What is business casual?

what is business casual
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If you work in any company you do hear the word business casual. Well, besides the word it is a dress code for work that gives you the freedom to experiment with your office dress besides the only suit. But before starting further first I want to answer the most asked about business casual and that is what is business casual?

what is business casual?

Business casual is a dress code that shares the comfortable or functionality of casuals and outlook of formal. In short, business casual is a dress that doesn’t include any t-shirts, polo shirts, jeans, sneakers, flip-flops because of too much causality.

It also doesn’t include too formal cloth items or accessories like a tie, dress pants, suit. So you may be thinking what is business casual then? Well, for quick you can replace your formal suit dress code with a shirt, chinos, and chukka boots.

Though this is not only the option you have in business casual it is a basic way to style a business casual.


To understand or master the business casual outlook keep reading this article and next time you will not be confused about what to wear as business casual.

History of Business casual

But do you know how the term business casual was introduced? to that I have to take you back to the early days of 1960 when the man named Aloha, who wants to sell his printed aloha shirts and which leads to aloha Fridays.

This trend became popular in California and the neighborhood which leads to another term “casual Friday”, which was common in offices where people can wear business casual or casual dress code and can skip the suit tie rule.

But even then mostly the companies prefer a suit and tie strict code for their employees, which was not so comfortable and compatible with the work environment.

Well, after 1960 in 1990 the term business casual got hype among business fashion, and the first company to jump on this was levis, who actually knew that it is going to be a new business trend in the future.

This also makes levis create an advertisement that promotes a business casual dress code for employees that is more comfortable and experimental at the same time.

As fashion evolved throughout the years, the business casual came more into the game after a decade, and now you can see a lot of companies follow the business casual rule as a dress code for employees.

But this also raises the question “does business casual define the same business fashion as it was in the early days? Let’s find out.

The simple answer to this question is yes, now offices are more casual than ever.

Though the same casual Friday rule has been followed by many companies to date where you can go with a more casual dress code something like jeans and a shirt.

As I said above today we will know about business casual in deep and how you can match your dress with your work.

This is a simple guide because there is nothing special you have to do to look good in business casual, you should just know what items you can add to your business casual wardrobe and how you can match them and wear them on an appropriate day. Let’s cover it up

How to dress for meetings?

Meetings and presentations are too formal places to be in, where you can’t go wrong with your professionalism.

But does this mean you can’t wear business casual? Definitely not, you can wear business casual even at a professional place like presentations or meetings if you learn how to style and match the outfit.

So, let’s take an example: if you have an important meeting on Monday, how can you carry a business casual dress without losing your professional status?

  • Take one pair of chinos to match with a button-up dress shirt.
  • You can skip tie or add if you want to. With footwear, you can go with derbies, bluchers, or dress shoes.
  • Avoid any funky sneakers or flip-flops. The rule you should always remember while getting ready for a professional meeting is to never leave the shirt outside and always add a belt to get a more professional look.
  • While matching an outfit look for earthly colors(navy blue, brown. etc) instead of bright colors(orange, red, yellow).
  • To add more professional touch to the outfit change chinos with woolen grey pant, and add an extra layer of sports coat at the top.
  • A sports coat is a casual blazer that is mostly used by professionals at the workplace nowadays.
  • For footwear go either go with oxfords Or dress shoes, a good pair of chukka boots Or work boots is always a great extra option.
  • So, next time you go to any business meeting you know what to wear that maintains your professionalism at the workplace, and now you have more options other than suits.

But what about other normal days at the workplace, what you should wear as a business casual dress to your office when there is no meeting or presentation?

Well, in this case, you have a lot of options that you can experiment on yourself. Let’s discuss how to get ready for a normal day in business casual for work.

How to style business casual for a normal day at work

On a normal workday wearing business casual is so much easy because you don’t have to pay too much attention to the details. So, if you are wearing business casual on a normal workday, you need –

  • one pair of chinos paired with a button-up or button-down shirt, for shoes you have loafers as a great option in summers.
  • You can avoid wearing a tie on a normal day.
  • In winter, you can add a sports jacket or sweater as an extra layer over a shirt and replace loafers with bluchers or derby.

Don’t worry if you are confused about what to buy as business casual below I will show you basic items you need to dress as business casuals in winters and summer.

Before continuing further to essentials first let’s talk about casual Friday. Do they really exist now? Well, the answer is yes, wherein old days casual Fridays are today’s normal workday, now casual Fridays have become more casual.

Now, most of the company gives their workers the option to dress as a casual on Friday.

But what’s different about this, well if your company follows the casual Friday then you have too many options. For example- take a pair of blue jeans (ask your superior if Jean is allowed), you can replace your shirt with a polo shirt and for footwear add a nice pair of simple sneakers or go with loafers.

Business casual wardrobe guide

Before diving into the essential guide. The first rule for a business casual wardrobe is to keep the upper layer as an earthly tone and match it with a cool and pastel inner layer. Avoid bold colors like – orange, yellow, red as an inner and outer layer.

Upper layer

Jackets, blazer, or sports coat

The upper layer adds more structure and class to the outfit, but here it adds professionalism. Though you have a lot of options to choose from, I still suggest you invest either in a sports coat or blazer, or you can buy one sports coat and one blazer. I will always go with a sports coat as a business casual for the workplace because it is trendy and looks great in the work environment.

After deciding what to buy, next you have to decide the color of a jacket. I will go with a dark navy blue color as my first option because it goes well with most of the outfits. While buying avoid too many patterns or bright colors like red, yellow, orange that are too funky for any work environment.


For winters you can add a sweater as an upper layer or 2nd layer on which you can add up the 3rd layer of jacket or blazer.

Inner layer

Button-up shirt

The must-have item for your office wardrobe is a button-up shirt. Button-up shirts are essential for any formal place or moments like a meeting or any presentation. Keep the fewer options in this because one button-up shirt is enough to pair with different outfits. The white and earthly blue color in your wardrobe is all you need as button-up shirt options.

Button-down shirt

For normal working days, you can go with a button-down shirt that you may already have in your wardrobe. The only thing to look for is to avoid prints and patterns on shirts, go with plain instead.

Polo (extra option)

Adding a polo shirt in your office wardrobe is a great option for casual Fridays. You don’t have to spend extra money to buy a polo shirt for your office if you have one. Avoid this option if you don’t want it anyway. In case you like the idea then match it with chinos and a minimalistic pair of sneakers or loafers.



Chinos are the best choice for a business casual wardrobe. From the early days when business casual came into trend, the main item that is focused on is chinos or cotton pants. You can see the ads of big brands promoting business casual by making chinos as their main highlight. Chinos work very fine with a button-up shirts and button-down shirts. Besides that, you can also wear them with chinos. Choose earthly colors for chinos like grey, brown, etc.

Woolen pants

Chinos are great but when you have to dress for a meeting you need formal pants or woolen pants in your wardrobe to match them up with a button-up shirt. Grey woolen pant is always a great and best option to have in your office wardrobe.


Derby, bluchers, loafers, Chelsea boots, and chukka boots

Lot of options to choose from. Well, you can experiment with a lot of options. You can wear any pair of shoes or boots suggested above, but if you want to cut down your cost then your first priority should always be derby and loafers. While choosing bluchers or derby always look for the ones with less Brouging or not at all.

Hi, gurbi is a fashion blogger, designer, and fashion consultant. He is 25 yrs old man who love the world of fashion.