What is the professional dress for women

Business casual: dress code tips for women and men

Somewhat more casual, but still more serious and professional than casual wear: That is the dress code “business casual”. It's comfortable without looking too sloppy. The style of clothing can be found regularly in business life. Compared to classic business dress codes, it offers a little more freedom in choosing clothes, but it also has its pitfalls.

What exactly does business casual mean? What are women allowed to wear? What does business wear for men look like? And what is taboo here? All the answers to the most common questions about the typical business look ...

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➠ Content: This is what awaits you

What is business casual?

The “business casual” dress code is casual and comfortable, but still representative and significantly more formal than the casual “casual”. It is mainly found on invitations to informal occasions: to a relaxed reception, a business lunch, at internal meetings or on business trips. Total leisure look taboo, as it is still a business setting. So men still wear at least one shirt and jacket - just without a tie. Women, on the other hand, can easily combine trousers, dresses and skirts with different tops - far from the strict suit or trouser suit.

Business casual for women

Women have it a little easier than men when it comes to the business casual dress code. You have more freedom of choice between skirt, dress and pants. For women, the question of the correct length is more decisive. Concrete:


Blouses, polo shirts, knitted, cotton or cashmere sweaters as well as twin sets - women have a large selection in business casual. Strong colors and pastel tones, apart from gray or navy blue, can also be combined with a blazer. The latter is important, however, so that the combination doesn't end up being too colorful, too casual and “casual”.


The most uncertainty here is the business casual dress code. Some find jeans still appropriate (as long as the color is chosen dark and does not have a used look). Others recommend only chinos, skirts, or dresses. In any case, the skirt or dress must not be too short. It's perfect when they don't end above the knee. However, bare skin is prohibited in business casual. At least one (skin-colored) pantyhose must be worn in summer too.


Depending on the season, you are always right with pumps, peep-toes, slippers or elegant sandals. It is only important that these still look elegant and not like leisure and have a heel of no more than six centimeters. If you opt for more comfortable shoes such as ballerinas or loafers, pay attention to subtle colors such as black or beige.


The basic rule also applies to business casual: less is more. Better to have a few high-quality pieces of jewelry, for example made of silver, gold or pearl earrings. Everything should be coordinated with each other. So only gold or only silver accessories. The same applies to hairstyle and make-up: apply as discreetly as possible and not too much make-up.

Business casual for men

Sometimes you don't have to wear a suit! This is the good news for anyone who doesn't feel comfortable in it. Jeans and T-shirts are still taboo in business casual. Business casual just means that you don't necessarily have to change if you have a business dinner or reception after the office. In any case, you can take off your tie. Concrete:


The shirt remains the classic shirt for men - even for business casual. This should be long-sleeved if possible. A short-sleeved shirt or polo shirt may also be worn in summer. When it gets cooler, men can also wear a fine sweater or cardigan. Heavily patterned tops, however, are less suitable for the dress code. Men are better off choosing monochrome shirts or subtle stripes. The whole thing is combined with a chic jacket - coordinated with the color of the trousers.


Men also have more choice when it comes to trousers. Instead of suit trousers, chinos in blue, beige or gray and dark (but classy) jeans are also accepted for business casual. The pants do not even have to be the same color as the jacket, but should be coordinated with it. This applies to colors as well as fabrics and patterns. It shouldn't get too wild.


On their feet, men can wear loafers, oxford shoes or brogues, which are usually black or brown. Make sure that the choice of sock color matches your shoes and trousers. Rule of thumb: socks are always chosen a few shades darker than pants.


Usually men wear fewer accessories than women. Wrist watch; one or two rings, an elegant belt. Not more. The color of the leather belt must match the shoes. This also applies to the bracelet of the high-quality watch.

No-gos for men and women

Because business casual is still one of the formal and upscale dress codes, there are some taboos and no-gos that should be avoided as a matter of principle. For example, wrinkled, soiled or damaged clothing. Ideally, you should choose an outfit made of a wrinkle-free fabric or change a stained shirt or tights with a ladder before the occasion. You should also note:

Shoes and socks

Sure: the shoes should be cleaned, the socks and stockings free of holes. Expired soles or faded leather on the handbag also look careless. Men should also keep their calves covered and wear high socks or knee socks.

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Colors and length

Wild colors and patterns do not work in business casual. Too much leisure look. Showing too much skin is also taboo. Women should therefore not only pay attention to the correct skirt length, but also to a neckline that is not too deep. Men, on the other hand, are not allowed to wear shorts in summer either. That would be "casual" again.

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Conspicuous belt buckles with skulls are just as unsuitable for business casual as socks with cartoon characters or blouses with animal prints. Piercings and tattoos should also be hidden if possible. As in general in the office area, you should also avoid intrusive fragrances and aftershaves.

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More dress codes for the job

Here you will find an overview of the most important dress codes in business life.

Business Attire (Day Informal, Tenue de Ville)

The business clothing par excellence. Translated, Business Attire means “business clothing” or “work wardrobe”. For men, a suit is a must, in addition to black or gray, blue or brown are also allowed. A tie and simple shoes are also part of the outfit. A light, monochromatic shirt should be worn under the suit. Women wear a trouser suit or a costume - combined with a blouse. The heels should not be too high and the toes should not be visible.

Business formal

The dress code is mainly chosen for direct customer contact or in management positions. It is as formal as it is official: men generally wear a dark suit with a shirt, tie and smooth leather shoes. Women, on the other hand, choose a suit or a pantsuit with a blouse. In terms of color, these should also be kept rather dark. Skin-colored tights are just as compulsory as pumps with a heel no higher than six centimeters.

Smart Casual (Come as you are)

The dress code usually applies to invitations that begin immediately after work. For example receptions, lectures, exhibitions or business lunches. Conservative business attire is just as allowed as a somewhat more casual look. Means: Men are allowed to take off ties and jackets. If you come from home, you can even wear elegant casual clothing: shirt or polo shirt and trousers or jeans. Women, on the other hand, can combine skirts or trousers with T-shirts, fashionable tops or loose blouses. In summer, when it's hot, you can also wear an airy summer dress.


This dress code is often chosen for evening events, but should by no means be taken literally. “Informal” simply means that no tuxedo, tailcoat or, for women, no evening dress is expected. An elegant appearance in the right outfit is still expected. Men wear dark gray or black suits, half-length, elegant dresses or a trouser suit are recommended for women. Basically, “Informal” is similar to “Business Attire”.

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