What the Heck Does Business Casual Mean?

I have a very strange memory from my sophomore year of undergrad. I was past all the prerequisite courses for my major and finally getting into the tougher major courses (just imagine have two 3-hour labs where you solely write articles or edit videos, photos, or audio recordings--ugh!). One of the perks of finally being an official student in the journalism school was an invitation to attend an event called Speed Networking. This was basically speed dating, except you had three minutes to give your elevator pitch to alumni and local representatives of the media. It ended up being a pretty lucky place for me to go; I ended up getting an internship and several job interviews over the years through Speed Networking.

I attended my first Speed Networking that year as a sophomore, but there was one issue: dress code was business casual. When I say that my wardrobe consisted of leggings, t-shirts, and sweatshirts, I'm not exaggerating. I called my mom in a panic (as is still my habit to this day) and she gave me some ideas of where to go to buy an outfit and what to look for while shopping.

I'm not sure why this sticks out so much in my head that I can still feel that initial anxiety I had with figuring out what business casual was. I feel like many people go through this, especially when they're first getting into college and the professional world.

If you're stuck on what to wear to your next event, take a look down below for what to look for while shopping for your outfit.

White Tie

Via promdresses.me.uk
White tie is the fanciest of dress codes. Try to keep things classy with a full-length or floor-length gown, with very clean and put-together hair and makeup. Adding in jewelry, a clutch, and gloves can bring a white tie look to the next level.

Black Tie

Via Style Me Pretty

This is just a slight step down with its fanciness (not sure if that's a word, but it is now that it's in this blog post) from white tie. This is usually used for evening events, and you can do either an evening gown or a nice cocktail dress, although what I have seen is mainly evening gowns.

Black Tie Optional

Via Straight A Style Blog
Black tie optional means that formal attire isn't required. The best way to go with this is to figure out what you'll be most comfortable in; an evening gown, a cocktail dress, or fancy separates are all good ways to go. 


Via Misses Dressy
The fanciness (there's that word I'm uncertain about again!) of your cocktail attire mainly depends on whether it's a day function or a night event. You can wear a shorter, party-ready dress to enjoy your night out. 

Business Professional

Via Stylish Petite
This is your way to look polished and put-together with the classic suit, as well as tailored dressed and skirt and blouse combos. Add blazers in for when the weather starts getting colder.

Business Casual

Via Putting Me Together
Business casual, at least to me, has always been the most confusing. Who knows why, but I'm thinking it might be the range of outfits that are included in this dress code. Put together outfits with a skirt or dress pants on the bottom with a blouse or sweater on top. Professional dresses (i.e., a sheath dress silhouette) and twinsets are also great ways to dress up business casual a little bit. 




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