Professional Semi-Casual to Casual

Casual wear on mannequins.

Beware of Social Assumptions

Semi-casual expectations allow for more personal styling. Remember to keep it professional! Due to a good fit and A-line style, the floral print dress works for a relaxed workplace. The all-over pattern brings zest to a professional style. Transparency seen in the white chiffon top brings attention to the upper body and should be avoided. The skirt style and fit would work if your paired it with a professional style black collared blouse. Directional contrasts within the striped dress and fitted waistline focus the eye on bust and waist areas. This visual competition with the face introduces sexuality and lowers credibility.
Casual wear on mannequins.

Degrees of Appropriateness

Notice that taking off your jacket and opening the collar lowers formality of the white shirt of a typical suits. Wearing khakis with a sweater over a collared shirt is an acceptable look for semi-casual menswear. Short sleeve collared shirts are also acceptable when tucking belted khakis. There is more range in acceptable shoes but avoid overly casual or sporty shoes that detract from the face and contradict acceptable workplace expectations. Keeping the fit moderate is also an expectation for this code.
Casual wear on mannequins.

Potentially Unacceptable

Check with supervisor before wearing jeans. If allowed to wear jeans, choose dark jeans that do not have the visual distraction of holes or shade differences. A short or long sleeved shirt tucked into jeans might work in this very relaxed workplace. However, wearing an “on vacation” short sleeve shirt that is also not tucked into belted jeans might get you sent home to change.
Casual wear on mannequins.

Potentially Inappropriate

When is your attire not acceptable? If everyone is allowed to wear jeans, the abstract print top with jeans could work although the busy print detracts attention from your face. Replace white sport shoes with dark shoes that blend with jeans and be sure jeans are not tight. A long sleeved shirt with jeans can also be appropriate. The center image with a thin, see-through shirt fabric exposes her black bra, stomach and jean waistline. This amount of body exposure is not allowed in the workplace. You will be sent home to change. The snug striped dress on the right might not get you sent home to change but would diminish workplace credibility. It is more suitable to a social environment where flaunting one’s body is more acceptable.
Formal wear on mannequins.

Beware of Featuring the Body

When is your attire not acceptable? All three styles diminish workplace credibility and are more suitable to social contexts. An overall tight fit in the simple shirt and pant outfit puts focus on the body. It is also so basic as to appear under-dressed for the workplace. The red cowl top and skirt style is also quite revealing. The thin knit fabric stretches across the whole torso and reveals contours of bust, abdomen and hips. Many people would also interpret the skirt length as evening-wear. Finally, the black and white dress paired with the loose white jacket makes us focus on the garments and question the outcome. Did you notice the white jacket does not match the white in the skirt? The transparency in the skirt adds sexuality and infers social context.
Casual wear on mannequins.

Men’s Relaxed Sweater Styling

Within a more relaxed workplace, it is important to keep a balance between too formal and too casual. While communicating a ‘laid-back and comfortable’ workplace culture, maintain credibility by keeping the look professional. Introducing a sweater vest for men and sweater for women adds a ‘mix and match’ type of personalized styling. He is also welcome to remove the tie and open the collar. Rather than the black necklace, she might wear a scarf to help bring the eye to the face. Quality fit helps avoids calling attention to the body yet color changes bring the eye to contrasting areas. Shoes that relate to pant color help reduce competition with the face.
Casual wear on mannequins.

Women’s Relaxed Sweater Styling

Wearing sweater combinations or a more casual dress style works for this more relaxed workplace that fosters collaboration and a more personalized appearance. Quality fit helps avoids calling attention to the body yet color changes brings the eye to the contrasting area. Keeping shoes close to skirt or pant color helps reduce competition with the face.