The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Lazy Fashionista: The ever-present struggle of Business Casual

Photo: Allison Albitz

Allow me to explain something: when I say I am a lazy fashionista, I don’t use “lazy” ironically. Pretty much anyone that knows me understands that I love wearing cute clothes as long as they involve somewhere around 70 to 80 percent spandex.

The resurrection of leggings was a godsend to say the least. Graphic tees are cute now? Count me in. Wearing a beanie instead of washing my hair is a solid option when getting ready in the morning.

So imagine my dismay when I started having responsibilities that required…business casual. It is heartbreaking waking up in the morning and ignoring my comfy leggings in favor of *gasp* slacks.

One of the biggest problems most people have with biz-cas is that they have no idea what it means. While there isn’t a hard-and-fast definition of what the phrase means, I like to think of it as between corporate and relaxed. By that, I mean that jeans and t-shirts aren’t acceptable, but brighter colors, short or quarter-length sleeves, and flat shoes are acceptable.

Through the weeks, I have discovered a few ways to get ready for big-kid events without driving yourself business-casual crazy.

Embrace the basics: invest (or don’t) in some solid staple pieces. Places like Ann Taylorm Loft, The Limited, and J. Crew are amazing for stylish business casual pieces if those fit into your budget. If, like me, those are a bit out of your price range, check out H&M, Target, and Forever 21 for some low-price options. Pick up a blazer, a nice skirt, a couple of nice blouses, and a pair of nice dress pants, and you’ll be good for weeks.

Pay attention to fit and length: the goal of business casual is to look classy and polished. The goal is not to show off your rockin’ body. Keep skirts to about knee length, nothing should be tight enough to be uncomfortable, and be mindful of cleavage.

Layering is your new BFF: this is especially true for the upcoming winter months. Layering a well-fitting blazer or cute sweater over a collared shirt not only adds some dimension and interest to a plain outfit, but also keeps you warm in chilly weather. And those cute skirts really can work all year round—throw on some thick sweater tights in the winter or a pair of sheer or lace-patterned tights in the fall and spring.

Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize: while a “business” dress code is more limiting to accessories, business casual lets you express yourself through the finishing touches. Throw a statement necklace over that plain sweater, or add some sparkly earrings to add a little bit of personal flare to a potentially boring outfit.

When in doubt, dress up: when going into an unfamiliar environment (interview, new job, important meeting, etc.) it generally better to err on the side of caution with clothing. Keep it neutral and professional for the first day or two until you can get a good feel of the environment you are getting into.

Trust me, you can get used to pretty much anything, including business casual attire. And the best part? You can change into sweatpants the moment you get home!

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