What’s the difference between business casual and business formal?

With so many pre-law events coming up this term, our executive team thought that it would be a great idea to come up with a guide for how to dress for different events. We’ll (hopefully) be able to help you figure out the two most confusing types of dress: business casual and business formal.

Business Casual

Business casual has the most variety in what you can wear. It turns out that within business casual there’s a range of dress from BC to executive casual and traditional business attire.

Ladies: skirts, heels, blouses, cardigans, dress pants, and knit sweaters are all appropriate. You can either dress these up or down as you please. There is a ton of variability within business casual wear, so play around with it and find an outfit that you like. Open toed shoes are usually alright in this circumstance, unless you’re going for a slightly more professional look.

The classic khakis and a polo shirt is the classic look for men, but the new trendy look is a suit and unbuttoned collared shirt without a tie. It turns out sandals are not appropriate attire for men.

Business Formal
Wear a suit. This is the most formal type of professional dress, with a matching jacket and pants/skirt. You’ll look professional and make a great impression. We recommend erring on the conservative side, with nothing too flashy and closed toe shoes. You can usually stick to business casual unless business formal is specifically asked for.

Ladies, make sure that the jacket and bottoms match. If you’re wearing a skirt, it shouldn’t be too short (close to the knee). Though a collared shirt is the traditional option, most blouses would be appropriate as long as it’s not too low cut, and a neutral colour. On the bright side, it’s 2016 so pantyhose is optional.

Gentlemen, make sure you are wearing a suit and tie. Tie clips and cuff links are a snazzy addition, but not completely necessary. Nevertheless, make sure that you aren’t wearing a blue suit à la Justin Bieber, and that the pants hit the top of the heel of your shoe. General Rules 

  • No light coloured/ripped jeans are appropriate in either of these settings.
  • No matter what you’re wearing, make sure to iron!
  • Make sure you’re well-groomed and clean.
  • Don’t overdo the fragrances; they are overwhelming and some are allergic!

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