It's important to understand what business casual attire for women means so you dress appropriately in the workplace. Recent years have favored a trend towards laid-back office attire as opposed to business suits. However, business casual does not mean wearing jeans, t-shirts, tennis shoes or shorts. There are several rules you need to follow, and your employer should have specific attire guidelines if you have additional questions.
The overall rule of thumb for business casual attire is to err on the side of caution. Conservative colors and fabrics are always a safe choice. Black, brown and neutral colors are a sign of professionalism. Also, coordinate the color of your purse and shoes to match. A black or dark brown briefcase or satchel is also professional.
When choosing a blouse, keep in mind your company's policies. Some companies do not allow sleeveless blouses, while others do. However, plunging necklines and spaghetti straps are always a no-no. Make sure your clothing fits well and is not too loose or too tight. Skirts should fall below the knee and cover your thighs when you sit down. Maxi dresses and miniskirts are not appropriate.
Jeans are not part of business casual attire, and neither are extremely casual pants. In most companies, hose are not required unless you are wearing a dress with a knee-length hemline. Remember that hose pull your look together, so always wear hose with knee-length dresses.
Conservative shoes such as 2-3" pumps are a good choice. Some companies do not allow sandals or peep-toe shoes. Spikey, thin heels are better-suited for a night on the town, and they can be uncomfortable to wear. Accessories should not be excessive. Multiple earrings, necklaces and bracelets should be avoided.
Remember that business casual is the way to make a great impression on your colleagues and clients. When you dress the part, you will feel more confident about your work.