Business Casual? What’s That?

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Samantha Carvallo, Design and Marketing Manager

There’s nothing more agonizing to a teenager or college student than seeing the words “business casual” on an invitation. What does it even mean? The term is made up of two totally different words put together to create a fashion category between formal and casual. 

Then, there’s always the worry about what your friends might be wearing. How do you know if you’re too dressed up or not dressed enough? Will you be too hot or too cold? What a headache. 

It’s important to note where and when the event is being held. You don’t want to walk around for hours in uncomfy shoes trying to make connections with your peers. You also don’t want to be too hot because you thought your sweater was a good idea in 75 degree weather. 

It’s important to also consider who is hosting the event. If an employer is hosting this event looking for potential employees, you don’t want to be that person that shows up wearing sneakers instead of dress shoes. There is a chance they may not mind the way your sneakers look with your outfit, but it’s better to make a good impression first. 

After considering these kinds of factors, it’s time to turn to your closet. The good news is, you may already have “business casual” attire in your closet. The slight bad news is you just have to assemble your look. 

Any identifying male should look for a button down shirt or a polo layered with a sweater or blazer. Try to find long, thick socks to wear with a pair of dress shoes and dress pants. If you have a tie, go ahead and throw it on along with any accessories that suit you best (necklace, chain, watch or rings). Don’t forget your belts!

Identifying females can wear a plain dress or blouses paired with a pair of dress pants and dress shoes. Wear heels at your discretion but if you have flats or sandals that work, bring those to the event in case your feet hurt. Obviously, add some jewelry to your look to give it some character. 

The most important thing to remember of all is to not overthink it. You’ll look great no matter what. If you have any questions, feel free to ask peers or employers on what they feel best fits their definition of “business casual.”