The Difference Between Business Casual and Casual Attire

Some employers will invite you to a reception, cocktail party and/or dinner as a part of their recruitment activities. Therefore, consider the event an extension of your interview even though it may take place in a more relaxed setting. Wear attire as requested on the invitation or that is appropriate to the setting and time of day. For example, if a firm is having a dinner that night at a nice restaurant, chances are it will be more formal. If they are having appetizers and margaritas at a more casual location, then chances are you will not be expected to wear business attire.

Often, employers state that an event is “business casual.” For men, this generally means khaki pants and a button-down or short-sleeved shirt with a collar. For women, this means nice pants with a blouse or modest dress (no spaghetti straps) or skirt (nothing too short). If the invitation states “casual attire,” this usually means that men can wear khakis or jeans, short-sleeved shirt with a collar, plain t-shirt, polo shirt, loafers, clean sneakers or sandals. For women, this means a modest sundress, long or short skirt, khakis or nice jeans, casual button-down blouse, plain t-shirt, polo shirt, flats or sandals.

For more etiquette tips, please visit The Emily Post Institute Etipedia.