Professional vs. Business Casual for Men

Professional vs. Business Casual for Men

When it comes to dressing up for work or interviews, people usually get confused with what exactly is professional and business casual especially those who are new to the work environment.

So what is the difference between professional and business casual?

Professional or business attire almost always means that you wear a suit and tie. The suits are preferably dark-colored with a tie and jacket that match and a button-up shirt. The clothes should be properly ironed as you have to look sharp and attention should always be paid to details.

However, business casual attire enables you to keep up your professional look but at the same time appear more relaxed. Although, not too relaxed, as jeans and sneakers do not apply to business casual. In other words, business casual means you dressing down from your usual suit and tie but still seem professional.

Whether it is professional or the business casual, you must not wear t-shirts, jeans, sneakers, hats or clothes that are wrinkled. And it is advised that if it is your first time in a workplace, take your cues from your colleagues that have worked there already and it’s better to be over-dressed than under-dressed.

Now let us take a look at some of the clothes you can wear and how it applies to professional or business casual looks.

Dress Shirts

With professional attire, the dress shirts are long-sleeve mostly white or a solid color and sometimes striped (but be careful with that). Flashy or bold colors are not acceptable and the shirt should always be buttoned up. However, with business casual, you are allowed to wear different colors like light pink, light blue, green and so on. You can also wear pattern shirts like gingham. But always keep in mind that you are still aiming to look professional.


For professional looks, the pants shouldn’t be different from the suit. They have to match the outfit you have on, the color should be dark like black, navy and grey and as stated earlier stay away from colors that are bright. When going for a business casual look, you are free to wear chinos or tailored pants. You can also wear different colors as long as you mute them and make sure the pants fit you not big.


For a professional look, the shoes are more conservative, in colors like black and brown. But for business casual, you can wear loafers, brogues among others. The color should still be limited to black and brown hues.


Professional attire is always a suit with a tie to match, a belt, conservative shoe and socks that match as well but with business casual you don’t have to wear a tie with your suit and although everything has to complement each other, the outfit don’t have to be to match.

Now that you know the difference between professional and business casual outfits, dressing appropriately for work just got easier!

Categories: Fashion

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