To start off this blog, I will say that I am not a woman, but I have talked to many women about this topic as part of my research. The best way to start off is to quote a woman who simply stated “What ever you you do, don’t confuse club attire with business attire. That being said, if you would wear it to a club, you probably should not wear it in an office space business environment.” Though this is good advice, I am sure that many women who work in professional office space environments already realize that. The intent of this blog is to explore good ideas regarding what women should wear in a business casual office setting.
Just like my blog on business-casual-for-men-at-the-office, I will make it fun, but talk about the basics of how women should dress casually for their office without being too casual. On that note, I will make my own captain obvious statement and say that summer is coming, but that does not mean you can wear a sundress to the office. A sundress is by no means business casual work attire – unless you work at a call center selling vacation deals and you want to win a trip yourself!
So, what are the basics when it comes to what women should wear as business casual in an office space environment? To start off I will say yes, women, just like men, should not wear jeans – even though they have more options than men. But, just because women have more options than men for what they wear below the belt, does not mean they should wear just anything. Women too should consider casual, wrinkle-resistant slacks or skirts that are dark in colour with no patterns.
Just like their male counterparts, women do have the option of wearing tailored oxford shirts. But they also have the option of wearing finely tailored blouses that are can be worn with a suit or on their own. In addition to tailored shirts or blouses, female business casual can also include tailored knit sweaters and sweater sets. While cotton, silk and blends are appropriate, velvets and shimmery fabrics (that are more suitable for parties) are not the best choices for business casual around the office space. Women should consider the fit and it should not be too tight.
Shoes? I will not go into the stereotype of the vastness of a women’s shoe collection, because to be honest I actually own more pairs of shoes than my girlfriend – and only two pairs of those are golf shoes. But women who work in an office space Toronto environment that allows them to dress business casual have to consider having sensible and comfortable shoes that appear professional, without looking that they are about to go out clubbing. Low-healed or flat shoes are great for comfort and style if they are a neutral colour that works with various business clothing.
On an end note (something I should have included in my blog about men’s business casual), one thing to keep around your office is a nice blazer that will work with almost any business casual outfit you choose. That blazer will be your go-to item when you need to step up your wardrobe from business casual to business semi-formal. I learned that trick from a woman who has Toronto office space at Telsec. She rarely wears her blazer – but she has it available for the times she needs to make herself more formal for a visiting client.