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Breaking Down the Difference Between Business Casual and Business Professional

You just graduated college and you're about to enter the working world. You have twenty copies of your most up-to-date resume in one hand, and an extra-large coffee in the other. You've researched the companies you want to apply to, and have practiced answering a multitude of potential interview questions. 

Now there's only one thing left to do, figure out what you're going to wear! While your college clothes may be acceptable for casual outings on the weekend, chances are you'll want to upgrade your wardrobe and find some new outfits at Easton that are fitting for a young professional. Lucky for you, we've compiled a list of 12 staples every 20-something should have in their professional wardrobe

Keep reading to brush up on the differences between business casual and business professional, so you can figure out which looks will leave a lasting impression on employers. 

Before We Dive In...

Let the corporate culture of the company you're interviewing at be your guide. And remember, it's better to overdress than to underdress. That's why it's best to go the business professional route when interviewing for any potential role. 

However, once you've accepted a job offer and have had the opportunity to learn more about the company's culture, you may find that business casual (or in some cases, just plain casual) is perfectly appropriate. 

So, what's the difference between business casual and business professional? Let us break it down for you.

Business Casual vs. Business Professional

Though the lines between business casual and business professional may be a bit blurred, there are some guidelines you should follow for each. 

Business Professional requires you to dress things up a little more. Generally, solid pantsuits, button-up shirts and neutral colors are good guidelines for any business professional outfit. Women can also wear longer dresses paired with a blazer and tights or pantyhose. Low heels or flats, styled hair and simple jewelry add the perfect finishing touch. 

Business Casual usually involves some khaki or cotton pants, a nice blouse or button-down shirt and a cardigan. With this style, you have more freedom to play around with colors, prints and fabrics. Pair your outfit with flats or conservative heels with moderate accessories and you're all set! In some cases, even jeans may be acceptable in the office. As a rule of thumb, dress nicely on your first day with some dress slacks and a nice blouse, and then gauge your work wardrobe from there. 

Business Fashion Do's and Don'ts

In any case, it is always recommended that you keep yourself well groomed and open minded. Be willing to change things up, try new styles and keep up with the latest trends, even if you don't always incorporate them into your wardrobe. Keep your nails clipped, your makeup simple, your hair tamed and your clothes ironed to look your best. 

Along with the do's, there are a few don'ts you should keep in mind. Regardless of where you're interviewing or working, never wear ripped jeans, sneakers or t-shirts. Spaghetti straps, skirts, low-cut tops and dresses that are above finger length are also clothing choices to stay away from in professional settings. 

Give Personal Styling a Try

Need help building your professional wardrobe? Why not try the personal styling services offered by Easton retailers. Stop into Macy's and Nordstrom to get free styling assistance before you enter the workplace. Madewell, Ann Taylor, J. Crew, Jos. A. Bank, Anthropologie and Chico's are some of our other favorite Easton stores that can treat you to a day of personal styling!

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