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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What is business casual, anyway?


Not too long ago I showed a casual look with printed pants, and today here's my business casual printed pants look.  And I use the term "business casual" very loosely because who really knows what that means?  I believe Stacy and Clinton when they say that "business casual" means a lot of different things to a lot of different companies.  Some say no jeans, some say yes jeans, some say no jeans but no one really listens, blah blah blah.  So I'm curious...what is your (or your company's) definition of business casual?  What would fly and what wouldn't?

BTW, I updated the Where to Buy My Closet Staples list in case you were looking for anything.  You can always find the link on the bottom of the sidebar.



Shop for the Look:
Sweater: Forever 21 (exact--still just $10!)
Pants: Joe Fresh (similar--"navy print", similar--navy ones are so cute!, similar)
Necklace: I actually can't remember...
Shoes: Target (similar--lower heel, similar)

58 comments:

  1. If you don't mind me asking, what size is your sweater? I think we're about the same size, and that mint sweater is just calling my name!

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  2. you look perfect! amazing pants!

    kw, ladies in navy j. crew giveaway!

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  3. I work for a non-proft and our office environment is extremely laid back and casual. We can literally wear jeans, tshirts, and flip flops every day if we wanted but my coworkers and I usually leave the flip flops at home. When we do wear denim, though, it's always with a cute top to dress it up a bit. I also work with 95% women so we're always complementing each other on cute outfits. I'd say this outfit would represent the majority of women in my office. And it's super cute! Love it.

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  4. HappinessatmidlifeTuesday, April 16, 2013

    Great pants! I work at a bank so our dress code is very casual. The only time I ever wear jeans is a Friday before a long weekend when there's hardly anyone at work.


    Alice
    www.happinessatmidlife.com

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  5. my office is 'business casual'. Jeans & sneakers (clean, not stained) are permitted on Fridays (no rips/holes/fraying/faded jeans). The rest of the week is dress pants or dresses/skirts to the knee, no t-shirts (permitted on friday if again clean, no logos, etc). No sheer, backless, strapless or spaghetti straps, nothing low-cut, etc.Shoes must be dress shoes, flip-flops etc are not permitted.I tend to to dress up a little more than needed because I am aspiring to a higher position than my current one.

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  6. We can really wear anything that isn't too skimpy. Jeans, flip flops, t-shirts, sundresses, even yoga pants! I work in a small company (about 200 people) and it always surprises me how casual we can be.

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  7. My work's definition is no jeans (not just the blue kind), no t-shirts (lettering or large pictures), and no flip flops. But generally, there's a large range of people wear anything from khakis and cotton tanks (with cardis) to suits and button-ups. Basically I just try to look professional and like I could walk into an important meeting at any moment and feel comfortable.
    joodlesdoodles.wordpress.com

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  8. You would think that because I work in a government office, it would be three-piece suits every day. But for the ladies, things are actually pretty relaxed. My coworker gets away with some pretty short skirts, and on lazy days I can throw on a nice, solid-color t-shirt and some khakis and be fine. Fridays is jeans, but not if they have tears. Guys have to wear button-downs and ties Mon-Thurs, though I think they can get away with an Oxford under a sweater as well. I could definitely wear this outfit to work!

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  9. I completely agree with you...no one knows what business casual means. I think in my office it means no jeans or sneakers. Other than that....I think any thing goes as long as you look put together.

    Tara
    Penniless Socialite
    Jewelry Giveaway!

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  10. This is a great outfit. You look wonderful in this deep blue color! I'm not sure if our office has a specifically laid out dress code. I work at a university in student affairs, so we tend to dress in what could best be described as "business casual." However, several of my coworkers wear jeans (not just on Fridays), and last Wednesday, two of my coworkers were wearing hooded sweatshirts sporting our school's logo. I try to dress up a little more, for a few reasons. 1) I am most comfortable in dresses, skirts, and my black skinny pants and feel the most beautiful in them. 2) I'm young, and I want to distinguish myself from the undergraduate students I work with. 3) I am more productive when I am dressed up a little bit.


    theoriginalbrynn.blogspot.com

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  11. I'm a civil engineer, so my office dress code basically boils down to "dress appropriately for your day." If I'm outside in the morning and I come into the office in the afternoon I'll leave on my steel toed boots and faded jeans and everyone just knows I've been doing field work. For client meetings or internal presentations I will wear a button-down or a nice blouse/sweater and slacks and nice shoes. On a day-to-day basis, jeans are totally acceptable; my personal rule is that mine have to be nice jeans, preferably dark wash and not faded, ripped, or stained. In the summer I wear shorts to work, but only if they are longer lengths, and my shoulders are always covered. My office is so casual that if I wear a jean skirt and a blouse in the summer, people will ask why I'm "dressed up"! This tends to steer me away from "statement pieces" like large necklaces, neon colors, or bold prints. Luckily I'd probably be too chicken to wear those most days anyway :-)

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  12. Hi! I got this in Medium. The Small almost fit but it wouldn't go around my big hips :) However, it stretches out quite a bit. You might be able to tell that it's somewhat loose on me but it started out pretty fitted. Good luck!

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  13. I work for a small publishing company. When we had an office about 15 minutes of our town, our dress code was basically anything goes unless we know there's a meeting with a client. But now that our office is in the center of town, and it's more likely that people will stop by unannounced, everyone generally tries to stick with business casual. For us, this still means jeans, but usually nice-looking jeans with a more business-y top. And I could get away with a printed or graphic T-shirt if I were wearing it with a skirt or business-y pants (I'm pretending that business-y is a word). But my boss's wife, who is a lawyer and law professor, informed us one day that she was the only one in the room wearing actual business casual because jeans didn't count. (She was not saying this is in a mean way, we were having a discussion at an office party about how to define business casual.) For myself, I tend to define it as looking put together and clean.


    Plus we live in Mississippi, so in the summer things like shorts just have to be acceptable; we'd all suffocate otherwise. But I always stick to longer shorts.

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  14. My office is business casual. Today, I'm wearing printed pants, a collared shirt and a blazer with stilettos. It's similar to your look, but with one more layer. I think printed pants are okay at my office, but I like to make sure the other pieces I'm wearing are more business like (and not doing crazy print mixing or colour mixing).

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  15. OMG! J'adore those pants! My sis bought them too and I made fun of her and then I tried them out and now I'm a convert. And it looks equally as gorj on you! Printed pants ftw!


    What is business casual at my high school? LOL! Funny you should mention it because today, I've defied all convention to obey my self-proscribed Challenge Week and my look is decidedly NOT casual. I feel like I'm going clubbing, but it is a testament to the awesomeness of my boss/admin that I'm allowed to express myself like this!


    www.myclosetcatalogue.com

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  16. I'm confused on business casual...I have been applying for jobs and some of the ads I've seen say "business casual" but idk if that means jeans or not. So confusing. Guess my Aeropostale sweatpants wouldnt work...I know that..but jeans? as long as they are not ripped for style, I guess would be ok?

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  17. I work in a business casual office as the absolute lowest ranking person in the office (I'm the delivery driver). Jeans are only allowed on Fridays, and no one wears logo shirts (unless it's the company's logo, or occaisionally, a client's), but other than that, it's pretty casual. We are also in a rural area, and most everyone around here considers nice clothes to be the ones without holes or strange farm stains.

    I tend to dress up more than most because I want to advance, I'm the youngest in the office by a good 15 years so I feel like I need to prove my responsibility, and also because I'm reminded frequently that I'm the face of the company for a lot of our clients, so I need to make a good impression. (I'm also most comfortable a little more dressed up) I always wear flats, though, because I'm driving/walking all day every day, but mostly, I figure, if I want to wear it, it's pretty much appropriate (except for the days I want to wear my pajamas, and then I wear these magnificent ponte trousers that feel like pajamas). Today I'm wearing a skirt, tights, a button-up shirt, and ballet flats. Yesterday I wore those ponte trousers,a tunic, and a cardigan, and ballet flats. My immediate superior is wearing khakis, a solid colored t-shirt, and clogs today.

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  18. I tend to think of business casual as looking put together and clean too. One reason I question what "business casual" is is because someone could be wearing black non-jean pants and a button up shirt for example but look sloppier than someone wearing well-fitting jeans, a nice blouse and a cardigan. I get confused as to whether one is more acceptable than another. Like I said, I personally think looking cleaner is better than following any rules like "no jeans" or something, but not everyone thinks like that, you know? But I guess ideally I'd shoot for both a clean look that doesn't involve jeans, eh? (I love me some jeans though!)

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  19. Stacie, I think many of us are in a similar boat about the confusion! I'm not sure if you're looking for advice (and I'm not sure my advice is worth taking either!) but in applying for jobs I would probably ere on the side of overdressed versus wondering if I could "get away" with something. I'd want to put my best foot forward in an interview, and I'd rather be slightly overdressed to make a better impression instead of feeling sheepish about being underdressed. Maybe grey, khaki, or black trousers and a nice blouse with a cardigan or trousers with a sweater would be a notch up from jeans without being far too overdressed?

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  20. Gosh those pants are cute!!! Oh no... what is happening to me?? Am I really going to have to have a cute pair of printed pants... I thought I jumped over the edge with my RED PANTS and cobalt skinnies... (did I really just say I own skinnies??!!!!!) YIKES!! hahahaha ;)

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  21. Loving those pants. FAbulous!!!! Beautiful outfit.


    Agi:)


    vodkainfusedlemonade.com

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  22. Classy as always! xx


    http://xochristinemarie.blogspot.com

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  23. Cute pants!

    A LOT of stuff "flies" where I work. On Casual Fridays, people can wear a t-shirt/sweatpants and jeans with tennis shoes or flip-flops. I personally only wear jeans on Friday and usually wear dresses, tops with skirts or ankle pants during the week.

    http://stylishsass.blogspot.com

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  24. look at you in your printed pants! go you! :)

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  25. I just wore a similar pair of pants the other day (for the first time!!).
    Love yours and how you have worn them.
    Chic as always.


    Pia
    pjmscloset.blogspot.ca

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  26. OMG! I love those pants!

    www.kacieskloset.blogspot.com
    www.daisyraeboutique.com

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  27. Business casual always confused me!!
    I bought the same navy sweater after I saw your other post. Totally comfortable!! And you're right - perfect for So Cal weather. I ended up just ordering it in mint and yellow.
    Thanks for all the cute ideas!!

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  28. I really like those pants. I was debating going to go try them out but I already have a blue/white printed pant so...that would be a dumb purchase. But they look a lot more expensive than they are so HIGH FIVE on that purchase! I never know exactly what "business" casual is any more either. Do black jeans count? I feel like if I had to define it I would say black skinny jeans, a nice shirt, and a blazer?

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  29. I'm a newbie to your blog and I'm absolutely LOVING it! Off topic, I don't know if you've done this before, but as I look in my closet, (I'm just starting to re-work it) I'm constantly stumped by how to wear the random pieces I have in there. Do you have a place on your blog or an old story about how to work specific pieces? For example, I have a cute, flowery button up, but am not sure what to do with it or the long sleeved dark purple T that layers great in the winter, but I'm not finding a way to wear it in this change of seasons. I would love to find inspiration for the very basics one might have in the closet that weren't purchased as specific outfits. Thank you, thank you!

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  30. This is such a gorgeous outfit! You were one of the first bloggers I followed and I'm loving your styles so much lately, I just need to comment more and let you know how amazing you are!! I'd say my office is plain old casual, so I can wear basically whatever I want, with the exception of sweats (although, would anyone say anything? probably not!). I am dying for some more *intense* patterned pants like this!

    I'm doing a Spring Florals link-up on Thursday and would LOVE to have you join!

    Bri @ Work Clothes, I Suppose

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  31. Audrey, I completely agree with what you said about someone looking sloppier in a button-down and trousers than in jeans and a blazer for example. My office is business casual and I see this all the time. It actually irritates me that we have a very strict no jeans policy yet I see people in dresses that to me look like something you would wear on a casual day at the beach. i think most of my outfits with jeans look more polished than the "business casual" many of my coworkers show up in. Business casual is such a vague term.

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  32. Black skinny jeans and a nice shirt is basically how I've been defining it too. I've been trying on black skinny trousers but they basically look just like my black skinny jeans, so why bother? But now I have great printed pants that are trousers and are *not* jeans, woohoo!

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  33. Welcome to the blog, Mindy! I don't think I have an old story about how to work specific pieces, but I did write about using Go Chic or Go Home (http://gochicorgohome.com/pub/welcome-putting-me-together-readers) to work a couple of pieces I hadn't worn in a while. I don't think I've written anything specific on trying to work in outlier pieces because instead I usually talk about how to shop for a cohesive wardrobe so that you don't have those problems as much.

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  34. Aw, thank you Bri! Thank you for taking the time to comment and say hello. I totally appreciate your encouragement!

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  35. I work in a creative agency so we don't have real dress code. But for me cut is more important than prints or color. I wouldn't wear mini-skirt or big cleavage, or shorts showing my thighs. Usually I wear plain dresses with some colorful accents like jewellery, scarf or tights.

    I'm thinking about buying printed pants but I'm afraid my legs and my bottom aren't that perfect to wear them. What do you think?

    Greetings from Poland, I love your blog and your style :-)

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  36. I work at a University, so each Department has it's own policies. When I started I asked my supervisor about the dress code and he suggested I pay attention to how the Doctors (I work in the school of medicine) dressed. They all wear suits every day. I realized what good advice that was - see what the highest ranking person wears and try not to dress too far off from that (even though they obviously have a lot more to spend on their wardrobe). If I want to be respected and promoted, I need to look the part. I wear nice slacks with a cardigan or blouse, sometimes a pencil skirt or a dress. However, in the same building I will see others (in a different department) in embroidered jeans with a tee-shirt. It's kind of odd how much it varies, but whenever I consider wearing something more casual, I think about meeting with my boss in that outfit and think about how uncomfortable I would be.

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  37. Hi Olga! I worried about the same thing for myself because I don't have particularly thin legs, but you never know until you try. Of course some cuts of pants will not look good on everyone. There are plenty of printed pants that did not look good on me, but I didn't see any harm in continuing to try them on and eventually I found two pairs that fit!

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  38. Business casual really is a fluid category! One of my 5 Levels of Working Mom Outfits is "Casual Friday" and I always have to add the caveat that what constitutes Casual Friday in one work setting, like a professional firm, might actually be your everyday wardrobe at another office (like mine). I'm at a creative agency, so just about anything goes, but I always try to stay on the professional end of what's acceptable. It never hurts to be the best-dressed person in the office. :)


    P.S. Love those pants!

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  39. Agree 100%. Once you get the job, you can pay attention to what your colleagues are wearing in the first weeks and then adjust your wardrobe as needed.

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  40. disqus_JOHsrGuTBdWednesday, April 17, 2013

    I can wear wathever i want at my job, even jogging pants if i feel too

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  41. Me too- I work at a University but some of my coworkers come in workout clothes and jeans but I am the one always in slacks, nice skirt or dress and a cardigan or blazer. I think it helps to dress for who and where I want to be. Not that I can't be creative with my outfits but it's true- what would I be comfortable being seen wearing by my Dean helps me make my decision in the morning.

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  42. Love those pants! They seem like they could be dressed up or down and so pretty :)

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  43. I love this casual office look! i just had to pin it :)

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  44. I think this would pass for a casual business casual in my office ;-) I just put that sweater in my shopping bag earlier today!


    -AJ
    FitTravelerAJ.com

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  45. I love this outfit. Blue is one of my favorite colors and the contrast of the necklace on the navy sweater = ♥
    I don't know why but I don't feel comfortable/brave enough with print pants so I do not own any, but those look really cute. Makes me want to try some on :p

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  46. This outfit would fly almost any day of the week in my office. We can only wear jeans on Fridays but the rest of the week we just have to look put together. Except when the bigwigs come in and we have to wear suits (or similar). By the way, I really like this outfit. It's definitely something I would wear!

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  47. For my job, business casual means no pantyhose :-/... I and I detest pantyhose!

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  48. So perfectly pretty > couldn't get any better for a day at work. Your outfits are so fluid & do-able.

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  49. I could get away with the outfit in your post, but none of my friends could. I work in a small accounting office, and basically anything goes as long as it's modest and not denim. Most of my friends in larger accounting offices and I, when I did work in a bigger office, would have to wear solid suit bottoms (skirt or slacks) and a modest, conservative top. (Prints were a major no-no.) You could pair it with a blazer or cardigan. Jeans were usually acceptable on Fridays, but same conservative rules as far as tops, and those jeans better be a trouser cut. Nothing tight like skinny jeans.

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  50. I love the pants in this post and could definitely wear this as a business casual outfit for work (in fact, I'd probably be even more dressy than most in my office.


    i'd love to see how you'd style these pants other than with a top in the same color. I considered buying a similar pair of printed pants (dark blue and black print), but struggled to find ways to wear them the than with dark blue, black, or white tops. I've shied away from printed pants for this reason. These pants would make a great "X Ways to Style X" sort of post.

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  51. I haven't been on your blog in a while. I have a lot of catching up to do :)

    Love the pants. Are they the Joe Fresh line from JCPenny?

    By the way, those pants from The Limited in the link above are awesome! I love their ankle pants.

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  52. Pair of designer eyewear needed here to complement this awesome outfit...

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  53. That necklace looks like Jcrew

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  54. AHh this outfit is so stinking cute! Love it.

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  55. Goodness gracious we have the same pants!!! I always knew we were kindred :)

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  56. Haha my exact thoughts when I saw your post today!

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  57. I love this site and am learning so much from you. I actually sell costume jewelry (at really reasonable prices). I can get those bubble necklaces exactly like the one you are wearing in just about any color. Priced at $16.00 which includes shipping. Here is the link my group on facebook :) https://www.facebook.com/groups/152006954968995/

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  58. Rachel MuellerFriday, July 19, 2013

    Just came across this and would have to say the printed pants sadly would not fly as business casual where I work. (too cute!) Our dress code sounds strict compared to others - no jeans (ever), nothing sleeveless unless you have a sweater or blazer with you (it's suggested you keep a blazer at work at all times), no sandals, etc... I wear sweater dresses and cords all winter, dresses (with cardigans) all summer to keep comfortable. I think the saying goes dress for the job you want, not the job you have!

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