A Woman's Guide to Business-Casual Dress
Business-casual dress codes have been established to allow employees (and employers!) to work comfortably in your business while still projecting a professional image on the job, with customers or clients. Casual business attire for women requires some thought because women have so many clothing choices. When choosing feminine business-casual clothing, keep it simple.
Because all casual clothing is not suitable for the office, start with the following items:
A dark jacket and several high-quality cotton shirts and plain white blouses.
Dark skirts or pants (boot-cut or straight leg) and one or two dresses (sheath style). Select colors in a dark neutral shade such as black, brown, navy blue, or gray.
Three to four pairs of high-quality leather shoes (in brown, black, and navy).
Twin sets or other sweaters (cardigans) — which can be a great place to add color — provide more finish than just a shirt or blouse but are less formal than a jacket.
Dark colors are a good first choice for jackets, pants, and skirts because they wear well. Add blouses and shirts, scarves, belts, shoes, and jewelry in interesting colors and textures.
Dark colors convey authority; bright colors convey friendliness. Light colors, such as taupe and khaki, generally are more casual than black, gray, and navy.
A number of small things can kill a positive impression:
Excessive use of bright color and wild patterns
Any sheer fabrics that show your undergarments
Undergarment straps showing and visible panty lines
Wrinkled or stained clothing
Spiky, strappy sandals in metallic colors or with rhinestones, or open-toed shoes
Dirty or overly bleached or colored hair or obvious roots
Chipped nail polish