Of all the standard dress codes, ‘business casual’ or ‘smart casual’ are probably the most obscure because it holds no clear and simple definition. Part of the challenge is that ‘business casual’ is going to be a little bit different from place to place. What is acceptable in certain workplaces is not acceptable in others; that can be business culture-based, expectations from clients and customers. So, when it comes to figuring out what your office’s requirements are, it’s best to straightforwardly ask your boss, manager or human resources to be sure. Basically, anything you would wear to the beach, don’t wear to work.
Follow your workplace dress code without compromising your personal style. The trick is to be appropriate, while also being yourself. Incorporate things that are truly you. It makes a difference. Power dressing doesn’t have to involve a power suit. If you’re into florals and romantic details, balance that with pieces that have clean and modern lines.
When it comes to budget, be a little stingy when purchase apparel, so you can splurge on luxury handbags and shoes. When shopping pay attention to fabric. Will it wrinkle easily as soon as you sit at your desk? Functionality is important, too, like if a garment has pockets or if a tote is roomy enough to store all of your belongings for the day. To easily transform your look for a dinner meeting or happy hour, keep a pair of heels and a clutch at your desk. Plus, a wraparound cardigan will prove useful once the office A/C kicks in.
Some of the most popularly-searched business casual pieces are long-sleeve blouses and day dresses — from fit-and-flare and shirt-style to shifts and sheaths — are top choices. For shoes, it’s block heel because it’s comfortable and adds height. Flats are a solid option and many are adorned with office-appropriate details, too, like laces, subtle studs, cap toes and ankle-wrap straps.
Adapted from an article in Fashionista