How to Dress Business Casual for a Retail Job

Everything, from hair to shoes, should be polished and professional-looking.

Photo: Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images

Working in retail means dealing with customers and being the face of a company. As a retail associate, your appearance is extremely important in upholding the company's reputation. This means you better look good at work! If your workplace has a business casual dress code, you can toss the ripped jeans and suits. Business casual falls between formal corporate attire and your weekend wear. The look is neat and professional but not stuffy.


Learn about the company to align your attire with the brand. Check out the company's website and guidelines to gain insight into its personality. Find out if the organization values individuality, quirkiness and edginess or if it leans more towards a classic, conservative look. Even though you can dress casually, you should still dress with your employer in mind.


Pick styles that are modern and fashionable. In retail, you need to look fashion-forward and "with it." This is not the place for grandma's sweater and your favorite jeans from high school. If you look outdated, customers may think the company you represent is behind the times or less progressive. Avoid trends but choose fashions that are fresh or timeless.


Wear well-tailored pants and skirts. Don't choose items that are too tight or too short. Choose cotton, linen or khaki pants in neutral colors such as black, gray, taupe or navy. Skirts should be just above the knee or longer. In retail, you're the face of an entire brand so keep things professional and smart.


Wear well-fitting blouses in complementary colors. You can show a bit of personality in your top by choosing beautiful colors and prints. Stay away from velvet, satin and silk. Stick with tailored knits, cotton and blends. Make sure your buttons are done up and your clothes are clean and wrinkle-free.


Pick a low- to mid-heel. Retail involves a lot of standing so don't tax those tootsies by wearing sky-high stilettos. A wedge heel is a practical and pretty choice for work; so is a thicker, chunky heel.


Accessorize with classic jewelry. Top off your outfit with a cute pair of flower studs or a string of beads. Don't wear your most over-the-top jewels to work. Keep the statement necklace, chandelier earrings and knuckle rings for the club. Instead, wear jewelry that complements your outfit but doesn't create too much of a show.

Tips & Tricks


If you're ever in doubt, ask your boss for a copy of the company dress code. This will let you know exactly what is acceptable and what isn't.


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