Denim: The New Business Casual Look

Looking for something new to wear to work? You may want to try a pair of jeans. Denim is becoming much more acceptable in the workplace, and is becoming the new fabric of business casual outfits. However, you still want to look professional, even if you decide to wear a jean jacket to work. Here are some pointers that may help you decide which denim clothing and accessories are welcomed in the office.

Since denim comes in many forms and shades, and some kinds of denim are dressier than others, choosing which type of denim to wear to work can be a bit of a task. Knowing the look you want and finding denim that will reflect your personal style and professional attitude can help you in your search, and you’ll even find denim you can where just about anywhere.

Your body shape, height, and weight are the determining factors you should use when looking for the perfect workplace denim. If you are rather tall, finding a jean that fits you at the hip or waist (depending on how long your torso is) and is long enough at the leg will make you look leaner and will fit more comfortably. Boot cut jeans are often best for taller people, too, because they will fit well over your shoes, and you can wear both heels and flats with boot cut or flare jeans. If you are shorter or medium height, a jean that is the right fit at the waist and in the legs will make for comfort and easy movement. Selecting denim that you can wear with blazers, ponchos, or collared shirts is also a plus; it’s a good idea to get jeans that you can wear with just about anything, but still well put together in. Make sure that your denim fits appropriately, too. Your jeans shouldn’t fit too tight; while this can be fashionable outside of the office, tight jeans don’t exactly say ‘I’m a professional.’ And jeans that fit too loosely can make your outfit look poorly coordinated and sloppy.

Denim pants are not the only office-wear alternative, though. Jean skirts and jackets can accent any outfit well, especially if paired with the right accessories. Wearing casual slacks or khakis with a jean jacket gives off a professional but personable feel, and wearing a denim skirt with a dressy top can create a look that is both professional and practical. Denim Capri pants have also become acceptable office wear in some workplaces. Capri pants can be worn with stiletto heels or boots, and should be worn with a belt in the office; blazers or collared shirts go well with Capri pants as well. However, for the workplace, it’s not recommended to wear too much denim with one outfit. If you’re wearing a denim skirt or jacket, pair these items with suede, leather, or cotton articles of clothing.
When you’re looking for shades of denim to wear to work, dark is always best. There are many shades of denim to choose from, from extremely light, stone-washed, pre-washed, and very dark blue. Dark blue denim is closest to black, which is a very accepted color professionally, as it denotes class and conservatism. Keep this in mind when choosing your denim. You don’t necessarily have to go with the darkest denim you can find, since you may want to go with a slightly lighter shade of blue to compliment your skin tone or hair color.

You can find the right jeans for you in a number of places, from department stores, to online stores-even thrift shops. Make sure you have enough time to actually shop for your denim; most people assume that they don’t have to ‘try jeans on’ or ‘find the right pair of jeans’ as long as they pick up the right size. Make sure your jeans accent the favorable parts of your body, and help to hide the parts you still want to work on.

Finally, before you wear your jeans to work, find out exactly what the rules are for dress in the workplace, especially if you’re new to the office. Don’t assume that just because you see other people in the office with jeans on that it’s right for you or your department. Lots of office have ‘casual day’ once a week now, so jeans are probably best worn on these days. If you’re still not sure, ask your supervisor. It’s better to know exactly what to do wardrobe-wise in the office, than to show up one day in your favorite jeans and feel uncomfortable all day.

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