How to Dress for a Casual Office

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Published December 6, 2011 | Updated August 17, 2015

More and more workplaces are relaxing their dress codes, and casual is no longer exclusively for the weekends. Casual doesn't mean that anything goes, however, which can make it hard to determine exactly what you can and can't wear to work. If your office allows employees to dress down, read the following tips about dressing casually at work.

Casual Dress for the Office:

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  • Don't Get Too Casual

    The fact that your office has a casual dress code doesn't mean you can show up to work wearing sweatpants and a faded tee. A good rule to follow is -- if you would wear it to the beach or to mow the lawn, don't wear it to work. You can easily keep your appearance nice, while still casual, by choosing clothing that fits well, is clean, and makes you look great.

  • Pay Attention to Dress Codes

    Many companies that have a casual office still have a dress code detailing what you can and cannot wear. For example, shorts may be fine in some offices but not allowed in others. Make sure you know your company's dress code before getting dressed in the morning. Most offices won't allow torn jeans, flip-flops, and shirts with offensive sayings.

  • Express Your Style

    A casual office is a great place to show off your style and wear the clothes you love, as long as they are appropriate for work. Fill your closet with basics, like dark-wash jeans, khakis, and solid-colored tops, and incorporate a few bold pieces here and there to show off your personal style. Fun women's styles for the office include dresses, scarves, and cute shoes, while men's clothing can be detailed with a hip graphic tee or some designer jeans.

  • Dress for Meetings

    There are occasions when you'll want to dress up at the office, even in a casual environment. If you have a big business meeting, consider wearing a button-down shirt and a sports jacket with your jeans or a nice skirt and cardigan instead of jeans and a tank top. If you work a lot with customers, you'll also want to make sure your appearance is a bit more professional while still being casual.

  • Meet Your Needs

    Think about what you do in your workday. Understanding your job's needs will help you in your wardrobe choices. If you want to be comfortable at your desk all day, jeans and a nice top may be best. If you're on your feet a lot or have meetings outside of the office, you'll want to wear comfortable shoes and something simple that won't be constricting or uncomfortable while you move. No matter what you do in a day, you'll want your wardrobe to work with you.