Business Professional vs. Business Casual

Business Professional vs. Business Casual

Sure, you have heard both of the terms before! However, do you know the difference between them? Do you know when it is appropriate to wear either one?  It was never just laid out for me until recently at the end of my collegiate experience. Knowing how to dress in any situation is extremely important, as what you wear is always part of another person’s first impression of you. 

Check out the way I differentiate between outfit types! 

Business Professional: What it Is

Business Professional outfits are the most professional and put together look for outfits. It usually involves a collared shirt paired with a suit. This type of outfit can include a skirt or slacks, and it always includes closed-toe shoes and a jacket. Usually, Business Professional outfits are in neutral colors, such as black or gray. I would also encourage  someone to wear a tie in a neutral in color. If jewelry or makeup is worn, it needs to be minimal in nature. Also, If you have longer hair, it needs to be pulled back from the face. Business professional outfits are just generally formal. 

Business Casual: What it is

Business casual outfits are a simple step down from business professional. Business casual outfits are a little more relaxed, yet still formal.  Pair a collared shirt with some type of dress pant, such as khakis. The outfit can include a jacket if the wearer chooses,  but I feel as if a tie is not necessary. A modest dress can be worn in this situation as well. I would still recommend closed toe shoes, and minimal makeup and jewelry. Business casual outfits are very versatile, as you have more options to pick from and it can be worn in different scenarios. 

So what do I wear?

Now that you understand the essential elements of a professional business outfit and a business casual outfit, you need to know when it is appropriate to wear each category. I usually recommend wearing a business professional outfit to interviews, conferences, or any other formal/work event. In none work-related circumstances, someone will often request that you wear an outfit of such a manor.  I would also recommend that you wear these outfits in any formal situation. For example, this could include a wedding or funeral.

Business casual outfits can also be worn in some of the situations listed above. However, business casual outfits should be worn in a less formal situation. For instance, some people wear business professional to big meetings and business casual on a regular workday. If you are unsure of what type of outfits to wear, then just ask someone. I promise you will not regret asking and being prepared! Want some more information? Check out this article for more!

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2 thoughts on “Business Professional vs. Business Casual”

  • Great job, Sister!
    The one photo I had issue with, and perhaps this is my age, but the photo of the business casual with the man in a polo shirt that wasn’t tucked in and his tattoo was showing. Is that considered business casual now? I wasn’t offended by it, but was surprised that it’s considered business dress. You learn something new every day!

    • Thanks for reading! I spoke to some of our professors on campus while writing this. They encouraged me to put this picture on my blog because outfits are different in different job types. For example, I would not recommend that outfit in a corporate setting, but I might in a more relaxed industry.

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