Business professional attire
Dress code

Decoding professional attire!!!



Professional attire/Business casual/Business formal/Smart Casual/Semi Formal.


Pretty confusing huh.


We all have heard these words. Some companies demand their employees to present in business casual, some say smart casual will work, some follow business formal attire policy.


What is the difference and what comes in what?


First of all Professional attire is: Dressing as one is expected to dress in a professional setup.

Professional attire is divided into business casual/ formal /smart casual /semi-formal on the basis of the degree of conservatism in apparel.

Although all professional attire aims for a sincere, trustworthy and polished look. Yet there are some basic differences. Let’s check out what are these differences –





Business formal/Business Professional :


This calls for a traditional corporate dress code.


For Men: It includes classically tailored suits with a tie or button-down shirt with trousers.

Wear dress shoes and keep hair nicely styled.

Keep the color of clothing and shoes dark and conservative.


For Women: Suit jacket along with a professional button-down shirt or blouse with a knee-length skirt or suit pants.

Choose low heeled, closed toe leather shoes.

Keep the color of clothing neutral, subtle and conservative. Wear minimal makeup along with simple accessories.


Additionally, in India, salwar suits, formal kurtis & sarees in muted colors are also acceptable as formal clothing for women. Choose cotton sarees and Kurtis and keep the overall look mild.



Business Casual :


This calls for a less conservative attire, more colors and patterns are acceptable in the business casual.


For Men: Button down collared shirt along with khakis and trousers.

Tie and blazers are optional, Sweaters and vests are also allowed.

Can wear less conservative shoes or loafers.


For Women: Dress pants or slacks or a skirt with a top or shirt, can wear a smart business dress.

Any comfortable heels or flats can work.

In India kurta with churidar or jeans is also acceptable.






Smart Casuals :


Many startups and IT companies are following this attire policy to create a more flexible work environment.


For Men: Men can wear a turtleneck, polo T-shirt, sweatshirt with trousers or jeans.

Avoid wearing patterned or graphic tees. Shoes, sneakers or loafers are acceptable.


For Women: Women can wear a button down shirt, dressy /collared top paired with dark jeans or slacks.

Footwear can range from sneaker to ankle boots.







Semi-Formals :


Semi-formal attire is a little less formal but not too casual. Do not confuse it with business casual.


Semi-formal attire is something, which one is expected to wear in corporate dinner, business parties.


For Men: A nice suit with quality shoes for the night event.

A decent quality blazer with a crisp shirt paired with trousers works well for daytime events,, skip tie if you want.


For Women: A dress with flats or strappy sandals, accessorize it with statement jewelry and a nice clutch.

And for a daytime event, dressy pantsuit or skirt with a classy top can also work. In India sarees or salwar suits are also acceptable.







So clear your confusion about different kind of dress codes and wear appropriate clothing as per corporate culture and events. As rightly said “Being well dressed is a beautiful form of politeness”


Dress for Success : Does it matter?


If you have any more suggestions or any questions to ask then please write them in the comments section.




One thought on “Decoding professional attire!!!”

Leave a Reply