2011 December 7

The party season is here and whether you love or hate it, you have to show up and show willing with your colleagues. It’s becoming more and more popular to offer the clothing guidance ‘business casual’ – but what does that mean for a party?

For men it means trousers, not jeans. Chinos are acceptable with a formal shirt but not with more casual clothing such as a jumper. A jumper can be worn with formal trousers though. Polo-shirts and T-shirts are not usually acceptable for men to wear for a ‘business casual’ party or dinner, but ties are not necessary and shirt sleeves can be long or short. Jackets are usually formal, not casual, and worn with scarves and gloves and overcoats if necessary.

For women it’s a huge problem because it can vary between a casual (cotton) dress and leggings to formal dress and pearls, from suit with silk blouse through to smart black jeans with a sparkly top. A skirt can be worn with a T-shirt and either long boots or enclosed shoes but not sandals or peep-toes. Clever women will put a dressy scarf, pashmina or shrug in their handbag along with hairpins and a sparkly hair accessory so that if they arrive and feel underdressed they can run straight to the ladies and smarten themselves up with an up-do and posh wrap.

Women’s jackets for business casual events should be fitted or fun-fur, more casual jackets are not considered acceptable. Of course if the venue has a cloakroom you may be able to get away with your warm but casual fleece.

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