From Murphy Brown to Sex and the City: The Evolution of Business Casual

Casual Fridays started becoming a thing in the 90s and quickly caught on, evolving into a new dress code – business casual.

Being the “gray area” of workplace fashion, business casual has many interpretations. While it may mean distressed boyfriend jeans at a creative agency, at a Big 4 consulting firm it’s likely more aligned with swapping a blazer for a cardigan.

So, how do you decide which route to take?

If you want to be taken seriously, don’t dress down too much. Take note of what your superiors are wearing. Are they wearing jeans and t-shirts? Remember, savvy professionals dress for the job they want, not the one they have.

This is a fashion rule of thumb for any business meeting or workplace culture.

What do you need in your closet?

Look for separates that are flexible and can easily be dressed up or down – printed blouses, well-cut slacks and fitted jackets are versatile wardrobe necessities and perfect for keeping your business casual look professional.

“Savvy professionals dress for the job they want, not the one they have.”

Fitted jackets can be worn when more conservative, corporate looks are required – such as a lunch meeting with the boss or a client presentation – and left on a chair when you’re meeting colleagues at a coffee shop for a brainstorming session.

Business casual doesn’t have to be confusing if you keep it simple and put your career goals first.

Comment: What’s your go-to business casual look? Tell us!

BONUS PINK Link: What price would you put on your head? Tips for taking headshots that impress.

By Dhinora H.
Dhinora is a workplace style expert and the Head of Casual at New York & Company.

“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.” Rachel Zoe

Photo credit: Shutterstock/Ariwasabi

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