What Is Business Professional Attire? A Guide to How to Dress for Work

In more and more workplaces, employees are dressing down. The shift to remote and hybrid work has only accelerated this trend, so you’re increasingly likely to see khakis, sweaters, twinsets, polo shirts and even jeans at more businesses than ever.

Not everywhere, though. What if you’re going to work in an office that has a “business professional attire” dress code? What does that mean?

To help you out, we’ve put together a guide with tips on what to wear — and especially what not to wear — when working for a business with a stricter dress code.

This way, if you see the phrase “business professional attire” in an employee handbook or in a job posting on ZipRecruiter or a similar job board, you’ll know what to do.

What is Business Professional Attire?

In a world where casual Fridays are starting to become casual workweeks in lots of workplaces, business professional attire is more traditional and conservative.

It’s a stricter dress code, meant to reflect a more conservative business culture. You’re more likely to encounter this in industries like accounting, banking, engineering, finance, government or law.

Business professional attire typically means suits, ties, dress pants, long sleeved shirt and dress shoes for men. For women, a business professional wardrobe can include a tailored skirt-and-blazer combo, pantsuit, or knee-length professional dress.

Business professional clothes should definitely be well-fitted, and they may even be tailored specifically for you.

Differences from Other Dress Codes

Business professional attire is more formal than business casual attire, which includes comfortable but work-appropriate clothing.

For men, business casual attire typically means khakis, a button-down shirt, a belt and non-athletic shoes — and no tie. For women, business casual attire typically includes knee-length dresses and skirts, or a simple blouse-and- pant combination, as well as closed-toed shoes.


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