ENTITY gives tips on business casual for women

The job is in Information Technology (IT). The dress code is business casual for women and men in the office. You ask yourself, “Isn’t that when you dress up, but not a lot?”

The business casual dress code can be confusing and difficult to define because it depends on where you work and your particular profession.

For some, business casual means wearing slacks, a blouse, maybe a sweater or lightweight blazer and flats or heels. Most fashion sites tell business women the same. But what about the women in tech?

Day one on the Job

Picture this: You arrive to your tech firm and your coworkers and boss — all men — are wearing sneakers, polos and jeans. You quickly discover that HBO’s Silicon Valley does depict a certain reality — a male-dominated industry.

You’re the only woman in your department, so you don’t have anyone else to look to for clues. So you ask a coworker for tips on what to wear. Shirts with collars and jeans, he says.

Excuse me? Do you know how hard is to find collared shirts for women in stores right now? It’s not 2002 anymore, and some people actually appreciate fashion!

Besides, the only polo shirt you can find is at the local golf pro shop and they’re pretty terrible and neon. Funny, though, when you pass by the men’s section of a store, you find a cornucopia of collared shirts and polos.

Now, jeans, you understand. Jeans are preferred in the office because of all of the equipment you have to lug around, plus all of the crawling under desks to wire stuff. So you don’t want to wear anything too nice because it’ll just get dirty, or even worse — rip.

However, you still can’t help but wonder, “What is the fashion-forward female equivalent to a polo shirt, jeans and rough-looking sneakers?”

Thankfully, one reddit user has some pretty great advice for how to dress business casual and fashion-forward as a woman in IT.

The Low-down on Business Casual for Women

Apparently, the underlying theme behind the mysterious “business casual for women” dress code is that you’re supposed to “look polished.”

When building your work wardrobe, try to ensure that most of your pieces are really interchangeable. It will make getting dressed in the morning so much easier.

Outfit staples should include black and navy pants (stretchy slacks, black jeans), a pair of stretchy, non-ripped, mid to high rise jeans, various colored blouses in a variety of materials (stray away from sheer) and exactly one million cardigans in neutral colors as well as fun colors.

ENTITY gives tips on business casual for women

PHOTO VIA MADEWELL

Women’s polos are ridiculous and, for the most part, ugly as hell. Take risks on more casual tops and pair them with accessories to dress them up. Pair a plain tee with jeans (no holes or rips, please) and a lightweight cardigan.

ENTITY gives tips on business casual for women

PHOTO VIA JCREW

Stretchy pants make crawling into tight areas under desks so much more bearable than wearing formal slacks. But if you opt for jeans, please don’t try to bring back jeggings. That trend is finally dead and rightfully so.

Depending on how much you’ll be crawling on the ground throughout the day, you might be able to wear some simple dresses (because dress + cardigan is too easy and your outfit looks professional). But save it for days you know you won’t be doing any major hardware swapping out.

ENTITY gives tips on business casual for women

PHOTO VIA NORDSTROM

Throw on some stylish business casual shoes, like these Dr. Scholl’s flats that are designed for all-day comfort — and you’re great. You’ll want to grab a pair of ballet flats in all neutral colors — black, grey, tan, etc. If your office is a little more on the casual side, you should try some slip-on sneakers!

Bottom Line?

As long as you can work in your clothes and you look polished, you’re golden. But if you want to add in subtle prints or pops of color, go right ahead! As long as your clothes follow your office’s dress code, there’s no reason you should have to wear something you’re not comfortable with (aka neon polos).

Edited by Kayla Caldwell

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