Are Skirts Business Casual? - Style Guide - Wearably Weird (2023)

When putting together our work wardrobe many of us wonder ‘are skirts business casual’, and if so which styles of skirt fit the bill? With so many different types of skirts available to us it can be hard to decipher which ones we can wear to work, and which should be kept strictly casual.

To help I have put together a business casual skirt guide, covering as many types of skirts as possible, including fashion tips and inspiration to help you style easy work outfits.

Are Skirts Business Casual? - Style Guide - Wearably Weird (1)

Are skirts business casual?

Skirts are considered business casual attire when appropriately styled for an office environment. Avoid skirts that are too short, too brightly patterned or brightly coloured and pair with other workwear clothing items, such as a tailored jacket.

When choosing a skirt to wear for a business casual dress code, here are some easy rules to keep in mind:

  • Consider a longer hemline, such as a midi length or just above the knee length style. Avoid anything too short, as this will err too far on the casual side.
  • Avoid bright patterns and colours, such as neon, as this will appear too casual. Instead choose muted colours and simple patterns, such as a subtle floral or polka dot.
  • Choose a quality material that is suitable for an office space, such as wool, tweed, black denim or suit material. Avoid materials like silk or tulle, as these appear too formal.
  • Pick a more modest style of skirt if in doubt (such as a simple A-line), and stay away from thigh slits, graphic patterns (like owls or cats) or any branded wording on the garment.

If your skirt is on the more ‘casual’ side, such as a black denim or a summery midi skirt, make sure the rest of your outfit qualifies as ‘business’ clothing.

Feel free to wear your more casual skirt, as long as it follows the above rules in relation to cut, pattern and colour, but make sure everything else you wear is smart. Pair the skirt with heels or smart heeled black ankle boots, a nice blouse and a blazer or tailored jacket.

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If the skirt could be considered both casual and smart, then feel free to pair it with other items that fit the same description. A great example of this is the two outfits I styled below with a business casual dress code in mind:

Are Skirts Business Casual? - Style Guide - Wearably Weird (2)

Both of the above skirts can be considered business casual, as they are formal enough to qualify as business wear, but relaxed enough to be considered casual, when styled with a t-shirt for example.

With both skirts I paired smart black tights and sleek heeled ankle boots to elongate my legs and keep the bottom half of the outfit muted. Both skirts feature black as part of their pattern, which adds a touch of sophistication and makes them easy to pair with dark tights.

For the top half of the outfit I chose to style simple turtlenecks, as they are conservative enough to be considered business casual also. Choosing simple colours, such as a plain white or a dusty pink works well for business casual wear, as they compliment the pattern on the skirt without drawing the eye too much.

To dress this outfit up further I would add court heels instead of ankle boots and layer a tailored cropped jacket on top. For summer I would switch out the tights and black boots for a simple pair of heels, and the turtlenecks for a light cream blouse.

Keep accessories to a minimum and pair with a smart handbag.

Now we’ve covered the basics, let’s get into different types of skirts and whether they qualify for this dress code…

Are maxi skirts business casual?

Maxi skirts are not considered business casual attire as the hemline is too long for an office environment. A more appropriate style of skirt would be a midi skirt as it is still long but doesn’t pass the mid calf, making it appear more tailored and professional looking.

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Maxi skirts are more appropriate for summer wear, beach wear or casual weekend wear. In an office environment a maxi skirt looks odd, as a super long hemline doesn’t appear professional. A shorter hemline that reaches the knee or mid calf looks much more tailored in a business environment and pairs well with other business casual attire such as heeled sleek ankle boots, a blouse and a tailored jacket.

Are jean skirts business casual?

Jean skirts are considered business casual in an office environment that allows for denim to be worn as part of the dress code. If you are unsure, choose a dark wash jean skirt or a black jean skirt and pair with more tailored workwear, such as a blazer and smart heels.

If your office allows people to wear jeans as part of a smart casual or business casual dress code then it stands to reason that jean skirts should also be allowed. If you are in doubt it’s always best to double check with your employer.

If you are going to wear a jean skirt to the office here are some guidelines to follow to ensure you look polished:

  • Make sure the jean skirt is immaculate, with no rips or distressed detailing
  • Avoid painted or embroidered jean skirts and keep it simple and clean
  • Choose dark wash denim over light and pair with other smart garments to dress up the skirt
  • Stay away from branded jean skirts that feature brand names on the pockets or as part of the design

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Are corduroy skirts business casual?

Corduroy skirts are considered business casual attire when styled correctly for an office environment. Wear your corduroy skirt with a smart blouse, a blazer and heels, and choose a corduroy skirt of a muted colour or pattern.

Corduroy skirts can work well as part of a business casual outfit, when styled with more professional looking clothing. Remember, corduroy is considered a ‘casual’ material, so the rest of your outfit must be all ‘business’ otherwise you may end up looking too casual for this dress code.

Pair a corduroy skirt with a smart turtleneck, a tailored jacket, tights and sleek heels for a sophisticated spin on this casual fabric. Stay away from brightly coloured or patterned corduroy skirts and instead choose more muted colours, such as black, grey, navy or burgundy, to be safe.

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Make sure your corduroy skirt is an appropriate length for an office environment. If in doubt always go for an above the knee or knee-length hemline, as too short or too long can look odd with this style of skirt.

Are pencil skirts business casual?

Pencil skirts are considered business casual wear when styled appropriately. Pair formal pencil skirts with a simple turtleneck to dress them down for business casual wear, and pair more casual pencil skirts with smart blouses to dress them up.

Depending on the type of pencil skirt, the garment with either need to be dressed up or down to meet the business casual definition.

More business wear style pencil skirts are typically of a simple colour such as black, grey or navy and they are made with well tailored suit material. These types of pencil skirts will need to be dressed down slightly to meet the business casual style, as the skirt will already complete the ‘business’ side of the outfit. Wear them with a simple turtleneck, or casual blouse, tights and sleek heeled ankle boots for a more relaxed style.

More casual styles of pencil skirts will be made with cheaper material, such as soft jersey fabric. In this case, these pencil skirts will form the ‘casual’ part of the outfit and will need to be dressed up a bit. Wear them with a tailored cropped jacket and heels to add a sophisticated spin. Alternatively wear them with a chic cropped jumper, tights and heeled ankle booties, as styled in the below image.

Are Skirts Business Casual? - Style Guide - Wearably Weird (3)

Are skater skirts business casual?

Skater skirts are considered business casual when they are of an appropriate length and colour, such as knee-length and black. Avoid short skater skirts and any overly patterned styles.

When wearing a skater skirt to the office here are a few dress code guidelines to follow:

  • Make sure the skater skirt is knee-length or slightly above the knee, anything shorter than this will not look professional.
  • Choose a skater skirt of a muted colour, such as black, grey, navy, or burgundy and avoid any bright or neon colours.
  • Avoid skater skirts with graphic patterns, such as animals, and instead choose a simple pattern like polka dot.
  • Pair your skater skirt with smart items of clothing, such as a nice blouse, blazer and a pair of heels.

Are printed skirts business casual?

Printed skirts are considered business casual wear when the print is simple, clean and professional looking. Choose a polished polka dot over a busy pattern and always keep colour in mind, avoiding anything too flashy.

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A note

Thank you for reading this business casual skirts guide – I hope you now feel confident to put together your workwear outfits!

For more fashion tips check out…

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FAQs

Can I wear skirts for business casual? ›

Common business casual clothing for women can include a collared or non-collared blouse, dress or skirt (at or below the knee), slacks, high heels, dress boots, flats, and modest jewelry and accessories.

How long should skirts be for business casual? ›

Your skirt should come at least to your knees while 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.

Are long skirts unprofessional? ›

Maxi skirts are not considered business casual attire as the hemline is too long for an office environment. A more appropriate style of skirt would be a midi skirt as it is still long but doesn't pass the mid calf, making it appear more tailored and professional looking.

What outfits are considered business casual? ›

Business casual includes trousers, pencil skirts, slacks, khakis, blouses, button-down shirts, polos, sweaters and sports coats. Accessories may include simple jewelry, belts or ties. Business casual shoes include loafers, lifestyle sneakers (with leather or canvas), mules, flats, Oxfords, boots and heels.

What is not allowed in business casual? ›

Jeans, sweat pants, athletic pants, or shorts are not acceptable business casual attire. As with full professional dress, make sure that your socks and shoes are a color fit for your slacks. Shoes/Belt - Be sure to wear a belt and shoes that are in good condition.

What should you not wear in a business casual office? ›

DON'T Wear Ripped or Torn Clothing

— is never acceptable in most business environments. Business casual outfits should still be business appropriate, so avoid ripped jeans, old t-shirts, beat-up sneakers and anything else that looks worse for the wear.

What is the fingertip rule for skirts? ›

Some go with the "fingertip rule" (shorts and skirts must extend beyond the fingertips), while others require only an "appropriate length."

What are three 3 tips for business casual dress? ›

5 Tips for Dressing in Business Casual Attire
  • Always look polished. You should always look professional and polished when you're dressing in business casual attire. ...
  • Avoid revealing clothing. ...
  • Build a capsule wardrobe. ...
  • Avoid baggy clothing. ...
  • Stick to a muted color palette.
21 Jun 2021

Can you wear a skirt for business professional? ›

Business professional attire is a bit less formal than business formal and is often the type of clothing you might wear to an interview. Tops, blazers, skirts, slacks, dresses and pumps or flats are often part of this dress code.

What skirt length is professional? ›

If you are tall, short, or average height, make sure your dress or skirt is not shorter than two inches above your knee. Business professional attire should be even longer. I would make sure those dresses and skirts are not shorter than one inch above your knee.

What length of skirt is professional? ›

Anything that falls to the knees is generally appropriate for any personal or professional setting. Skirt length should be two inches or less above the knee to be considered a professional look for the workplace.

What should you not wear professionally? ›

What Not to Wear in a Business Casual Office
  • Jeans. You're going to want to steer clear of jeans in most Business Casual settings—and that means all jeans. ...
  • Leggings as pants. ...
  • Low-cut shirts. ...
  • Shorts. ...
  • Sweatpants or yoga pants. ...
  • Distracting jewelry. ...
  • Sports paraphernalia. ...
  • Any clothing that shows an undergarment.
22 Feb 2016

How do I know if my clothes are business casual? ›

What Does Business Casual Mean? Business casual is basically a dress code that involves wearing traditional business attire with a couple of relaxed tweaks here and there. For example, wearing khaki pants or slacks with a blouse/polo, but without a tie would be considered typically business casual.

What does business casual mean now? ›

"Business Casual" attire means:

A long or short-sleeved dress shirt (collared or turtleneck), and/or a sweater. Dress slacks, khaki pants, or dress jeans.

What is inappropriate clothing for work? ›

Some example of the types of attire that would be inappropriate for our business environment include: tank, halter, tube, midriff, and spaghetti-strap tops or camisoles; strapless dresses; revealing attire; T-shirts; spandex or other form fitting pants (i.e. stretch pants or leggings); skorts or shorts; blue denim ...

What colors are not business casual? ›

Wear pants that are black, brown, grey, khaki, or dark colors like blue or green. Avoid pants in loud colors like red, yellow, or purple. No white or camouflage either.

Is there a difference between casual and business casual? ›

A casual dress code is generally considered less formal than business casual. Employees may wear more relaxed, informal clothing but not necessarily what they wear on the street or lounging at home. For example, a casual dress code may let employees wear jeans every day but still discourages sweatpants.

What is considered women's business casual attire? ›

In general, business casual for women includes a skirt or slacks, a blouse, a blazer and an appropriate heel or flat for the office. Business casual do's for women include: Skirts or slacks. Staple pieces include a few pairs of dress slacks and an assortment of knee-length pencil skirts.

Can I wear leggings for business casual? ›

A business casual setting can be leggings-friendly as long as you wear them with an elegant shirt and ballet flats or boots; sneakers are a no-no. If your office has a formal or corporate dress code, you'll have to leave the leggings for the weekend, though.

What is the dress code for business woman? ›

Formal business attire for women

Women's formal business attire usually involves wearing a conservative suit with a plain collared shirt or blouse and smart shoes: Dark or neutral-coloured suit. White or light-coloured collared shirt or blouse. Skirt at knee-length or pants.

What is the rule of 4 in fashion? ›

Kelly shared her Rule of Four lesson publicly when signups were open for the May course, so some of you may have seen it. The goal is to have at least four accessories or points of interest to every outfit.

How short is too short business casual? ›

The best way to get the length right is to get a pair that falls between 1 and 3 inches above the knee. Shorts between 9 and 12 inches long should be perfectly fine to wear at work. Men's shorts can also be considered too short, long, or casual. So it's just as important to pay attention to these details too.

Where should a skirt sit on your waist? ›

A skirt waistband should sit at your natural waist, where your torso is narrowest. Ideally, it should stay put without too much sliding around, but sliding is preferable to squeezing. If you've got a soft midsection, look for skirts with wide waistbands since they are less likely to dig. Minimal pulling in front.

What makes an outfit look professional? ›

Choose jewelry and accessories that work with your outfit rather than those that are distracting. Always wear clothing that is pressed and clean. Choose clothes that are well-fitted and avoid wearing too-tight or too-loose attire. Wear shoes that are polished and clean.

What is the most professional way to dress? ›

Examples of business professional attire: When dressing business professional, you can wear tidy dresses, slacks, skirts, slacks, dark-colored suits and ties. Business professional tops include neat button-down shirts or blouses with a blazer. Business professional shoes include heels, loafers or flats.

What are the 4 basic types of workplace attire? ›

There are generally four types of corporate dress codes: Business formal, business professional, business casual, and casual.

What kind of skirts are business professional? ›

Business professional attire calls for clothes that err on the side of conservative. A hemline at or slightly above the knee will keep your look right on cue. Midi dresses and skirts are a highlight of women's spring fashion trends, so feel free to wear one to work.

Is a skirt smart casual? ›

Dark-wash denim jeans are acceptable, but they should be tailored and distress-free. Flowy skirts and pencil skirts are appropriate, but avoid skirts that feature formal details like pinstripes, which can skew too business casual. Shoes: Oxfords, ballet flats, and loafers work well for a smart casual look.

Is it OK to wear a mini skirt to work? ›

The trick for how to wear mini skirts to work is to keep your heel low, and/or use tights and boots to add extra coverage below the waist. Then on top, stick to more conservative necklines and more buttoned-up tops to balance out the leggier look.

How should a business skirt fit? ›

The waistline of your pencil skirt should sit at your natural waist, the narrowest part of your midsection, roughly 1-2 inches ABOVE your belly button. At no point should a pencil skirt ride below your belly button and it most certainly should not rest at your hips.

Can a pleated skirt be business casual? ›

You can create a business casual or informal daytime look by styling a pleated skirt with different blouses and accessories. Try these fashion ideas, from casual street-style looks to office attire.

How do you know if a skirt is too short? ›

The general guideline is that skirts should be no higher than the top, or slightly above the top, of your knees. 5.

How do you tell an employee their skirt is too short? ›

Make sure you identify what the problem is, e.g. the skirt is too short, and explain why this is a problem. You don't want your employee to feel like you're picking on them, so be sure to emphasise all their good points.

What length skirt is appropriate for interview? ›

Skirts should be barely above or at your knee, says Griffin. Any longer and you'll look dowdy; any shorter and, well, you know what message that sends. Trousers should touch the tops of your shoes but not fall below the heels and drag on the ground.

What is considered too revealing? ›

Clothes that are deep necked or above the knees are categorized as revealing and not allowed everywhere. But in certain cultures, the tag of 'exposing clothes' is levied onto many other types. For example, in certain countries, any clothes other than their traditional clothing are considered indecent and vulgar.

Which of the following should a woman not wear to work? ›

Don't Wear Tight or Revealing Clothing to Work

Plunging necklines, midriff-revealing crop tops, sheer fabrics, mini skirts, and dresses don't belong in the workplace.

What is the psychology behind wearing revealing clothes? ›

Women Want Attention

It's a common notion that women wear revealing clothing to gain attention. This belief isn't just limited to the opposite sex but extends to other women as well. People mostly do things they want for themselves, which also applies to women. It's not good to assume their motives.

Is business casual still a thing? ›

Here's what to keep in mind as you rewrite your company's dress code for a post-pandemic return. Business casual has long been a popular dress code for businesses looking for relaxed yet professional employees. But, especially in post-pandemic work environments, the standards for business casual have evolved.

Do skinny jeans count as business casual? ›

However, some popular styles of jeans are not considered business casual, and you should avoid wearing them in a business setting. These include: Acid-wash denim. Skinny jeans.

Do T-shirts count as business casual? ›

One definition of business casual states that it includes khaki pants, slacks, and skirts, as well as short-sleeved polo shirts and long-sleeved shirts, but excludes tight or short skirts, T-shirts, and sweatshirts.

Are dark jeans business casual for a woman? ›

Arguably, the most versatile piece in any women's closet is a great pair of black jeans. Are black jeans business casual? When it comes to non-blue shades, black jeans are perhaps the most appropriate business casual option in the game.

What are the rules for business casual? ›

Business casual is typically defined as no jeans, no shorts, no short dresses or skirts for women, optional ties for men, and a rotation of button-downs or blouses.

Is business casual tucked in? ›

Smart Casual: If you are wearing a casual shirt by itself leave it untucked, however, if you are wearing a shirt paired with a casual jacket or coat, tuck it in for smart casual occasions. Business Casual: Whether you are sporting a blazer, sweater or just a shirt, always have your shirt tucked in.

Can I wear a midi skirt for business casual? ›

Follow these styling tips to wear midi skirts for different occasions and seasons: 1. Business casual: Try a fitted midi skirt for a professional outfit. Pencil skirts are formfitting midi skirts commonly worn in a work environment; pair this skirt with a button-down and heels or booties for a classic combo.

Can I wear a skirt to work at a restaurant? ›

Question:Does wearing a skirt in a restaurant kitchen setting pose a safety hazard? Answer:OSHA does not have a specific standard or policy addressing the wearing of skirts - any type of skirt - in a restaurant kitchen setting.

Can short skirts be professional? ›

The trick for how to wear mini skirts to work is to keep your heel low, and/or use tights and boots to add extra coverage below the waist. Then on top, stick to more conservative necklines and more buttoned-up tops to balance out the leggier look.

What business professionals should not wear? ›

Avoid: *Blingy/shiny/lacey fabric, sequins, khaki, skinny and capri pants, shorts, tight skirts, skirts shorter than knee length, low-cut and sleeveless blouses/dress, large jewelry, bulky purse, sandals, wedges, and heels > 2.5 inches.

Is a mini skirt unprofessional? ›

As long as you style them right, wear the right lengths, and go for modesty over shock, mini skirts can be fine additions to your work wardrobe. Of course, it all depends on your work environment. Be sure to know what your workplace dress code is before strolling into the office wearing one.

Can you wear midi skirt to office? ›

For a chic work outfit, pair your midi skirt with one of your favorite blouses and tuck the blouse into the skirt. Layer it with a matching blazer or a beige or camel colored coat. Midi skirts are great for work as they look professional but still have a feminine touch.

What length of skirt is appropriate for work? ›

If you sit down when wearing a short skirt, you expose even more leg. Is that where you want people to look? The general guideline is that skirts should be no higher than the top, or slightly above the top, of your knees. 5.

What length skirt can I wear to work? ›

If you are tall, short, or average height, make sure your dress or skirt is not shorter than two inches above your knee. Business professional attire should be even longer. I would make sure those dresses and skirts are not shorter than one inch above your knee.

Can I wear a skirt as a server? ›

Many hotels and upscale restaurants tend to have more traditional standards for server uniforms. Button-up shirts and dress pants or skirts may be required, and generally, these settings do not allow servers to have visible facial piercings, exposed tattoos, or extreme hair or cosmetic styles.

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