Decoding Business Professional vs. Business Casual

Up until this past summer, I never had to dress in business professional. Every single one of my past jobs was always business casual or extremely casual.  There wasn’t much of a difference to me up until recently when I had to start dressing business professional all the time, even business casual had to be done up more than I thought.

Professional:

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Think solid neutral jacket that matches solid neutral pants, knee-length skirts, or dresses.  If pants and skirt, then pair with a nice blouse.  Add an appropriate height heel, closed toe also in a neutral color.  I personally would take a bag in a neutral-ish color (or in red, green, or blue) to add a bit of personality in my outfit while still keeping it professional.  I would also keep the jewelry to a minimum with dainty pieces or simple studs.

Casual:

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Business casual is a little more open to interpretation.  Dresses, skirts, and pants can have more color or a simple pattern.  Jackets may be optional and don’t have to match.  Still keep a more neutral closed-toe heel and bag.  Depending on the outfit one could add a piece of statement jewelry or keep it dainty.  I typically wear a nice skirt with maybe a slightly more casual top or a blouse (my turtle necks may or may not have been making the occasional appearance.

As weird as it may sound, I love shopping for suits and work clothing pieces.  I think they can be a great way of showing off a bit of your personality while still keeping it professional!  A great place to look for some inexpensive pieces is H&M as well as the Ann Taylor or Loft stores.  I always raid their clearance and sale racks for any great discounted finds.

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