Many students find it difficult to differentiate between the terms “business casual” and “business professional.” It is important to feel comfortable with these terms, so that we are aware of employer expectations in terms of dress.
Business professional clothing is typically conservative and consists of a business suit-either a blazer paired with dress pants or a skirt that matches. You may see employees dress this way in accounting and finance industries. While some companies prefer their employees to look sharp in a business suit at all times, creative industries, such as marketing and advertising, are more laid back and allow employees more creative freedom in constructing their outfits. We created a mosaic of business causal and business professional outfits below; feel free to click on the outfits and read all about them! You may be surprised by the variety.
Rock the business casual look with checkered pants and a solid black top. Chunky jewelry is allowed, just don’t over do it! Tie the look together with a burgundy hand purse and you’re good to go.
Business professional outfits are crisp and clean– wear a blazer with a pencil skirt and you’re good to go.
It doesn’t have to be all black! A button up top paired with colored pants are another great business casual option for creative industries.
Most business professional outfits have minimal jewelry. Instead, get creative with various handbags!
All black, all day, everyday. Here’s another business casual look, with a chunky necklace to make it pop.
Not all suits are black! Gray is another neutral color you can experiment with for business professional looks. Just make sure the colors and fabric match!
If you love patterns, this look is for you. A checkered button up top with cheetah print flats, paired with solid color trousers are perfect for those looking for a business casual look.
If you don’t like skirts, you’re in luck! Business professional outfits also allow for pants instead of a skirt. Just make sure it covers the midway point of your shoes.
Beige is another neutral color to try if you’re tired of the grays and blacks.
This outfit screams creative, yet put together. Look and feel your best with this business causal outfit—who can forget the bow tie?
Bow ties are a fit for every work setting. You can even pull off a bow tie with your crisp business professional suit; you won’t regret it.
Bow ties not your thing? Not to worry—you can still look great without it! Look as if you walked straight off Wall Street with this cool, yet collected professional suit.
Who said suits can’t be colorful? Be bold and adventurous with a checkered patterned collared shirt paired with a chic golden tie.
Get cozy and comfortable in this business casual outfit—a white collared shirt with a navy blue pull over and khaki pants!
If you want to take it a step further, feel free to throw on a cardigan.
So what do you think? Can you tell the difference between business casual and business professional outfits? It is important to tailor your outfits depending on your company culture; be sure to observe what other employees are wearing so you can determine what is and isn’t appropriate in the workplace and make your outfit decisions accordingly.
This article was written by Timaj Yusuf, ’18, who is the OACS Social Media & Writing Intern at University of Richmond.