Business Formal vs. Semi-formal vs. Business Casual

When it comes to the question of how to dress for business, the general codes can still be organized in 3 groups. These are business formal, semi-formal and business casual. But do you know what this really means and how to use these styles to your advantage?

Most of the time, you only find tips for men on how to dress for business, but not for women. Of course, we focus on the feminine business side. 

Business Formal style

Business formal is probably the most known style. This is the typical “suit” style. 

This means wearing either a suit with a jacket and pants, or a skirt. This formal image is still (unfortunately) required in several sectors, such as banking. The keyword is “modesty”, which means not to show too much. The skirt or dress should cover the knees and you should wear a jacket with it. 

The colours are black, white and marine blue. More about the colours in business fashion here. The idea behind this is: It’s only by dressing formally that you can do a professional job. 

Semi-formal style 

A style which is already much easier to find and wear. This can still be a suit or a dress, but with more colours or even some prints. 

How do you like the idea of a suit with white sneakers? This is one of the current semi-formal trends, making the day much more comfortable. 

For men, this style means to go to work without a jacket, and for women maybe with pants other than the straight pants style. 

Business Casual style

You might be surprised but this is our favourite style. This is simply a style which means: wear what you want to. Just make sure and that everything is clean, matching and fashionable. 

There are no further rules. This can be a pair of jeans with a one-coloured shirt and a jacket as well as a colourful dress. 

For men it could be pants with a pullover, or with a polo-shirt. 

All colours are allowed, all styles- just keep it professional, which means pyjamas, jogging pants and short party dresses are not made for business. 

General rules on how to dress for business

We are sure you’ve understood that we are not necessarily the business formal types.  In our opinion, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable and confident in what you wear. If you prefer sneakers with jeans and a shirt, go for it. 

You should nevertheless pay attention and make sure that your clothes and shoes are clean. Imagine if you come to a meeting with a huge stain on your skirt- you will be uncomfortable and so will your co-workers. 

Wear what makes you happy! We even believe that you can wear short pants during summer or open shoes. We are actually positive that you can do great business no matter if you obey the rules or not. But, we have a question : why can women wear skirts but men can’t wear short pants? There is still a long way to go for equality in fashion ….