacket over a boring shirt for a more styled look. Tired of the regular button-down shirt? Button-front blouses, polos, and turtlenecks are fun and versatile options. You can also completely drop the ancient suit; instead, stock up on fine print dresses and jumpers.
2. Embrace the kurti and saree.Kurtis, punjabi suits, and sarees are smart and fashionable workwear for the uber-cool Indian woman. So pull out your favorite Lucknowi kurtis and punjabi suits; pair them with a nice pair of leggings or salwar, simple dangling earrings, and a beautiful dupatta. Choose pastel colors like periwinkle blue, rose, peach, and sunrise yellow. Go elegant with simple cotton or chiffon sarees in light shades paired with delicate jewellery.
3. What about skirts, jeans, and trousers?If you think denims are business casual, you’re sadly mistaken. While most businesses don’t mind a good pair of jeans, they actually are too casual for workwear. Instead, opt for cotton, khadi, or silk trousers. Experiment with different skirt patterns – think pencil, tube, box-pleat, tulip or yoke-waist in silk, cotton, crepe, linen, and twill; keep the sequins and glitter for a night-out with friends. For a more relaxed look, opt of Palazzo pants in crisp materials and solid colours like white, teal, or khaki. Pair them with your best white or blue blouse and some minimalistic jewellery for chic and flowy business casual attire.
4. Hide your toes.Everyone knows that silly footwear choices can make or break the best of looks. The same holds true when it comes to business casual wear for women, and a good collection of office-appropriate footwear can make a world of difference! Let’s get the obvious out of the picture – no high-heeled pumps, strappy sandals, or ballerina flats; definitely nothing too shiny, and no flip-flops. If you can wear them to the club or beach, you cannot wear them to work. The rule for formal and business casual attire is to always wear shoes that cover all your toes – goodbye favourite peep-toe wedges. Experiment with heels, but remember to stay comfortable. Kitten heels, wedges in no more than 3” heels, oxfords, loafers, and monks are classy and pair well with business casual workwear.
5. Accessorise and never forget make-up.Dressing for success requires a hint of glamour; accessories add those intricate details to your outfit presenting you as a sophisticated and career-driven woman. But tread carefully; avoid chunky and loud jewellery. Opt for fine, elegant, and minimalistic designs in gold and silver with pearls and diamonds instead. Always remember to match your earrings, necklaces, watches, and finger rings – pairing a golden necklace with a silver watch, if required, is chic and shows off your experimental side. Stock up on purses, belts, and hair clips in standard colours to pair with your outfits. Never step out without moisturising your face, neck and hands. Walking in to work with scaly and dry skin makes it look like you had a rushed morning or that you have a poor self-care routine. Take that extra time everyday to apply a light foundation, some lip tint in nude or blush colours, and highlight your eyes with a sweat and waterproof eyeliner Dufter .in
Worry not, ladies, it’s easier than you think. The best advice on what to wear in your workplace should obviously come from your HR, but these styling tips can help you avoid common blunders and ace the “business casual” look every day at work!