An entrepreneur’s fashion tells us about the environment of their workspace. With the average entrepreneur, this creates the concept of business wear, a dress code that refers to what type of clothing is appropriate for work. With that being said, it just brings up a good question, does business casual wear represent the everyday entrepreneur? Or do we still believe business professional wear should represent the modern entrepreneur?

With the conversation of business wear within entrepreneurs being looked at through one lens, it’s necessary to discuss whether or not we’re still stuck in the business professional entrepreneur lens, or if we’re moving towards a business casual entrepreneur lens today. The case of business professional vs. business casual attire examines where entrepreneurial fashion is currently and whether or not we are moving towards a more casual look.

The Case for Business Professional Wear

Female and male entrepreneurs wearing business professional clothing
Female and male entrepreneurs wearing business professional clothing

With business professional attire, the entrepreneur is showing their professionalism through their clothing. This side of styling is expected to look nice, neat, and solid as they are expected to look professional in their business environment. The common dress code in this particular type of attire is made up of suits with a solid color, a button-up shirt and tie or a blouse, and moderate to professional shoes (if socks are needed, they have to be dark).

Male entrepreneurs in this case should have neat hairstyles and female entrepreneurs should wear limited jewelry and light makeup. It’s important to dress professionally in a business setting as you are there to represent yourself and your company. Business professional attire is the standard for business settings, so it is expected of you to adopt this style. However, while business professional wear brings up some good points on the subject of how entrepreneurs should dress, we can’t move forward on this discussion without bringing up business casual attire.

The Case for Business Casual Wear

Entrepreneurs wearing casual business attire and laughing together
Entrepreneurs wearing casual business attire and laughing together

With business casual attire, entrepreneurs are showing their professionalism in a less formal way as they are not required to dress up. This side of styling is expected to look casual, but not super casual as entrepreneurs should still look nice in their work environment. This dress code is composed of solid color polo/knit shirts, sweaters/cardigans, khaki/cotton pants for men, and cotton/corduroy pants/skirt for women. Entrepreneurs are not expected to have a neat hairstyle, but are expected to either have dress or leather shoes/boots and accessories such as a belt or tie (the tie can be optional but the belt is not optional). While business casual is often perceived as a casual look, it may get confused with a small business casual look, since both are informal styles. With that being said, it shouldn’t discredit you from dressing down, but make sure the attire is also professional for an office setting. Presenting both sides of the attire argument makes for an interesting discussion on which attire best represents the everyday entrepreneur today.

With both cases of business professional and business casual being made, it brings us back to the main question. Which business wear represents the everyday entrepreneur today: business professional or business casual? In all honesty, it truly just depends on the environment that the entrepreneur’s business is set in. If it’s placed in a business setting, more likely than not the business professional look is going to represent the entrepreneur more. If it’s placed in an office setting, it’s going to be represented more in a business casual look.

Business attire in general is meant to be a dress code for what is appropriate in a work setting. And while both attires are emphasized greatly in the western work force, entrepreneurs who aren’t located in the western hemisphere possibly wouldn’t have these rules set in place. So whether you dress professionally or casually, just remember to wear what is both comfortable and appropriate for you and your work environment.

Do you prefer business professional or business casual? Let us know in the comments.

This article is originally published on GREY Journal.