It’s likely that you’ve heard the following terms in relation to professional dress codes – business formal, business professional and business casual. But what does each term mean? Let’s find out:

Business formal means looking as put together as possible. It is often expected at job interviews, in some offices and for special events. Examples of appropriate clothing for men include a suit, tie, cufflinks and dress shoes. For women, suits should be worn – either with a skirt or as a pant suit ensemble. For both genders, neutral, dark colors such as black, blue and gray are expected.

Business professional refers to looks that are a step-down from formal wear, but still put-together and work appropriate. Perhaps the major difference is that you have more freedom to experiment with color, patterns and accessories. Suits and formal pants are still needed, as are ties and dress shoes. Women should again opt for a skirt and suit jacket combo.

Business casual is a more laid back approach to dressing, but that isn’t an excuse to be sloppy – it just means that suits and ties aren’t necessary. Both genders should still wear nice shoes, dress pants or a skirt, and a professional shirt or blouse. Stylish sweaters are encouraged, and don’t be afraid of accessories!

And one last tip, no matter the category, always keep you hair tidy and your clothing neat and clean. Until next time!