Casual Chic – How to Look Professional at Work

In today’s society many companies are adopting a ‘business casual’ approach to their dress code. However not many people understand what ‘Business casual’ entails, is a look most often suited to industries that involve a lot of contact with clients, such as teaching, retail, real estate, sales, medicine and social work. However, ‘business casual’ does not mean a sloppy image, board shorts and t-shirt with suggestive logos or provocative clothing.

It is about conveying expertise and professionalism in a relaxed atmosphere, where you’re image suggests that you are trustworthy and knowledgeable but also approachable. If your position requires a ‘business casual’ look, there are key points you need to understand in order to still look professional in the workplace.

There is a fine line when it comes to business casual and if you dress too casually, you run the risk of sending the message that you do not take your job seriously, the flip side is that dressing too formally might make some clients feel uncomfortable. It is important to dress appropriately for the industry, climate, your job and, most importantly, for your clientele. Here you can discover a few simple ways you can put together a casual but professional look with ease.

The art of achieving casual chic for work

The shirt: For men, long sleeved shirts are always dressier than short-sleeved shirts, even in summer. Choose solid colors or conservative stripes. Polo shirts might be acceptable, depending on the occasion. For women, your tops shouldn’t be too tight or revealing but that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative. Look for blouses that are tailored and comfortable with a neckline that isn’t too low; express your personality through jewellery and accessories.

The pants: Consider classic tailored trousers in the best quality you can afford. Straight cut, bootleg or wide can still look smart for work. You can keep it sophisticated by sticking to core colours such as basic navy, gray, black or brown or beige.

The Knitwear: Investing a in a few tailored knitwear pieces, is a great way to add variety to your business casual wardrobe. In the slightly cooler months a great look is to wear a white shirt under a cardigan or sweater – very chic!

The accessory: You can bring out your personality thru you accessories – but when it comes to work – minimal jewllery is always better. Of course this depends on your line of work and industry you work in. A nice watch or wedding ring is acceptable, but you have to remember is most workplaces, body piercings and huge dangly earrings are not.

The socks or hosiery: Men should wear dark socks, long enough that no skin is visible when you sit down. While hosiery is not an essential part of the ‘business casual’ look for women, although in the corporate world, pantyhose is recommended for knee-length skirts and dresses, or more formal occasions.

The shoes: Choose leather or shoes in quality fabrics and buy the best that you can afford. Yes we would all love to wear Louboutin 24 hours a day- depending on your pain threshold, however walking around in sky high heels is not always a good look when at work. Ensure that they your shoes are comfortable and appropriate to the occasion or work environment. In general, avoid wearing sandals, athletic shoes or hiking boots in the business environment; however, sandals may be suitable for women on occasion, depending on the circumstances.

The face: A casual working wardrobe does not mean you have permission to look scruffy and un-kept. Men should keep any facial hair short and well groomed. For women, makeup should always be part of your ‘business casual’ look as it gives a more polished appearance. Keep it subtle, though. Ensure your makeup suits your skin tone to ensure you always look great.

By presenting yourself in a way that makes your clients and workmates feel comfortable and confident in you, your giving yourself the best chance of success in business. Dressing for success is still the rule!

Keep in mind these few simple pointers when deciding what to wear to work and you will be on your way to mastering a polished, professional image. If you would like assistance creating a personal style, an image consultant can be invaluable. For a free consultation to discuss your image needs or to become an image consultant please visit www.imageconsultantstraining.com or  feel free to contact us!

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