Dressing with Grace · outfits

How Does a Woman Dress Business Casual?

When you receive a notice that the event you are attending is “Business casual,” do you panic because you have to idea what to wear? Are you ever worried that you’ll walk into an event under-dressed or over-dressed? I’ve been there, too!

In continuing our series of, Dressing with Grace, I thought it might be helpful to address this subject. Let’s just take a look at one outfit and see how simple it is to take it from casual to Business casual to dressy.

Business Casual means traditional business wear with a more relaxed style that’s still professional and appropriate for an office environment. 

Pictured below is an example of a casual outfit. The flat, open-toed sandals and the denim jacket give it that comfy, casual vibe.

If we change the shoes and accessories, we can easily make this same dress, Business Casual.

The dress is sleeveless, but not open in the back or a deep neckline, both which would make it inappropriate. Closed-toed pumps and jewelry all bump it up to slightly more dressy, but still not an overly dressy outfit.

If a jacket was needed, you could add a sweater or something like this…

If a dressier look was needed, again, just changing out the accessories makes this dress totally acceptable.

Heels, a dressier purse and jewelry give the same dress a more dressy look.


Pants are acceptable, too, in Business Casual. They would need to be a tailored fit in a fabric that is neat, like cotton or khaki pants. Dark wash jeans that do not have holes or tears can also be acceptable. It’s the accessories that would keep it classy and appropriate.

Shoes to avoid in business casual attire:

  • Open-toed shoes
  • Flip flops
  • Tennis shoes

Admittedly, I have a lot of clothes. However, I spend very little on them by shopping at consignment shops and even Goodwill. But you can have a small wardrobe and buy dresses or pants that can be dressed up or down, as I’ve shown with the outfit on this post. It’s so doable!

Another important point is that as a woman, I try to keep whatever I’m wearing looking feminine. I dress for my husband, who appreciates it when I look “nice.” That doesn’t mean dressing up every day, but just adding a little jewelry, colorful shoes, and a purse can add that softening touch to keep my outfit appropriate and womanlike. Being dressed for our husband and also according to the requested code is easy, and so is adding those gentle touches that help us look our best!

If you’re married, remember that your husband is visual. Refresh your Business Casual, but also your daily wear!

Do you struggle with knowing what to wear in the Business Casual mode?

3 thoughts on “How Does a Woman Dress Business Casual?

  1. I just love this series. You have a way of taking the outfit to the next level. Thank you for all the ideas.


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