Dressing for the Office: What is Business Casual?

English: An A-line skirt, with top.
English: An A-line skirt, with top. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In Canada, most offices employ a business casual dress code.  But what does that mean?  It means that employees can come to work in clothes they find comfortable but that they must still have a professional appearance.   A business casual dress code considers clothing and other things as well.

Here are a few tips for following a business casual dress code:

Don’t reveal too much.  This includes skin, so not too much chest, back, or stomach.  It also include underwear (shouldn’t be seen at work!) and tattoos.  If you have large tattoos make an effort to cover them up.
Avoid tank tops, midriff baring tops, and anything with bare shoulders.
Save your flip flops and thongs for the beach.  Open toed shoes are ok as long as they are dressy.
Bare legs may be acceptable in warm weather but make sure that your office allows it.
Skirts should be at or only slightly above the knee.  Make sure that a skirt or dress is not so tight that it rides up when you sit.
If there is wording on your clothing make sure that it is not offensive to anyone.  Brand names can even be offensive so be careful about the wording on your clothing.
Clothing should be clean and unwrinkled.

You should also take into account other things like jewelry, make up, and scent.  With jewelry keep it understated.  Nothing too big and garish is appropriate for office casual attire.  Make up should likewise be simple.  If you like to experiment with bright and bold colors do it in the evenings.  During the day stick to neutral tones and keep it light.  Remember that there are many people who have allergies to scents – and that can include both perfume and lotions.  Some lotions have a very heavy scent so avoid those.  When it doubt, go without.  You can smell pleasant simply by being clean and using and unscented deodorant.