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Business Casual: Not That Casual

03/26/2014

When I was still going to Sac State I was scrounging for interviews. Some of the businesses I was interviewing with told me to come dressed in “business casual,” which was a code I thought I understood. However, I wasn’t getting any calls after any of my interviews, and I didn’t know why. I still don’t because nobody ever got back to me, but I decided to go to the career center and ask what “business casual” really meant.

Being a business major who was ordered to dress “business casual” for many a presentation, I thought it meant I dressed in khaki pants with a nice top and shoes that weren’t sneakers or flip flops. What the lady at the career center said was that the way I was dressing was considered just “casual.” “Business Casual” was actually a lot more professional than most people realize, and when you get it right it will definitely impress your potential boss while still showing your unique personality.

The way I understand it, “business casual” is really “business professional” with color. You should still be wearing a suit, but perhaps not the jacket. If you are wearing the suit jacket, it can be a color other than black. Wear a nice shirt and, if you are male or just like dressing more masculine, a flashy tie wouldn’t be out of place or a belt buckle depicting your favorite sports team. For women, makeup no longer has to be muted, but a bright shade of red or pink or a purple lip gloss would not be amiss.

In my picture above, I’m wearing my hair up with light purple clips, a lovely purple Mary Kay lip gloss, a bead necklace with a bat and my amber drop earrings (to attract positive attention) in addition to my black and blue suit jacket, purple sweater top, and a cute black suit skirt with a pleated hem (which, unfortunately didn’t make it in the picture). Notice all of these articles of clothing represent an article that is normally worn as business professional, but is altered. For a really good explanation of business casual for both men and women complete with pictures, click here.

Once I knew what business casual really meant, I was impressing potential bosses left and right. I still didn’t always get the job I interviewed for, but that’s for a different reason. I also notice that when I dress well, I feel better and things tend to work out the way I want them to more often. Have you ever noticed a time when looking good helped you get what you wanted?

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