The dilemma must have occurred to you at least once in your lifetime, where you considered going to the office in jeans but wondered if it would be unprofessional.
Most offices have their dress codes outlined for their employees where they explain the basic rules and guidelines that must be followed in terms of attire. Before putting on your jeans, consider the dress code and see whether or not jeans are allowed at the office.
You need to be careful about your dress choice, if you want to make a good impression on your boss and peers. So, what is business casual, and do jeans form part of the attire?
Let’s find out.
What Is Business Casual?
Business casual dress codes consist of a set of guidelines that should be followed which are more relaxed than professional or formal attire, but strict than casual and smart casual.
There’s much debate on what business casual actually refers to, where it shares many similarities with semi formal dress code and smart casual attire, but also has some differences worth noting.
It forms a more upscale and polished version of the two, being second only to business or professional wear, in formality.
Blazers, khakis, polos, short sleeve, button down shirts, sweaters, knee length skirts and dresses for women and closed toe shoes other than sneakers or tennis shoes, form some of the basic features of business casual attire.
Shorts, short dresses are a no go area in business casual attire. Jeans and t-shirts are debatable in what is considered business casual, where you’ll need to take care of how you don the garments.
Are Jeans Considered Business Casual?
Jeans being a gray area for business casual for men might cause distress to some folks who have a strict workplace dress code and have a laid back personal style they don’t want to leave behind at the office.
However, modern trendy corporate attire tends to be more relaxed, where employees enjoy greater freedom in terms of style and dress code. Billionaires like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos have also played an important role in changing the mindset, and often wear jeans to their public addresses.
Can you wear jeans for business casual? Well, it largely depends on the company you are working for and its respective dress code.
Even if it does allow jeans at the office, there are some rules to consider when wearing jeans to the office which should not be taken too casually.
Are Jeans Business Casual Women
Not all jeans fit the business casual realm, for women. Care must be taken when opting for a jean to the office, where a dark wash pair is preferred over lighter denim.
The fitting of your jeans also play a crucial role in deciding the fate of your business casual outfit. This obviously depends on the style of jeans that you have opted for.
Straight jeans, black jeans, skinny jeans and office jeans are some of the safe options that you can consider when going for business casual attire.
The type of jean you are going for, also depends on the profession you are in, as well as how you choose to carry it and the top and accessories you are pairing it with. Certain professions allow greater freedom in your outfits, than others so you will need to take these matters into consideration.
Even boot leg jeans can be worn in professional settings, it’s only a matter of how you choose to carry them.
Business Casual Jeans Men
Business casual means that you can opt for jeans, but many men prefer to go with safer options in trousers, like chinos or slacks that give less room to err in professional settings. Pick the right size of jeans with solid colors.
Fade or distressed isn’t fashionable at the office, so it would fare you well, to avoid such fallacies. Apart from that you’ll need to stay away from baggy jeans, as they create a far too casual look. Any kind of acidic or white wash look is discouraged.
It also depends on the shirt, footwear and accessories you are opting for to create the look. Here’s an overview of what jeans are appropriate for business casual attire and those that aren’t.
Are Black Jeans Business Casual?
Black jeans can be used to create a business casual outfit, however it needs to be of proper fitting, free of any rips and other forms of distress.
Wear your black jeans with a button down shirt, a classy outerwear and dressy shoes to create a perfect business casual look.
Are Blue Jeans Business Casual?
They sure can be, if chosen and worn properly. Women have greater freedom in making their selection from the range of denim available, than men and can opt for more styles than work or office jeans.
Denim slacks are the best option to opt for men, where a moderate approach is taken in the fitting of the garment and a style close to dress pants is adopted.
This goes well with most types of shirts, where the shirts can easily be tucked in without looking out of place. A belt must be worn with such an outfit to make it more cohesive.
Are Ripped Jeans Business Casual?
Ripped jeans are out of the question when it comes to business casual attire.
They are way too casual and give an off vibe to your boss and peers alike, so its best to steer clear of the matter.
Are White Jeans Business Casual?
White jeans are an appropriate choice for both men and women, when it comes to business casual attire.
Wear your white jeans with a sports jacket, blazer or sweats alike and opt for muted colors to go with your white jeans to create a stylish and business friendly outfit.
Are Colored Jeans Business Casual?
Colored jeans are more suited to business casual attire for women, where it should be worn with a neutral, professional top with a blazer or cardigan, heels and a belt to accentuate the outfit.
For men, stick to dark wash denim, black or white to keep your business casual outfit sleek and tidy.
Are Khakis Business Casual?
Khakis are actually a safer option than jeans, and more suited to business casual attire.
Chinos and khakis are basically the same thing, and form a great outfit when paired with a clean button down shirt or polo and loafers or oxfords. Accessorize your outfit with a belt and a wrist watch to maintain the style prestige among your coworkers.
Women can opt for subtle jewelry, but make sure to keep it light, where it compliments your outfit rather than becoming the highlight itself.
Business Casual Examples
Now that we have a basic understanding of what business casual attire is, here are a few outfit ideas to give you a headstart in your business casual journey.
Jeans And A Blazer
A laid back, yet sophisticated outfit is suitable for both men and women. You can go with a t-shirt or a button down shirt.
If you’re going with a tee, keep it basic and simple, avoid prints and any kind of graphics, and keep it untucked to create a modern, business casual attire.
Dress Shirt And Trousers
This might sound like business professional attire, but you can make your own innovations to the outfit.
Ditch the tie, and leave a button or two open at the top, and opt for a carefree style with rolled up sleeves but keep the shoes and accessories professional.
Dresses And Skirts
This one is for the ladies, where these feminine staples add variety to your wardrobe and create chic business outfits for your workplace.
Pair your skirt with a nice blouse or a short sleeve sleeve shirt, where you can add a cardigan or blazer on top and pencil heels or closed toe shoes.
Don’t go any higher than knee length dresses or skirts, and choose simple accessories to go with your outfits.
Sweater And Dress Pants
Sweaters are suitable for business casual attire, where it’s best to opt for neutral tones and simple patterns when choosing one for your office.
Sweaters with dress pants create a more casual look than a blazer or a three piece suit, the outfit can be worn in a number of ways. Wear it individually or over a shirt and tie, or throw on a coat for winter days, where the latter is more suited to ladies.
Can A Woman Wear Jeans For Business Casual?
Yes! In fact, women have more choices than men, when it comes to jean styles. This also depends on their profession, as well as the dress code of their workplace, whether or not it allows business casual. The general rule of thumb is, however, that they need to be of solid colors and void of any distress.
Can You Wear Jean For Business Professional?
Jeans shouldn’t be worn in business professional settings, or any article of clothing that is worn as part of casual or even semi formal attire. These include tennis shoes, t-shirts, as well ill fitted garments, where care should be taken of how you are wearing the pieces. Any form of cleavage and distress should be avoided, too.
Are Skinny Jeans Professional?
Skinny jeans are more professional than baggy jeans, but they need to be of solid dark wash, and free from rips or other kinds of distress. It shouldn’t also be too tight to avoid creating an impression of wearing jeans that are not true to size.
Can I Wear Sneakers As Business Casual?
Casual shoes such as sneakers and tennis shoes should generally be avoided in professional settings. However, it also depends on your overall attire as well as the style of sneakers you are opting for. Dress up your sneakers with a business casual outfit, and try to go for unique styles like lace up, leather sneakers.
Jeans can form part of the business casual attire but it largely depends on the corporate you are working for, and how strict their dress code is.
Credit also goes to the wearer, how you are wearing your jeans for the workplace which will be a testimony to your professionalism.
Most companies allow casual Fridays for their employees, where they have the liberty to steer away from business professional attire, to more casual forms of dressing.
However, you’ll need to take care to not stray too far from the professional dress code. Keep it sophisticated, keep it simple and try to keep the dress code and overall atmosphere of your office in mind when opting for an outfit for a day at the office.