All Beta Alpha Psi meetings are business casual.
Business casual is one step down from business professional, but still needs to reflect a professional demeanor. There are numerous options available for women to dress business casual, so the trick is to make sure you are still giving off a professional appearance. The following suggestions will help you determine what to wear in business casual settings.
PANTS AND SKIRTS
Women can wear casual pants or skirts. Neither should be tight. Fabrics should be crisp and professional (no jeans). Solid colors typically work best, but a subtle pattern can be appropriate as well; navy, black, grey, brown and khaki are always safe bets. For the most business-like appearance, pants should be creased and tailored; avoid overly flowy or tight fits.
Your skirt should come to your knees when you are standing. While you are seated, your thighs should be covered. If your skirt comes to just below the knee, a slit to just above the knee might be acceptable. A very long skirt should not be slit to above the knee. Generally, a slit in the center back of a skirt -- to facilitate walking and stair climbing -- is acceptable. Slits to facilitate a view of your legs are not appropriate for business purposes.
SHIRTS AND SWEATERS
In addition to tailored shirts or blouses, tailored knit sweaters and sweater sets are an appropriate business casual choices for women. Cotton, silk and blends are apporpriate. Velvets and shimmery fabrics suitable for parties are not appropriate. Fit should not be tight and cleavage is not appropriate.
JEWELRY AND ACCESSORIES
Wear a conservative watch. Jewelry and scarves should be kept simple, leaning towards conservative. Avoid extremes of style and color.
Keep makeup conservative and natural looking. A little is usually better than none for a really polished look. Nails should be clean and well groomed. Avoid extremes of nail length, polish color and makeup color, especially in conservative industries.
Shoes should be leather or fabric/microfiber. Black, navy, brown, tan and taupe are appropriate color choices; white and pastels are not appropriate. For the most conservative look, toes should be covered. Sandals that are not extremely dressy or extremely casual might be appropriate. Thin straps, spike heels, platforms and chunky heels are not appropriate. Make sure you can walk comfortably in your shoes as struggling in painful shoes does not convey a professional image or good judgement.
Hose are not essential for business casual, but are recommended if your skirt is knee-length (rather than calf-length). Climate and weather can be a factor as hose may not be expected in hotter climates.
Business professional should be worn for formal recruiting events, interviews, etc.
It can be difficult to determine how to dress appropriately for a professional scenario. TV shows and movies often portray business attire in a flashier manner than it exists in reality. These shows and films often outfit their characters in a manner to attract viewers and don’t always accurately represent the reality of the business environment. Refer to the following recommendations when selecting your professional clothing and avoid looking to the entertainment industry for inspiration.
Professional business attire for women typically consists of a two-piece suit with a tailored blazer and either a skirt or pants.
Tailored pant suits are a common form of business professional attire for women. When choosing a pant suit, make sure the pants are well-fitted. Avoid tight pants or overly-flowy pants as both detract from the crispness of your image.
Skirt length is a key factor in maintaining professionalism. Skirts should fall just above the knee when standing so that your thighs are covered when seated. Try sitting facing a mirror to see if your skirt is appropriate for the business environment. Pencil or A-line skirts longer than knee length are appropriate, but avoid billowy, summery skirts even if they meet the length requirements. High slits in skirts are not appropriate. A small back, center slit in a knee-length skirt is appropriate. On a calf-length skirt, a slit to the knee to facilitate walking and stair climbing is appropriate.
COLORS AND FABRICS
Navy, dark gray, brown and black are recommended business professional colors. Play it safe when it comes to colors - avoid the temptation to choose a bright, trendy color that may be distracting. Choose a solid or very subtle weave pattern or plaid (the kind that looks solid from across a room). Wool, wool blends, high quality blends and synthetics are appropriate fabric options.
SHIRTS AND SWEATERS
Underneath your jacket, wear a tailored blouse or fine-guage good quality sweater in a color or small print that coordinates nicely with your suit. Make sure you have no cleavage or midriff showing. This is key to looking professional.
JEWELRY AND ACCESSORIES
Jewelry can be a great way to provide a simple accent to your wardrobe, but remember that jewelry and accessory styles come and go quickly. Keep your choices simple, leaning towards conservative. A conservative watch is always appropriate. Avoid extremes of style and color.
Keep your makeup conservative. A little is usually better than none for a polished look, but don’t go overboard. Nails should be clean and well-groomed. Avoid extremes in nail length and polish color.
Closed-toed pumps are the go-to for business professional footwear. Keep your heel height manageable so that you can walk comfortably in your shoes; hobbling in uncomfortable shoes does not convey professionalism. Like other aspects of your wardrobe, avoid the extremes -- stilettos and chunky platforms are not appropriate.
Hoisery should be plainly styled (no patterns). While sheer is the most common and the most conservative (not opaque), neutral colors complementing your suit can work as well. Avoid contrasting with the color of your suit or shoes.
Ultimately remember that what you wear is a crucial part of maintaining a professional appearance. Ask yourself if your outfit will be a distraction to your colleagues, business partners, clients, etc. or if it will serve to reinforce your image as a business professional.