Have you ever been told to show up to a new job wearing “business casual” clothes and wondered what, exactly, that means? Does it mean you wear a sport coat (business) with jeans (casual)? Does it mean you should wear a suit, but leave the tie behind? We agree that “business casual” leaves a lot to interpretation, and since we want to make sure our candidates start off their new careers on the right foot, we’re offering up the following tips so you can rock the business casual look with confidence.


  • If you can, scope out what people are wearing when you interview for the position. This will give you a good indication of what is considered acceptable or not.
  • Dress code is often a topic covered in the employee manual, so as soon as you receive it, read the manual to make sure you are in (and stay in) compliance.
  • When in doubt, leave it hanging in your closet. If your shirt might be a little low cut or your pants are slightly ratty at the cuff, save them for the weekend wardrobe.
  • Check your schedule to see if an event calls for stepping it up to a business look—for example, a client meeting is on the books or the president of the company is paying a visit.
  • Accessorize! A black shirt is a black shirt, but when you pair it with a tasteful necklace and matching earrings, you automatically bring your look up a notch.
  • Pay attention to the details. Ironing out wrinkles, polishing shoes, and removing pills from sweaters can make the unacceptable acceptable.


Here are the general rules surrounding what is considered “business casual”:



Unacceptable: t-shirts, tank tops, jeans, shorts, sneakers or flip-flops.

Acceptable: a button-down or polo shirt paired with khakis or trousers and loafers or boat shoes.

One-step up: khakis with a sport coat and button-down shirt.



Unacceptable: t-shirts, tank tops, jeans, leggings, shorts, denim capris, sundresses, sneakers, flip-flips

Acceptable: sweaters, sweater sets or a blouse with casual knee-length or longer skirts, dresses, pants, and dressy capris

One-step up: black pants with a button-down jacket.

If you have any question about your outfit, feel free to reach out to your Resource Specialist for advice—remember, we’re here to help you succeed!