Business Casual Guide

Chelsea Evic

As we head further into our college careers, there are numerous opportunities where we must present ourselves in a professional manor. Whether you have an interview, a meeting or networking event, it’s important to know how to dress appropriately. Many of these occasions call for “business casual” attire. There seems to be some confusion around this term and it is essential to understand the subtleties between “business” and “business casual.”  Looking unprofessional can give a negative impression or even hinder your chances of securing a job. Matthew Randall, executive director of the CPE says “How an individual dresses for work can be a powerful extension of his personal brand. Clothes, accessories and even the footwear an employee chooses to wear help to reinforce or diminish his skills and qualities in the eyes of his employer, co-workers, and clients.”

So, how should you dress? There are many ways to create a business casual look and still be fashionable. You don’t have to wear a full-on suit, but typically mixing one piece of formal business attire with a casual item is appropriate. For example, wearing a pair of simple black jeans and adding a blazer with a dressier top would work. Dress pants and a blouse could also do the trick. For footwear, flats or booties are a suitable option for women because they give a professional appearance but are also comfortable. Men can choose between dress shoes, boots or leather sneakers depending on the outfit.

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However, perfecting your business casual look doesn’t have to break the bank! There are a number of brands that offer business attire on a budget. H&M, Forever 21 and Nordstrom Rack all have many affordable options. You can still look polished even in less expensive items.

While clothing is important, personal grooming is just as crucial. You may have the perfect outfit but if you look like you just rolled out of bed, you will seem unprepared and unprofessional. Ladies, make sure your hair is frizz-free and try straightening or curling it for a more uniform look. Your makeup should be properly blended and not too dark or over done. Guys, consider putting some product in your hair if you don’t normally do. Paying careful attention to your personal appearance and hygiene will make all the difference. Having a genuine smile and a firm handshake will be the icing on the cake. Looking sharp and appropriate will surely help boost your confidence and move you one step closer to securing your dream job! We believe in you, Rams!